University uses tech to tackle teacher shortage

University uses tech to tackle teacher shortage

Researchers from Swinburne University are using crowd-sourcing technology to address perceptions of teaching as a low-status career choice.

The University is calling on teacher education students to share what inspired them to become teachers and what they think may have deterred their peers from teaching careers.

Reports have shown that more than 30% of Australian teachers leave within their first five years in the role, driving a serious teacher shortage in most states and territories across the nation.

While a range of factors are responsible for this issue, some recent reports offers some clues as to the reasons that teachers are leaving, or why prospective teachers are refusing to take up the job altogether.

New research from the Monash University shows that as much as 71% of Australia’s educators feel underappreciated in the classroom and struggle with excessive workloads.

According to NSW Secondary Principals’ Council president, Craig Petersen, factors such as working conditions, the increased focus on high stakes testing and the lack of value that society places on teachers, are driving this problem in Australia’s school system.

However, through the Future Teachers Talk project, Swinburne University is using crowd-sourcing technology to help teacher education students around Australia design social innovations that address the perceptions of teaching as a low-status career choice. 

“By asking those close in age and experience to secondary students for their suggestions, this study will help us to better understand what influences people to become teachers and garner fresh insights into how we can attract more people into teaching as a career,” Swinburne’s Bachelor of Education (Primary) Course Director, Dr Kristina Turner, said.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Australian Council of Deans of Education with support of Education faculties around Australia. 

Using digital technology, education students in different locations will engage in an asynchronous community discussion where they have their say – in text, audio and video – on a series of questions posed by the research team. 

The project involves Problem and Solution Jams aimed at stimulating innovative proposals that will tackle the important and difficult real-world issues faced by potential and current teachers.

“The digital community created will also allow hundreds of teacher education students open communication right across Australia, which we hope will also give them a greater sense of inclusion as they journey towards teaching in classrooms,” ACDE President, Professor Tania Aspland, said.