There are two key factors for us in developing teachers’ use of technology in their classroom practice - while we started with good pedagogy (our Learning Principles provide the basis of this), we also been able to demonstrate the 'value add' of the technology use over traditional methods. To facilitate this for teachers, we started by developed 'toolkits' - different sets of tools aligned to either pedagogy or curriculum areas.
Research skills is also an area where technology is used to enhance student learning, by providing access to timely and authentic resources, and all teaching staff have been introduced to this approach via dedicated professional development time. More recently, we have developed Reading and Writing Workshop as a structured approach to developing traditional literacy in our Junior and Middle Schools. We now see technology as being an essential element in developing this pedagogy through each of the stages or drafting, editing and publishing.
Teacher and student competence with digital tools has developed remarkably quickly at the College since the introduction of iLearn. For example, Infant and Junior School students create screencasts on iPads to demonstrate their understanding of mathematics concepts. Using screencasting apps - combining audio, images, drawing and text to create a video - students create videos that make their thinking visual and visible. For teachers, assessing student understanding is much easier when the students thinking is so clearly captured.
|Grade 8 Film Festival|
The Grade 8 Film Festival project is designed to celebrate and showcase the skills and attributes that students have developed in their time in the Middle School. Working in small groups, students are challenged to produce a high-quality short film around a pre-determined theme. With just two weeks to complete the film, students need to work collaboratively across a range of disciplines to produce the film in time for the end of year Film Festival. Teachers work with students in English, Geography, History, IT, Visual Art, Music and Drama, helping to develop links between academic disciplines and to assist students in producing their films using knowledge and skills developed in their academic area.
In this culminating project for our Middle School students, the technological tools are a key to facilitating the learning, rather than the point of it.
Watch the 2013 Film Festival films here.