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iPads highlight need for tech-savvy teachers

Tuesday 31 Jan 2012 12:48 p.m.

By Kim Choe

School is back for most students this week and many will return to class rooms kitted out with the latest gadgets like iPads.

There are concerns teachers might not be able to keep up with their increasingly tech-savvy students, with the Government rolling out ultra-fast broadband to schools across the country.

Knowing how to work the latest technology is becoming increasingly important as many schools are putting iPads on stationery lists.

Education consultant Dr John Langley says those able to use technology has come along in leaps and bounds over the past two decades.

“When I look at the ability that children and adults have to access information today, it's just vastly superior to anything that occurred 10, 20 years ago,” he says.

But Dr Langley is concerned that some teachers may not have moved as fast as the technology has.

“For the older teachers it's much more of a struggle,” he says. “I think in that case, what we do require for them is quite significant ongoing professional development.”

The Government says the biggest issue for schools is getting connected in the first place. It is aiming to give most of them access to ultra-fast broadband within three years and is confident teachers will be ready.

Prime Minister John Key says it is up to the principal of the school to ensure teachers feel comfortable with what they are using.

“Those who are technologically friendly are assisting their other teachers, and there are always training courses that we can and do send teachers on.”

The Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) says professional development in information technology is woefully inadequate. It wants the Government to provide more so that teachers are not being left to struggle on their own.

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