Sacred Heart School is a faith community which recognises the importance of respect for God, self, others and all aspects of the environment. The school is fortunate to have a Principal and IT coordinator who are keenly interested in effectively using technology to improve engagement, attendance and providing opportunities for students, staff and the broader Beagle Bay community.
Sacred Heart School is located in the remote Aboriginal community of Beagle Bay, 120 km north of Broome. The traditional custodians are the Nyul Nyul people. The school has a long history and strong connection to the community. At present they teach approximately 100 students enrolled from K-9 and an AFaFE program for parents and 0-3 year olds. The teaching staff comprises of nine teachers, and seven Aboriginal teaching assistants (ATAs).
Over the past four years the school has built up a range of IT resources. All classrooms have a desktop computer connected to an Apple TV and a bank of iPads for student use, and all teachers and ATAs have an iPad for work purposes. The school has a computer lab with 20 Chrome box desktop computers, and the school’s Wi-Fi has reliable connectivity around the school. In the community most families have at least one mobile phone, some have a desktop computer but very few have access to the internet. Teacher houses do not have landline phones with teachers using their mobile phones instead.
The computers are used for research, accessing online programs such as Reading Eggs, Mathletics etc. to support student learning and allow teacher and student access to Office 365. The school purchased eight HP laptops to run a computer club for interested students including basic coding and Minecraft Education Edition, and received a set of micro:bit devices as the only K-12 system in Australia in the micro:bit Foundation’s efforts here.
School staff have consistently sought support and advice on how to move forward along several tangents: hardware, strategic direction in school and the community. They are proactively thinking about what can be done to provide greater access to IT within the community to meet the future needs of the community; how the school, as both a supporter and driver of change, can support the community to build capacity in its people with IT; how IT can be used to transform education at our school so that we increase attendance, engagement and learning of our students; and PL that is offering best practice.
The data analytics tools available to school leaders show holistic student performance and future trends including possible risks—a student-focused benefit made possible in the LEADing Lights unified data platform. As an example, student attendance will be monitored dynamically for each child, families and the school, sending notifications about attendance dips or patterns needing attention from school staff, and staff will see patterns over time that enable them to have early indication where they can provide guidance and supports. The same capabilities will be included for academics, with notification and recommendations about learning content for each child, supporting each teacher with the Accountability element of the LEAD strategy.
With LEADing Lights, the leadership team has encouraged staff to migrate over to O365 and all staff are now using their CEWA email accounts. They were also early to request that all students migrate across and this has been achieved. The school has decided to make CEWA’s Virtual School Network (ViSN) online ATAR courses available for students so they have equitable access to these important opportunities.
Kearnan College is a K-12 school enrolling 460 children in Manjimup. Its goal is to “prepare young people for the world of the future” which includes extending learning beyond the classroom by connecting to local resources and authentic audiences.
Soon after LEADing Lights became available, Kearnan’s leaders and teachers jumped onboard to begin learning the tools and resources they could use with students to extend learning and make it more authentic. The school uses Teams to collaborate as a staff, and teachers have transformed their digital pedagogy with OneNote, saying it has saved them time and connected them more closely as a community of practice and opening student learning to parent view. The School’s Digital Transformation Lead Educator (DTLE) led the way for his colleagues after learning with his DTLE network across the state.
Kearnan College students are greatly enjoying the transition to 365. Being a regional school, the collaborative nature of the platform has helped enrich staff and student learning. (Jason Meynell, Principal)
To provide students with a richer learning experience, the school’s leaders have re-evaluated the computing devices used by students, and have selected a computer purpose-built for learning with digital ink, in consultation with the LEADing Lights team at one of the regional Leading a Digital School events. The school’s IT team and partners have fewer on-premise servers and applications to manage, freeing them to offer needed classroom support for continuity of learning, and releasing budget for academic enhancements. LEADing Lights has also negotiated far faster Telstra internet connectivity to the school at reduced cost, enabling the global learning experiences teachers are planning. Improvements in connectivity will continue.
As a regional K-12 school, Kearnan seeks to offer a range of university and career preparation programs for secondary students. A full menu of ATAR courses is only possible next year because the school has joined CEWA’s Virtual School Network (ViSN) as the provider of the online Geography course in exchange for 15 student places in any of the 10 ViSN courses now accepting enrolment for 2018. As of today, all 10 courses have students registered and ready for a strong teacher-facilitated locally-mentored learning experience.
Kearnan’s VET offerings include digital media and ICT programs, which are now expanded to include professional IT certification programs provided to CEWA schools through the Imagine Academy. And students needing to address the new language requirements have participated in the Skype Italian lessons offered to all CEWA regional primary schools through a new partnership with Italo. These starting points have progressed the school in living the LEAD strategy with a focus on engagement.
Teachers are learning differently, too. They are creating, sharing and finding classroom resources in the Claned digital content system, and connecting instantly with colleagues in Teams as well as earning badges in the Microsoft Educator Community.
Irene McCormack Catholic College (IMCC) is a co-educational secondary college in Butler accommodating approximately 920 students from Years 7 to 12. The College offers excellent learning opportunities that reflect a holistic education. Inspired by Irene McCormack, students are challenged to meet their spiritual, religious, intellectual, physical, cultural, social and emotional potential.
After presentations by Aidan McCarthy and other Leading Lights team members, staff are aware of the need to further develop pedagogy and technology at the College, the College Leadership and Academic Council made the decision to engage with trialing Leading Lights applications. All staff have migrated to Office 365 and are using their CEWA credentials to access resources.
To support staff and their learning, the College undertook an audit of staff use and perceptions of technology. This formed the basis for selecting the tools staff needed to support their own learning along with their teaching processes and practices. As a result, the College uses Teams to collaborate at a department and executive level. Teams offers a process of collaboration and communication that has not only been harnessed at a local level but has enabled staff to share ideas and resources at a recent Regional Planning day where three secondary Catholic schools came together for professional development. In the year ahead, staff and leaders will have the globally-validated and research-based tools of the Technology Integration Matrix to guide and gauge professional learning to integrate technology for meaningful learning.
IMCC is a dual-device platform-friendly school. This means that teachers can access Microsoft Office 365 from any device. These tools allow for greater flexibility in planning because they provide access to web-enabled folders, calendars and email allowing staff to work from anywhere at a time
The College also has a robust plan and process for density and connectivity in the classroom. This means that teachers and students can confidently rely on accessing and using the technological resources they need to enhance the teaching and learning process.
IMCC is continuing its work with Leading Lights. The initiative enables many and varied meaningful learning opportunities for teachers, students and parents to develop collaborative, communicative and creative skills that will equip students for the future.