Accessibility and usability concerns voiced over ICT in National Curriculum

Monday, 19 April 2010 11:12am

The question of whether to embed ICT (Information and Communication Technology) across all subjects in the National Curriculum, or include it as a separate subject, was put to members of the Leadership Forum focusing on the National Curriculum and ICT over the Easter school holidays. It was held as part of the Australian Council for Computers in Education ‘Digital Diversity’ Conference in Melbourne from 6-10 April 2010.

Representatives included ICT professionals, policy makers, Department of Education and other sector representatives and ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority) representative Lynn Redley. MAA’s Education team was also present. Focus groups addressed questions of readability, implementation potential, teacher professional development and the worth of implementation across all curriculums.

The need for professional development to focus on access was the key concern voiced by MAA. The recommendations of the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians for common standards were used as a reminder of the need for commitment to equity for all students to receive a “high quality education”. MAA’s Anne McGrath posed to the forum that students with sensory impairment would be severely disadvantaged if captioning for Deaf and hearing impaired students and audio description for blind and vision impaired students are not made mandatory across multimedia resources. The forum welcomed discussions of access and included Don Knezek, Chief Executive Officer of the International Society for Technology in Education.

The forum highlighted that a significant gap exists in teacher knowledge on how to best embed ICT across their subject areas. It is hoped that ACARA will utilise this opportunity to also improve awareness and training on accessibility.

For more information regarding the conference, see the Digital Diversity website.


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