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Cybercells: Enhancing academic and social support of teachers and adult community members in two remote communities in Western Australia

 

Project Title Cybercells: Enhancing academic and social support of teachers and adult community members in two remote communities in Western Australia
Project Coordinator

Professor Sue Trinidad

Research Assistant - Tania Broadley

Period 2007
Funding Agency SiMERR WA

Background

In February 2007 the Minister for Education and Training announced the establishment of a taskforce to review the education and training workforce, and to identify requirements to ensure a consistent supply of quality teachers within Western Australia. As is the case in other states, attracting and retaining teachers to regional and remote areas is a priority for the government. As many teachers working in these areas have limited access to professional learning communities, there is a need to investigate how the use of advanced interactive computer technologies adapted for educational purposes can support the social and professional challenges faced by teachers in these settings.

Description

This project aimed to enhance the academic and social support of teachers and adult community members in regional and remote communities through the use of Cybercells - virtual and actual groups linked by Telecentres and purpose-built software. The participants were teachers and adult community members from two communities in Western Australia: one located in the remote northwest of WA, and the other in an agricultural and mining community on the southern coast. The project had a particular focus on supporting educators who are responsible for the education of school-aged youth in science and mathematics. The SiMERR WA project team supported teachers and adult community members as they engaged in learning about, planning for, and implementing the use of the Telecentre.

Benefits to Rural and Regional Education

Teachers working in remote and regional areas often experience a strong sense of geographic and social isolation from peers, colleagues and appropriate support mechanisms due to the huge distances between towns and communities. Findings from the research indicate the importance of access to professional development, access to resources, the importance of leadership, and a community of practice to support social and academic needs. The use of Telecentres to support teachers in Australia is relatively new, and there is little research into how teachers might use them effectively, or what their impact is on the academic and social support of teachers and the adult community. This research results in a validated professional support method adaptable to a range of contexts to rejuvenate and sustain remote and regional communities, with a particular focus on science, ICT, and mathematics teaching and learning.

Contact Professor Sue Trinidad

 

 

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