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Teachers raise fears over Queensland's new digital learning platform

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Queensland teachers are calling for certainty amid fears lesson resources could be lost as the Education Department replaces its digital learning platform for the first time in 18 years.

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An Education Department spokesperson confirmed The Learning Place, an 18-year-old system used by Queensland state schools, was being replaced with QLearn, an updated system with “vastly improved functions”.

The spokesperson said a small group of schools were already trialling the new system which is expected to be ready for up to 70 schools by the end of this month.

However, the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) is calling for the department to ensure funding is centrally allocated for training, and that resources on the current system are not lost in the transition.

QTU president Cresta Richardson said teachers would like assurances that they would still have access to resources they have spent “so much time” producing, so “that it doesn’t just disappear into the ether”, and central funding so that school budgets were not “disadvantaged”.

Richardson said the current system was probably old technology and that updates had likely been all add-ons in that time, so its replacement was about creating a streamlined platform.

“It’s probably a really good idea, but if it’s not supported with resourcing and quality professional development, it’s potentially not going to be the success that it could be,” she said.

The QTU has instructed members not to participate in training for QLearn outside of rostered duty time until funding was made available and schools do not have to absorb the costs.

“We’ll continue to consult and engage with the department around the issue,” Richardson said.

However, the Education Department spokesperson said state schools have “their own budget for professional development activities, including for training on how to use QLearn”.

The spokesperson said the new system featured real-time reporting and analytics as well as access for parents but did not provide information on how resources on The Learning Place would be kept as the new system is rolled out.

“The Learning Place has served the Department well for over 18 years but is in need of replacement,” the spokesperson said.

“QLearn will better meet school needs, offering a modern, mobile-friendly and low-maintenance solution.

“The new system is a game changer for teachers, students, parents and carers.

“It will allow teachers to connect with each other across the state and will also give parents/carers the opportunity to engage with their child’s learning.”

The spokesperson said the cost of the new system was commercial-in-confidence.

“Schools are being offered support for teachers in the form of webinars and help materials and the department is confident that teachers will adapt to the new system with ease,” the spokesperson said.

“The expectation is that teachers and staff will learn the QLearn system through their normal school professional development arrangements in line with the department’s policy.”

– ABC / Antonia O’Flaherty

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