After assessing technology use at Antonine College, school leadership saw an opportunity to implement changes and improve staff & student use of digital technologies.
A renewed investment across the technology spectrum, from Professional Learning to infrastructure, has empowered staff to design, introduce and share authentic learning activities aligned to curriculum.
Antonine College is a Maronite Catholic co-educational, Foundation to Year 12 school catering to 830 students who mostly come from a language background other than English. It is dedicated to providing quality, innovative education in a friendly and caring environment.
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In mid-2017, Antonine College embarked on a whole school learning experience transformation. As Deputy Principal for School Improvement and Professional Learning, Joanne Bacash identified a gap between Antonine’s drive to provide innovative education and its capacity to knowledgeably set the technology direction for the school.
The success of technology adoption is in the program approach and design. It must provide transferable skills, regardless of current or emerging technology. “Student created, quality content is what it’s all about. The goal was to promote resilient problem solving, creativity and imagination for a life long love of enquiry,” Joanne says.
Antonine brought in CompNow’s Professional Learning consultants to set out to build understanding and capacity across its teacher cohort. It was vital to give credibility to the use of iPads and create authentic, meaningful educational outcomes.
As part of its professionalism and commitment to innovative education, Antonine College committed to an intensive 14 month Professional Learning (PL) program with CompNow. Its consultants worked on site in a strategic planning role with the school’s leadership and various stakeholders from its primary and secondary campuses.
In undertaking the needs analysis for Antonine’s PL model, CompNow’s conversations with staff identified inconsistencies in their training and ability levels and the uneven leveraging of technology between year levels and subject areas.
In tapping into the extensive education sector expertise of CompNow and Apple, it became clear where the school’s infrastructure had fallen behind and the direction needed to improve technology driven pedagogy.
CompNow developed a best fit program for Antonine and each teacher. It brought to the table not only the ability to train staff in operational skillsets but also teaching practice – supporting them to recognise the potential of available technologies. It designed a series of workshops covering general technology and operational upskilling as well as specific training in the effective use of iPads, Microsoft Office 365, OneNote and OneDrive in the classroom.
The PL program was conducted in tandem with a school-wide infrastructure update which also had a profoundly positive impact on staff proficiency development. Part of the 1to1 device rollout was to expose teachers to an immersive iPad learning experience.
Having worked with CompNow to distil a list of Apps that help create and improve student outcomes, teachers are now empowered rather than challenged by emerging technologies.
Teachers have the skills to consider the ‘why’ of using technology and to make choices about how it can foster higher learning skills and quality student created content.
“We’ve taken the fear away – the introduction of new Apps doesn’t mean the end of text books or that they need to know everything at once. We’re building their interest and capacity. There’s now a consistency of belief in what can be accomplished,” Joanne says.
In a Primary class, students have been introduced to iPad PicCollage to animate a story they were reading in class. OneNote has made it so easy for VCE teachers to provide rapid feedback and for students to have everything organised, in one place in the lead up to exams. And Years 7 and 8 are using iPads as part of the school’s student wellbeing practices. Moderated by staff, student Shoutout contributions give positive support to each other and highlight the great things students do around the school. “When students post ideas and share stories, learning is much more effective than us putting things out,” Joanne says.
“Tapping into the CompNow experts has made such a difference. This recent work has built strategy and integrity into our technology direction and aligned it to curriculum outcomes. We are better able to assess the value of what’s out there. Our staff have the confidence to try new ideas, and are sharing knowledge and in-class experiences,” Joanne says.