School of Education students teach teachers tricks of digital world


This article was originally published in The Advertiser, CHRIS RUSSELL, EDUCATION REPORTER

In a reversal of traditional roles, Adelaide University students on placement at schools to learn how to teach are helping teachers work out how best to use online platforms.

Attendance at public schools in SA has reached 63 per cent, the highest in the nation, but interest in remote learning remains high. “We’re keen for the placements to be a give-and-take experience,” said education lecturer Walter Barbieri of the Bachelor of Teaching students.

They were making a significant contribution, with some teachers finding it a steep learning curve to go online, he said. Among the students is Olivia Keatch, in her final year of a double degree in science and teaching and the first intern at Adelaide Botanic High School.

“I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned at uni, like keeping online learning simple and creating a great student teacher relationship online, into the school,” she said. Adelaide Botanic STEM coordinator Theo Papazoglov said the school had always had some online learning but this had increased dramatically.

“Our staff are very enthusiastic, willing to learn and pushing new boundaries,” he said. “So Olivia has helped us put more tricks up our sleeve.” Ms Keatch took the lead on the online launch yesterday of a new unit within maths, science and technology to imagine Adelaide in 2040. She created an introductory video and bank of resources. “It’s a very different experience doing a launch online,” Mr Papazoglov said.

The unit was structured as “flipped learning”, where students were introduced to the topic by watching the video individually before going online together with the teacher. This contrasts with a traditional first step of a teacher describing the topic to the class as a group. Adelaide Botanic High School principal Alistair Brown said even though the staff at the science-rich school were experienced in technology, Ms Keatch had brought a depth of empathy about how students approached e-learning.

Mr Barbieri said the university taught skills such as videomaking, how various learning platforms worked and how to give feedback digitally, such as making audio comments. Meanwhile, the Medical Journal of Australia has published a Flinders University report on clinical placement of medical students. Dean of Medicine and Public Health Education Alison Jones said students gained insight into health system governance and clinical practice during the pandemic.

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