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Reflective Summary - Changing the way we do things.

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The Background:

Last year the school purchased a number of netbooks housed in a mobile storage unit. The netbooks were avaialable for classess in the middle schol to borrow as they required them. The experiences of the students and teachers had been mixed. Technical and accessibility issues meant that many of the  user experiences were identified as unsatisfactory.

As part of strategic planning a complete rethink about how they might be better used.

Why did this need doing?

Daniel Murfitt the Principal talks about this and the changes that were agreed upon. 

 What has changed?       

The cow unit is now assigned to one classroom only and each student has their own designated netbook. There are a number of spares that can be used for different purposes.

Students applied to part of the digital classroom. It was decided to start at year 7 level so that the positive aspects of being in an environment such as this would have long term benefits for the school.

What has happened?

A teacher was identified and asked to consider teaching this class. The main consideration of the principal was that the teacher should be a quality teacher first and foremost any ICT skills would be a bonus.

Kathi Harris who you can hear from in the following video, would describe herself as a beginner when it comes to using digital technologies. However she was willing to give it a go knowing that she was very willing to be led by students and that other opportunities for professional learning were available. First of these was a trip to learning@school conference that offered some really good teaching and learning ideas.

A half day brain storming and planning session was then undertaken with the ICT facilitator John Phelps. The first part of this session involved John and Kathi.  They decided that they were going to embark on some very basic activities that would be able to be used to support learning. This involved using Paint, and the drawing tools within Microsoft PowerPoint to make a range of digital books. These would be used to support literacy and other learning whilst providing opportunities to be confident and creative. It was also important that every student irrespective of previous experience could be creative. Kathi and John did the tasks themselves that they wanted the students to do.

The second part of the morning involved Kathi and John working with the students to introduce the tools and skills they would need to have a successful start to their eLearning.

This session confirmed for Kathi that the students would be great teachers both for her and for each other.

Photography and video have been added to the repertoire of the students as they continue to examine how their work can be better than before.

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Supportive learning environment A current focus A teacher sharing in the fun

John Phelps comments on what he has seen so far.

Having now made several visits to the classroom I see a very caring and engaging  learning environment  in which  I have seen the following:

  •  Excellent student teacher relationships
  •  Students as teachers
  •  Confidence in using the netbooks
  •  Students willing to ask for help
  •  Interesting learning
  •  Humour
  •  Creativity
  •  Students capable of talking about their learning
  •  Collaborative learning and sharing.
  • Pride in learning

Comment on the approach:

We often share the idea that students are digital natives and this is often true. However there are still many students who are not as digitally competent when it comes to applying the digital skills they have to refelct learning. In our experience this does not happen intuitively. Therefore we are outting in place some building blocks to help support this. Just because we do an exercise once it does not mean that we have to rush off and utilise another skill immediately.

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First Effort Revisit and make better than before


The students in this class revisited painting, drawing and writing regulary so that if they needed graphics they could easily create them.