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Greendale School VLN Reflection October 2012

Greendale School VLN Reflection October 2012-09-10

  1. 1.   Background and context

The school roll has grown to the point that whole school teaching is now no longer a necessity with both classrooms being taught separately fulltime. However the goal of developing social interaction through technology has not been diminished, rather its delivery mechanism has changed. Rather than using our technology to increase social interaction between classrooms we use it within classrooms. These classrooms are multi-level so all the previously identified advantages and aims of younger working with older students remain.

Also the general goal of integrating ICT into the curriculum is very important. To this end students should use ICT tools seamlessly and without pause as a natural part of any curriculum lesson.

The purchasing of two interactive whiteboards at considerable cost for this small school has narrowed our goal focus primarily to increase the effective use of this tool.

  1. 2.   Aims and purpose
  • Increased and better social interaction through the use of ICT
  • Greater immersion and integration of ICT within the curriculum
    • And therefore increased use and skill level of children using the ICT tools
    • Which will increase learning motivation and effectiveness
  1. 3.   Method, interventions and actions

The purchase of ICT technology, effective setup and organisation of these resources was vital to give the children the opportunity to succeed in the above goals. To this end the school has purchased two interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, web cams, and provides one new desktop computer between two students, linked by network. Also considerable expense was spent on removing multiple layers of passwords and access blocks to the hardware within the school towards the students. One password now opens all ICT functions for the students.

Children have been put on a rotating roster which enables them to use the ‘activboard’ for all programmed curriculum areas during the day. Once the teacher has finished using the board the two children rostered on this day work co-operatively at the board in this curriculum area, choosing from a variety of pre loaded activities.

Children are encouraged to remove programs downloaded that are seen to be ineffective. Conversely they are encouraged to find from Promethean planet replacement or new classroom resources increasing effectiveness and ownership.

Other ICT immersion examples are: Spelling words and homework tasks are emailed by the students themselves at the start of the week to their parents and the Mathletics program being used extensively in the Mathematics program.

Students are encouraged to solve ICT problems themselves which increases motivation and knowledge of the tools themselves.

  1. 4.   Summary of key results

Students are able to work well together using the interactive whiteboards. They are keen to get into the board activities and now can use its functions without teacher input. This means that its use by students can be applied to other areas. For example the students are able to co- operatively produce notes, data sheets and projects together as a class on the interactive whiteboard without unnecessary teacher intervention.

The interactive whiteboard now has become the organising display for all classroom activities, including, maths groups, morning meetings, spelling and reading rotations, and individual classroom duty. Children are able to access this information themselves and therefore have greater ownership of the classroom program.

Classroom transitions are improved between subjects as the children manage these themselves largely; knowing when a change should take place and what to do next.

Students use ICT in a seamless way naturally using the tools in the classroom in a confident manner and in most subjects. They approach the tasks with confidence and enthusiasm. For example school assemblies are organised by students, including ICT elements such as displaying movies made by students or music to be played.

 

  1. 5.   Drawn conclusions and identified any recommendations or next steps

The participation of our school in the ICT contract has been beneficial in terms of teacher knowledge but most importantly in terms of increased student knowledge and motivation.

In terms of practical future direction, the recent addition of wireless internet capacity in the school and possible ultra-fast broadband being installed and becoming affordable; then portable ICT technology should be investigated.

A well-researched ICT development plan needs to be drawn up in the school. This plan needs to be programmed in for regular review and needs to have community, parent and Board input in its review. This should provide the school with a clear and agreed direction with an attached commitment of spending which is agreed and understood by all shareholders within the school.

A school web site needs to be developed and our reporting of student achievement needs to be reviewed in terms of using an ‘online’ real time and interactive form.

As a very small school we need to seek out and foster relationships with our fellow cluster schools to keep up to date and tap into their ICT best practice.

The practice of older students teaching, socially interacting and working with younger ones in our multi-level classroom is not only a positive feature of our classrooms but a necessary part of our classroom. 

By participating in this cluster we have highlighted the importance of student co-operative learning strategies to our staff and students and developed better practices around this.