Education does not stop at the end of your time at a high school or university, instead through the use of digital technology children and adults are becoming life long learners, meaning that people now have the means to constantly learn new skills. Whether they are informal skills like learning to grow tomato’s or leaning how to change a tyre, these skills we can look up online and have Google as our uncertified teacher. Alternately getting certificate or diploma through online institutions like open university’s or Qld Tafe are formal skills, regardless of the type there is the opportunity to constantly learn(Howell, 2012).
Creating generations of life long learners firstly demands teachers to be life long learners. Consider that as teachers our professional development is part of our job description, its needed to maintain certification, teacher are also required learn while teaching so students can receive a outstanding and up to date education. Salary increase opportunities also encourage life long learning by offering higher salaries to individuals with more training, sometimes it may even require attending out of school workshops(Bryce, Withers, 2003). Although schools do allocate monetary recourses and leave opportunities for professional development, teachers as life-long learners is unfortunately a lacking most schools because of the limited quantity, and quality of professional development available. It is crucial that schools, teachers and government representatives recognize the importance of developing teachers as life-long learners, how can the community expect life-long learning skills and attitudes in children and not support the development of those same skills in teachers(Bryce, Withers, 2003).
The DER (Digital Education Revolution) is a government incentive designed to assist students and teachers to provide and receive the best education possible but to date the DER has not completely resolved issues like, bridging the digital gap (DEAG, 2013). This leads me to theorise that once again an individuals socioeconomic status will ultimately decide if a student is life long learner and if so to what extent, meaning that the cost of internet and technological devices may limit but not completely eradicate the amount of time a student can spend self-teaching.
The European Lifelong Learning Initiative defines lifelong learning as “…a continuously supportive process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understanding they will require throughout their lifetimes and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment, in all roles circumstances, and environments.” (Watson, 2003) To build the foundations that Watson describes teachers consider all the major components of the curriculum and the characteristics of their students and what strategies and methods are best suited to those students before they decide on the technologies and methods best suited to their students and educational environment. Then endeavour to incorporate the foundations of lifelong learning, like; self directed learning, searching and analysing information, communication and language skills, problem solving and teamwork, among so many others. To much emphasis on the curriculum and examinations alone can encourage a short term approach to learning, a ‘what do I have to learn’ vs. ‘how much can I learn'(Bryce, Withers, 2003).
- Watson, L. (2003) Lifelong Learning in Australia, Canberra, Department of Education, Science and Training Retrieved from http://www.llcq.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=12
- Bryce, J, Withers, G, 2003, Engaging secondary school students in lifelong learning
- Howell, J, 2012, Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity
- Education Department, 2013, Digital Education Advisory Group (DEAG) Final Report, retrieved from https://education.gov.au/technology-schools?resource