On the PR wires; as 700,000 students across Melbourne return to remote learning, education leaders are telling us that there’s one vital flaw in the plan.

The first lockdown, in March, was a shock.

It snuck up on us leaving businesses, schools and politicians scrambling, and it was widely accepted at the time that the people in charge were doing the best with what they had.

The second lockdown in Melbourne is different.

Australian parents knew there could be subsequent rolling closures, but with Victorian families now facing a new six weeks of kids learning from home, it’s time to ask ourselves whether we are going about this in the right way.

Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino has rolled out 48,000 devices and 26,000 dongles to students, with another 1000 devices and 2,500 dongles for the second Victoria lockdown.

“It’s not enough,” said Alex Burke, CEO of Education Perfect.

“I think it is fantastic to hear more computers and dongles are being handed out as it sets the right foundation.”

“However, as the world has seen with the past decade of business transformations, ‘human’ support processes are critical for any new technology roll-out,” explained Burke.

“Teachers need constant support in learning how to use technology, as well as how to adapt their classroom learning for digital channels.”

And it’s not just Burke citing a lack of preparation, support and training for teachers.

“Professional development access for teachers that targets technology-based skills and knowledge, is crucial today,” said Samantha Holt, a Learning Specialist in Science at Melbourne’s Epping Secondary College.

“During remote learning teachers were thrust into heavy reliance on technology, whether they were ready or not.

“And while many had the opportunity to upskill during this time through online professional development such as webinars or resource help features, this was not the case for all teachers,” she added.

Director of Digital Learning at Haileybury in Victoria, Lauren Sayer, agrees.

“Educational technology is a wonderful area, but without professional learning it has the risk to be a white elephant,” she said

“Staff, students and parents all benefit when there is the perfect match of training, support and technology.

“We would not give anyone a power tool without basic training and the same should go for technology. Professional learning enables us to all get the most out of what technology can bring to student learning and the classroom,” said Sayer.

Another Victorian primary school teacher explained how challenging the current situation has been.

“It doesn’t work, there are more traditional teachers who have no clue how to put a lesson plan online and have been asking me to put their lessons up for them,” he said.

A recent study, the largest of its kind, conducted in Australia by Pivot Professional Learning, uncovered some astounding results that reflect what we are hearing from teachers.

Taking place over the first lockdown on over 2100 Australian primary and secondary schools, it was found that after having a high quality technology platform for distance teaching, the next most critical needs were support for teachers.

“As we have seen from the research, teachers’ needs go well beyond simply having access to technology devices or platforms,” said Amanda Bickerstaff, CEO at Pivot.

“Teachers want to know how to best use platforms to meet the needs of their students. And while platforms like Education Perfect and others are a great base, teachers need leadership and peer support to be able to use them effectively,” she added.

Given all this, is it time we stop and ask ourselves where we are expecting too much from teachers and not sufficiently supporting them?