Education Leading Technology
In an ever changing world it is imperative that schools afford students the best possible opportunities by incorporating technologies as part of the teaching and learning environment. St. Andrew’s Grammar School will embrace this pathway and has embarked on a vision to be recognised locally and nationally for its innovative teaching practices in the ICT domain.
To achieve this goal our teachers welcome the new world of information communications technology, and our students will demonstrate greater application to the learning process. These technologies will enable an increase in collaboration and sharing of experiences with fellow students, but also develop skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the future. Put succinctly our students will excel in their learning.
WHY BECOME A DIGITAL SCHOOL?
- Improve student engagement – Teachers need to explore all avenues to challenge students so they become excited about, and develop a hunger for learning. We also know that learning styles differ between students. Technologies allow for greater flexibility in meeting the needs of individual students.
- Connection – Acknowledging there is a growing divide between what is happening at home and school as to how young people learn, and specifically how they use learning technologies. Many of our students live in a ‘second world’ at home.
- Culture of Learning at St. Andrew’s – To develop a culture of learning that integrates the use of ICT for all community members, our students make use of 21st Century learning strategies to further engage them and capitalise on portable technology.
- Redefining Schools – High quality teaching and learning experiences are the key drivers to developing this culture, not the technology. The technology amplifies good teaching.
- Futures Oriented School – Interactive ways of learning foster creativity, collaboration and hence produce adaptable learners. Future oriented schools do not promote a culture of ‘one size fits all’, but rather create a community that enable students to ‘make a living and learn to make a life’.
Over a period of time our teachers will come to an understanding of the pedagogy and practice that encourages the use of technology as a means to improving student learning. Our staff will have increasing confidence in the technology and are able to select appropriate tools for the tasks presented to our students.
All schools are now digital schools – we want to be seen as a leading digital school.
What are the needs of our students?
The School ICT philosophy revolves around two fundamental tenants. Firstly, in Years 7 – 10, students will use an IPAD / LAPTOP or laptop as a tool for creating and exploring the possibilities of Information Communication Technology. This allows students to gain the necessary skills to create presentations; manipulate data into meaningful products, to produce quality work and assessments that show innovation and creativity and organising their subject requirements. Secondly, in Years 11 – 12, while creation still remains highly important, our students’ focus is content retention and organising their subject requirements to achieve the best possible results.
The school has implemented an e-mail solution for the students. All students have an email account and are able to communicate with teaching staff, each other and home.
A Device for Personalised Learning
The iPad / Laptop device has provided students with the ability to personalise learning by sharing, using and processing information and technology quickly and with the convenience of mobility. Students were able to access worldwide information, School resources and the resources available through the Apple App Store to assist their understanding and learning.
Every student is unique and has different abilities and learning needs. To ensure that students succeed, teachers use a variety of resources and strategies to cater to the variety of student abilities within a class. The iPad / Laptop provides students and teachers with another resource to assist in the differentiation of learning. The Apple App Store provides a wealth of educational resources that allow all students to take control of their own learning journey. For example, if a student is having a problem in learning a particular theory in Maths they have the ability to download additional learning materials, generally free of charge through the App Store.
Parents will need to purchase specified applications from the App Store, by purchasing I Tune cards. The applications available through the App Store will allow students to personalise their learning more than any other tool has been able to in the past.
The staff has been engaged in a comprehensive professional development program about the use of ICT in the classroom. The professional learning programme assists teachers to manipulate course content into a more accessible digital format and we plan to upload the content to the School’s wiki server for our students to access.
The School has involved every learning area in the process of SUBSTITUTION, AUGMENTATION, MODIFICATION and REDEFINITION.
In English, Mathematics, Science and Society and Environment, students purchase E textbooks to use on the IPad / Laptops.
SUBSTITUTION is the simple process of taking the content teachers who are currently teaching and transforming it into a digital medium with minimal change. That is, a handout created for the Year 10 Science class, for example, is scanned to make it digital and placed in a location for students to download. This allows for students to carry less paper work, organise their electronic files, reduces our green footprint as a school and allows students to have immediate access to their work.
AUGMENTATION is the transforming of content into digital forms but adding creativity in small ways, such as embedded audio and video. This is done through a process of creating IPad / Laptop documents. YouTube has a collection of videos about IPad / Laptop you might like to investigate.
MODIFICATION and REDEFINITION are the last two steps. The process for modification involves looking at what needs to be taught and creating it specifically for these mobile devices. It means that our students would experience not content that has been simply scanned but documents and videos that have been tailored with mobile technology in mind at its conception. Redefinition will allow for the creation of task that was previously inconceivable without the technology of an iPad / Laptop.
Each device will be able to connect wirelessly to our School’s network infrastructure. This allows students access to filtered and monitored Internet access throughout the school day.
Under the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund (NSSCF) Agreement, all devices purchased must be insured. This means that the School must incur additional costs to allow these devices to travel home with students, which results in increased risk. With this in mind, the School did not want Insurance costs to limit the benefits of this program. The compromise relates directly to the school entering into a partnership with parents for the insurance of the device. The School will pay the cost of insuring the device with the parent only becoming liable for the excess in the event that the device is broken and or stolen.
As the school will have to incur a number of significant and new expenses (such as professional development, engaging professional services and insurance costs) with the new focus on integration of ICT in the curriculum, a technology levy is included in the school fees for students.
The School is committed to this device until the end of 2015. The School’s ICT Executive Committee meets on a regular basis to discuss various School ICT initiatives and will undertake a critical review to determine the feasibility of the project.
St. Andrew’s Grammar School is already a leading digital school with a reputation for providing our community with innovative, student centred programmes. The iPad / Laptop will provide our students with learning experiences, which develop our students 21st Century skills, knowledge and values ensuring a successful transition from school to further training, education and/or the workplace.