Kolbe Catholic College has undergone exceptional change in the area of Information Communication Technology over the last few years.Â The College is now looking to the future for our senior school students. In 2010 and 2011 the College initiated conversations with many schools around Western Australia that had had 1:1 Laptop Programs extending through years 10 â€“ 12. After reviewing these schoolsâ€™ programs and discussions with our teaching staff it was decided that in Years 10 â€“ 12 a different device would better suit student needs.
What are the needs of our students?
The College ICT philosophy evolves around two fundamental tenants. Firstly, in Years 7 â€“ 9 students use the MacBook 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 and to produce quality assessments that show innovation and creativity. Secondly, in Years 10 â€“ 12, while creation still remains highly important, our studentsâ€™ focus is content retention and organising their subject requirements to achieve the best possible results.
Content Driven Years 10 â€“ 12
The focus of all learning in Year 10 -12 ensures students have the necessary pre-requisite knowledge and skills for their chosen post-school destination. The Curriculum Council of Western Australia and other government bodies determine these pre-requisites. Students have pre-determined content that they are required to learn, which is assessed so to determine entry into University, TAFEWA or employment opportunities. Knowing this, the ability to be organised, access information anywhere anytime and with minimal classroom downtime/interruption, led the College to questions the feasibility of a laptop to meet these needs.Â With this in mind the College made a decision to trial an iPad for our senior school students as part of finding the best technology for the learning styles and modes our students experience.
Why an iPad?
The College started exploring mobile devices, other then laptops, in 2009 in the form of iPod touch devices. These devices were extensively used in the language programs under the direction of Mr Noburo Hagiwara. The use of the iPod touch in language classes provided invaluable insightÂ into how a mobile device enabled learning to be more enriching and more â€˜mobileâ€™ for senior school students. The language students had access to â€˜appsâ€™ that enabled them to record and organise their day, but more specifically, allowed them to personalise their learning to a degree where they become a partner in the learning journey and not simply a participant. The reality is that for the past two years the College has been trialling a 1:1 Apple mobile device in much the same way the College will undertake the iPad 2 deployment in Term 3 2011 as the next step in this action research.
A Device for Personalised Learning
The College will provide Year 10 students with an iPad2 32GB WiFi 3G at the commencement of Term 3 2011. The device will provide students with the ability to personalise learning by sharing, using and processing information and technology quickly and with the convenience of mobility.Â Students will be able to access world wide information, College 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.Â To ensure that students succeed, teachers use a variety of resources and strategies to cater to the variety of student abilities within a class.Â The iPad 2 provides students and teachers with anotherÂ resource to assist in the differentiation of learning.Â The Apple App Store provides a wealth of educational resources that allow all students to take control of their own learning journey.Â 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.
During the trial, the College will not require any parent to purchase any applications from the App Store, however, you might like to! 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.
Over the past two years all Kolbe staff have been engaged in a comprehensive professional development program about the use of ICT in the classroom. The professional learning has assisted teachers to manipulate course content into a more accessible digital format and upload the content to the Collegeâ€™s wiki server for our students to access.
In 2011 the College aims to have every learning area involved in the process of Substitution., Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition.
Substitution is the simple process of taking the content teachers are currently teaching and transforming it into a digital medium with minimal change. That is, a handout created for the Year 12 Human Biology 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 schoolÂ 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 ePub documents.Â YouTube has a collection of videos about ePubÂ you might like to investigate.
Modification and Redefinition are the last two steps. The process for modification evolves looking at what needs to be taught and creating it specifically for these mobile devices. It means that Kolbe 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 2.
Each device has includes a Wi-Fi card that allows it to connect wirelessly to our College network infrastructure. This allows students access to filtered and monitored internet access throughout the school day. For the past two years the College has routinely allowed students to bring in their iPods and other devices to gain access to the College networks with the understanding that the same College Policy applies as if it were a College owned device. Presently, the College has over 200 student personalÂ devices on our networks, something that other schools are yet to embrace.
The College has spent a large amount of time discussing the inclusion of a 3G-enabled device. There are positives and negatives to this type of connection andÂ will be reviewed at the end of the year. The Collegeâ€™s concern regarding 3G devices is that a student whilst at school can bypass the College filtered internet connection for thechoice of their own 3G connections. The College actively acknowledges its duty of care for internet access whilst students are on campus but simultaneously wanting to provide students with a truly anywhere anytime device for learning. To achieve this, the College decided to provide the option for students, with the permission of their parents, of installing a Micro-Sim that would allow Internet access without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. The reality of the situation is that many of the Collegeâ€™s senior students already actively utilise these connections around the College networks through their smart phones and it is the decision by the College to harness and have conversations about the appropriate use of these technologies rather than simply blanket ban.
Under the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund (NSSCF) Agreement, all devices purchased must be insured. This means that the College must incur additional costs to allow these devices to travel home with students, which results in increased risk. With this in mind, the College 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 College 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. The excess for a device that is stolen or broken is $250.00 payable by the parent. The College has also paid for an extension of the device warranty for a further one year. Parents will need to sign an agreement to this effect before the iPad will be issued.
The College is committed to trialling this device until the end of 2011 with the possible extension until 2013.Â The Collegeâ€™s ICT Executive Committee meets on a regular basis to discuss various College ICT initiatives and will undertake a critical review in 2012 to determine the feasibility of the project after the trial. Currently the College has no plans after this first trial, to continue the implementation, until this review is completed.
Kolbe Catholic College is a leading digital school with a reputation for providing our Catholic communities with innovative, student centred programs. The iPad 2 will provide our students with learning experiences, which develop our students 21st Century skills, knowledge and values that will ensure a successful transition from school to further training, education and/or the workplace.
iPad Wiki - 236 Pages of resources including surveys, how-to-guides, technical papers and more.
www.youtube.com/kolbecollege – Video from the deployment day can be found on our college youtube site