The world around us continues to rapidly evolve. Students are immersed in a multitude of relevant technologies utilised in all forms of living today.
Schools must embrace technology and teach students to be producers, not only consumers, as they interact on their devices.
It is important that pedagogy and learning objectives be the drivers of technology integration, not simply adding devices into a classroom as a bolt-on without the clear purpose of learning 21st century knowledge and skills. Enhancing traditional literacy and numeracy capabilities remains a key priority, while technology is embedded in learning in concert with ‘thinking skills’ such as identify, analyse and solve real-world problems, along with the ability to work and collaborate in teams attaining productive outcomes.
At SMGS, our Senior School students bring their own laptop devices as part of our BYODT (Bring Your Own Designated Technology) program. Our experience informs us that iPads/tablets are not suitable for our Senior School students, given the amount of work undertaken on the devices, storage and organisation, online access, LMS integration, multiple pages open at once, e-textbook requirements, and so on.
There are also additional opportunities for students to pursue learning experiences in technology, including:
- choosing one of the technology-based electives in the Academies of Excellence Program available to students in Years 7 to 10, and also optional for Years 11 and 12. These include building an underwater submarine, robotics and learning to code
- join the technology club where a group of students meet regularly with our IT Manager to pursue innovative ideas in technology
- Electing Information Processes and Technology (IPT) for Years 11 and 12 in the Higher School Certificate curriculum subject elective option. This is delivered in a very small class where all students receive very high levels of personalised teaching.
Our Learning Management System (LMS), CANVAS, is a state-of-the-art digital platform that provides a central location for so much of the learning infrastructure to occur.
Canvas houses a large amount of curriculum, teaching and assessment information for students and parents to access and interact with teachers, including course and class notes, assignments, homework, assessment schedules and resources. This enables learning to be ‘flipped’ in some situations, where students can watch video clips or complete readings prior to class, where the emphasis can then be on unpacking the understanding with the teacher. Canvas also provides a repository for teachers to mark assessment pieces and record feedback for students to access. Parents can also sign in and access much of the material anywhere in the world with internet access.
Similarly, students who travel overseas or are away for extended periods can access much of their work through Canvas and still keep pace with some of the learning occurring. At SMGS we are exploring and researching possibilities to ‘blend’ the learning to ensure we are well situated to teach in a contemporary learning environment in the Senior School and thus ensure our students are fully prepared for the 21st century learning that will be required by employers as our students graduate in a modern, ever-changing world.