April 2024 – What we’re learning from other smart people

April 2024 – What we’re learning from other smart people


April 2024 – What we’re learning from other smart people

Welcome to EdSmart’s latest education news round-up, your curated view of what’s happening in education & EdTech across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

NSW public schools will have their budgets slashed by up to $148 million this year

The New South Wales (NSW) public school system is facing budget cuts of up to $148 million this year. As a result, thousands of deputy and assistant principals will be required to take on classroom teaching roles. 

The NSW Education Department has announced a reduction of 1.25% in school budgets and a freeze on any unspent discretionary funds for the next year. Under the new changes, deputy principals will be expected to teach at least one day each week, while head teachers and assistant principals will need to be in the classroom for at least three days a week.

The budget cuts are seen as a necessity by the state government to ensure effective and efficient funding of public schools that matches enrolments and student needs.

However, amid nationwide teacher shortages, these budget cuts, have stirred concerns among educators and parents. The potential repercussions on student support services, infrastructure upgrades in schools, and overall quality of education are now under scrutiny.

Read more at ABC News

Grattan Institute recommends multi-school organisations in Australia

A recently released Grattan Institute report on improving student performance has suggested that adopting a multi-school organisational (MSO) framework — similar to the multi-academy trust model used in the UK — is the way forward for Australian schools.

The authors note that “effective MSOs increase the odds of school improvement… [Australian] schools and teachers need a lot more support to provide an excellent education for all. MSOs offer a powerful way to give schools the boost they need.”

Read the full report

WA and NT schools to become fully funded

Earlier this year, Western Australia announced it would be the first fully funded education jurisdiction in Australia, after signing a ‘Statement of Intent’ with the Federal and WA state governments. Hot on the heels of WA, the Northern Territory announced they too would have fully funded education by 2029.

Read more about the WA announcement at The Educator Australia and details of the NT education funding agreement at The Saturday Paper

Could apprenticeships address teacher shortages in Australia and NZ?

In September 2024, the UK will see the implementation of a new teaching apprenticeship. Just like plumbing or carpentry or other trades, the program will combine on-the-job work with classroom learning.

An important carrot being dangled to prospective students is that all tuition fees are paid for, so unlike a bachelor’s degree, graduates won’t finish the course with a sizable student debt.

Read the full report at Education HQ

AI trials in NSW classrooms get underway

A year on from banning ChatGPT in classrooms amid cheating concerns, the NSW Government has begun a trial of its own chatbot. Known as NSWEduChat, a dozen schools in the state began trialling the department’s proprietary app earlier this year.

Read more at EducationHQ

Making AI in education safe for kids

There are many concerns around the use of AI in education, with some of the biggest focused on its long-term effects on students’ research, critical thinking and reasoning skills, and how to properly evaluate information sources. 

Common Sense Media says its recently announced partnership with ChatGPT will focus on “educating families and educators about safe and responsible use” in a move to create a “safe for teens ChatGPT”.

Read more at EDUtechtalks

US school districts launch lawsuits against social media giants

In March 2023, Seattle public schools filed suit against some of the world’s biggest social media companies. The suit alleges that companies including YouTube, Tik Tok and Snapchat have “designed highly addictive products that are harmful to mental health and that they have marketed them to youth who are in a developmental stage that makes them susceptible to manipulation.”

Fast-forward to 2024, and the number of schools joining the action has exceeded 200 districts from across the US.

Read more at Education Week

Getting teachers up to speed with AI

The case for AI training as part of professional development for teachers is gaining momentum. An Education Week survey of teachers in the US found that seven in 10 respondents haven’t received any professional development on how to effectively use AI in the classroom.

“Experts say that it’s important for teachers to learn more about AI, not just so they can use it responsibly in their work, but also to help model that use for students who are already interacting with this technology and will need to become smart AI consumers.”

Read more at Education Week

UK research shows a sharp increase in teachers and students using AI 

As more than 50 percent of university students in the UK admit to using AI when writing essays, England’s Education Endowment Foundation has launched a nationwide study to see if generative platforms like ChatGPT and Microsoft CoPilot have a role to play in reducing secondary school teacher workloads.

Read more at The Guardian

Schools and cybercrime – is Zero Trust appropriate in Australia and NZ schools?

A number of schools in the US have adopted the Zero Trust approach to protecting their schools against cybercrime. So, what is Zero Trust, and is there a place for it in education in Australia and New Zealand?

Read more at EdTech Magazine

No more excuses for dropping the ball on school standards

US-based teacher and education podcaster Dr Zach Groshell believes that, despite understaffing and increasing workloads, school leaders need to place students at the centre of their decisions, and accept responsibility for learning outcomes.

“I don’t think we should allow the teaching shortage to be used as an excuse to lower expectations for ourselves.”  

Read more at EducationHQ

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