“Our involvement in this innovative program has provided direction for digital learning and an impetus to continue to explore a range of platforms and options to further develop our capacity as effective users of digital technology.”
The challenge for Underdale was to move from the emergent phase to one that is transformative in its practice related to ICT use. Underdale was looking for significant cultural change within the school in order to become a leading school in the area of technology and student learning. The vision for ICT use needed to match the vision for whole school which was “To provide a personalised learning experience that engages students in a challenging and supportive environment to strive for excellence and bright futures.”
The frequent reports of technical difficulties and malfunctions generated a great deal of frustration as well as the reluctance to continue to use failing technologies was a major concern. The need for a whole school strategy for IT was needed more than ever. Therefore it was vital to involve all staff in order to provide an environment that could enable new models of learning, encourage student participation and assist structural, cultural and infrastructural changes that would best support the whole school to become transformative in ICT use.
New Era introduced the Job Embedded Professional Development Model in order to address these issues. As a part of the program, the following was undertaken:
Creation of a vision statement and roadmap for ICT - An audit was carried out leading to the creation of a road map for learning and teaching and infrastructure and leadership models. These were created by engaging with the school’s leadership team.
Implementation of a blogging program - Blogging is seen as one of the key tools that encourage contemporary learning environment. A Focus Learning Group assessed how blogging can be best used within the culture of the school and how it can provide increased engagement for the students.
Move to be a trial school using Microsoft 365 - This decision was a result of an immense amount of research, testing and trialling of other products (including GAFE) and came subsequently after high-level consultations with DEECD. This trial displays strategic and forward thinking decision allowing for the pedagogical advantages provided by a cloud based system.
Creation of a ‘Digital Technologies Learning and Teaching Committee’ - This team will bridge the gap between infrastructure, learning and teaching and encourage rapid development of the internal capacity to provide leadership, professional development and future directions in the area of ICT.
Creation of the role of coach - A nominated teacher to drive as a mentor within the school focussed on digital pedagogy.
An audit at the start and at completion of the program - Audits provided comparable metrics demonstrating the significance in the move to achieve in the ICT understanding and development.
Integration of a managed services agreement - This agreement enabled Underdale High School to focus more on the core competencies and New Era to manage their IT needs.