#libsder – my letter to Barry O’Farrell.

I’ve decided to continue my tradition (well…I’ve done it twice) of asking the political leaders in upcoming elections (this time the NSW State election) what their position is on maintaining the Digital Education Revolution (DER) program.

The word is that the Labor Party will maintain the program. The word “savings” was heard during Barry O’Farrell’s speech last week. I was interested to know what that meant with respect to DER in NSW.

So here’s what I wrote to Mr Barry O’Farrell MP (Opposition Leader) and Mr Adrian Piccoli MP (Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and Youth Affairs)

Dear Mr O’Farrell and Mr Piccoli,

I am a Head Teacher PDHPE  in a NSW Department of Education (DET) school. I have devoted a large amount of my recent professional learning time reflecting on and further developing my teaching  based on the stellar work of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) team. This has reinvigorated many aspects of what I do daily in school. Speak to just about any teacher in NSW secondary schools and I’m sure you’ll find that the evidence regarding the changes it has brought about to the way teachers and students are moving into the 21st Century is quite compelling.

I’ve seen in my classes the experiences, resources and opportunities that the Digital Education Revolution has provided my students. Students that were not engaged by poorly photocopied, out of date worksheets now have the ability to access a wealth of  appealing, reliable information that is quite often updated daily. The student’s skills in collaboration, communication, social responsibility and the creation of quality indicators of their learning and understanding have been amplified by this game changing initiative. The future that DER offers holds awesome potential, including the integration of ubiquitous technology in classroom teaching and learning. And this isn’t just in my school, but right across the State. Search #dernsw on Twitter to see some of the great work being done.

I must admit that I was worried when I heard you say recently that a lot of what you would do if you achieved government would be paid for via “savings”.   I would imagine the DER program would be expensive, and it would be an attractive area to make savings in.

I was browsing your Party web site today and my concerns that DER may become part of the savings measures should you win power were not alleviated. There were only 3 items in your “Education” policy section, none of which dealt with DER.

So, what I want to know is – should you win the upcoming election, what level of commitment will you show to sparing the DER program from the axe? Additionally, will you  endeavour to let it grow and flourish in the future?

You should know that this letter won’t just be between you and me. Sorry. A lot of DET people will know via Twitter and my blog that I’ve asked these questions of you. I’m sure they share my concerns and would like to know the answers too. Understanding this, if, in this socially connected world,  you want to follow our conversation about this issue on Twitter, search the tag #libsder for what people are saying.

Yours sincerely

Brendan Jones – @jonesytheteachr on Twitter

HT PDHPE – Erina High School

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4 thoughts on “#libsder – my letter to Barry O’Farrell.”

  1. You raise some great points- about the changes in education and your own practise, but also in the Liberal/National party planning for change. Only three points in their Education Policy? We might be on strike by the end of the year, or on individual contracts in 12 months time. I am worried that the DER may be an easy out for the Libs, there may even be teacher votes in breaking the program down.
    Did you send this on to the Libs?

    • Hi Troy and thanks for the comment. I hope its just their cat and mouse way of trickling out policy, and DER isn’t up yet. The letter will go tonight!

  2. Great letter. I, too, would like to know what will happen to the DER laptop program. We’ve put so much effort into integrating them (laptops) into the classroom, it would be so demotivating to have the program canned. All that work… don’t let it be for nothing.

    • Hi Lenore, and thanks for your interest in the blog. I hope we don’t lose DER. It would definitely be a backward step.


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