Rockingham Innovative Digital Schools Project
Forging ICT Excellence in a School Environment
Throughout history technological advancements have changed the way generations live and work.¬† Today, changes in information communications technology (ICT) is so rapid and ever evolving that the children of today will be, in 10 to 20 years, facing an entirely different working environment.
It is imperative that schools embrace ICT by incorporating the technologies as part of a learning environment.¬† Kolbe Catholic College has certainly taken this pathway and is now being recognised locally and nationally for its innovative teaching practices that embrace ICT.
Ms Robyn Miller, Principal, said students really appreciate the efforts of Kolbe‚Äôs teachers go to embrace ICT as part of their teaching practice.
‚ÄúOur teachers are providing a challenging curriculum that uses technology such as laptops, iPod Touch, digital cameras, SMART boards and eBeam.¬† There has also been an explosion in the use of Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and iTunes U,‚ÄĚ Ms Miller said.
‚ÄúWith our teachers embracing the new world of information communications technology, our students are more willing to explore and apply themselves to the learning process.¬† These technologies open up new ways of collaborating and sharing experiences with fellow students, as well as developing skills and knowledge that will be useful in the wider world.¬† The outcome is that our students are excelling in their learning.‚ÄĚ
One learning area receiving positive results and recognition are the College‚Äôs LOTE courses.¬† Mr Noburo Hagiwara, Head of Languages, has made learning Japanese more comprehensive and mobile to his students.¬† Knowing that young people are increasingly engaged in learning in this mode, Mr Hagiwara has made the study of languages come alive through his online resources, which include course outlines, booklets, tasks, assessments and podcasts.
‚ÄúWith language, it is crucial for students to connect and experience the world, not from just within a classroom, and information communications technology certainly helps make this connection possible,‚ÄĚ Mr Hagiwara said.
Integrating iPod Touch and online resources into Mr Hagiwara‚Äôs language classes has had extremely positive results for students and created interest outside the Kolbe community.
The key to learning a language is the ability to communicate in the chosen language ‚Äď the ability to comprehend, interpret and produce visual, spoken and written texts.¬† By introducing one-on-one iPod touch technology into the classroom for students in Years 9 to 12, Mr Hagiwara is offering different ways to capture students‚Äô interest.
In both classroom and home environments, students are able to download podcast episodes from the intranet, wiki space and iTunes; record and share their own assignments; read online news and answer given questions, download online tasks and complete given questions; and email host families and friends.¬† The learning possibilities have been taken to their maximum potential.
The initial success of this program has seen Mr Hagiwara‚Äôs program adopted by a number of schools in Western Australia. ¬†Additionally, in 2009, there was higher achievement and retention rates in Mr Hagiwara‚Äôs Year 10 students than in previous years.¬† This achievement is confirmation of the success of this ICT initiative.
‚ÄúThis mobile, interactive and multipurpose tool enhances students‚Äô motivation to language learning and the level of engagement beyond our expectations,‚ÄĚ Mr Hagiwara said.
These learning tools are only part of Kolbe‚Äôs foray into incorporating ICT technology into language curriculum. With assistances of Mr Hagiwara, Kolbe Catholic College has been leading the Rockingham Innovative Digital Schools Program (RIDSP) with Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School and St Bernadette‚Äôs Catholic Primary School.¬† This project focuses on providing a dynamic, engaging and challenging learning experience to enhance the students‚Äô enjoyment and achievement in the Japanese language.
Mr Hagiwara‚Äôs efforts in giving students ‚Äėreal‚Äô experiences in language activities has created an opportunity for the primary students‚Äô learning to become more interactive through the viewing of and listening to podcasts created by Kolbe‚Äôs Year 8 students.¬† For Kolbe‚Äôs students, this was an opportunity to consolidate their learning and applying it to help others to learn. ¬†The additional result is the seamless and integrated transition from primary to secondary language learning, which means continuity in learning contexts and content.
‚ÄúInformation Communications Technology is here and is certainly the way of the future for our children.¬† By merging these technologies into our curriculum, we are helping our students to be productive and contributing member of the community and ensuring they are given every opportunity to prepare themselves for the wider world,‚ÄĚ Ms Miller said.
RIDSP ‚Äď ‚ÄėThe Early Days‚Äô
CEO Memo Reference: Rockingham Innovative Digital School Project (RIDSP)
Congratulations to all the participants in the Rockingham Innovative Digital School Project group. A presentation of their work was given at the Primary Curriculum Issues Day on 10th September, Technology Park. The Rockingham cluster group comprises Kolbe Catholic College, St Bernadette‚Äôs Catholic Primary School, St Vincent‚Äôs Catholic Primary School and Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School.
The project group has established a process to aid the transition of students from primary to secondary schooling, and in assisting middle school teachers to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into their learning, teaching and assessment programs to improve student achievement. The participants will conduct ongoing evaluation of the process, the technology applications and improvements in student achievement, to help ensure that the process and the technologies are is appropriate, adaptable, and useful.
The project is focused on using the Editure mysuite of products in developing shared digital portfolios as a vehicle for Primary-to-Primary and Primary-to-Secondary school communication and collaboration. Centra desktop video conferencing protocols are used to develop an online learning community, to discuss student work samples and areas of common interest. These products are available in all Catholic schools in Western Australia.
The participants have been provided with the skills to use the full range of the Editure mysuite of products including mydesktop, myclasses and myportfolio as learning, teaching and assessment tools in the classroom. Teachers have learnt to use desktop video conferencing protocols as an efficient, alternative communication tool, using these protocols on a regular basis to share understandings and issues of concern between the schools.
Primary and secondary school teachers are working collaboratively, coming to understand each others‚Äô pedagogical practices, based on the relevant documents (e.g. The Curriculum Framework, Curriculum Framework Progress Maps), thereby gaining an insight into providing sound programs and fostering consistency for students from Year 6 to Year 9. Teachers are sharing information regarding individual students that will benefit the transition of students moving into a secondary school setting.
Students from these feeder primary schools have developed a digital portfolio that will be recognized and used in the development of programs, and that inform the assessment process as they progress from primary to secondary school. These processes and products are aiding opportunities for a shift from teacher centred to student centred, inquiry based learning that encourages the development of skills and higher order thinking through the medium of ICT, thereby moving towards becoming a digital school. Students also have an opportunity to create dialogue, hold a ‚Äúshow and tell‚ÄĚ, share experiences with other students and discover alternate views.
Specific tasks based on the National Learning Statements in ICT, English, Science, Mathematics and Civics and Citizenship will be developed in the near future.