G8 Education

Exploring the digital world with young children at G8 Education.

In an increasingly digital world, G8 Education understands its part in helping guide children’s foundational digital literacies and online citizenship in appropriate, play-based ways. In conjunction with Compnow and Apple, G8 has developed the confidence and capability of its early childhood teachers in using the latest technologies to achieve this.

G8 Education (ASX:GEM) is a leading early learning provider, operating 430 centres across 21 brands. Its 10,000-strong team nurtures the learning, development and wellbeing of 50,000 children aged from six weeks to six years.

Watch the full case study on G8 Education below:

The Challenge

G8 sees teaching digital citizenship as a responsibility for its early learning centres across Australia. The challenge was to introduce devices and age appropriate apps, and ensure its confident adoption.

The Solution

Deployment of iPads for nationwide deployment. Centrally managed device fleet. Training to empower team to use devices in pedagogically appropriate ways.

The benefits
  • Compnow’s accredited trainers critical to program’s success
  • G8’s DLP program aligned with Early Years Learning Frameworks
  • Team is confident in using technology as a classroom, communication, and administrative tool
  • Achieved the digital citizenship goals of the program
  • Communications ensured continuity of program from the centres to the home

We’ve been amazed by the Digital Literacies@Play program. It’s been transformative, not only for the children’s thinking and learning but their families and our teams.

Ali Evans General Manager of Early Learning and Education
G8 Education


The Challenge

In introducing programs to support children’s early learning development and wellbeing, G8’s strategy focuses on innovation in a process of continuous improvement. It investigates how best to enhance young children’s digital literacies and guide them as good online citizens through supported development of self-regulation and executive function.

In embarking on the Digital Literacies@Play (DLP) program, Dr Mia Christensen, Education Innovation and Partnerships Manager at G8 says our children are now born into a digital world.

“It’s important we meet that head-on and equip them to be able to engage with it,” she says.

“DLP has three goals: to use technologies in pedagogically appropriate, open-ended, play-based ways; to help teachers and educators be confident digital users; and to guide young children to be digital citizens,
further supporting updates to our Early Years Learning Frameworks.”

Ali Evans, General Manager of Early Learning and Education at G8, agrees. “As thought leaders in education, we use technology as we would brushes and easels for painting. It’s about young children understanding how to use technology as a tool and not be consumed by it. We build children’s curiosity, creativity and collaboration skills vital for digital safety and digital citizenship in real life, and for a well-prepared transition to school,” she says.

“We couldn’t succeed without our centres’ families also being made aware of the appropriate use of technology with young children.”

“For the DLP program, we chose technology partners who had a proven track record in education, could both advise on the efficient deployment of technologies into G8’s centres across Australia, and deliver applicable training to ensure confident adoption.”

“Early childhood teaching is very rewarding work, and we have to ensure our learning environments are as engaging as possible.”

Professional development is critical to G8’s success.

“Our team members would need to be confident in their capabilities to support young children in the use of digital devices — as well as the array of apps and tools,” Mia says.

“For us that means in pedagogically appropriate ways — in intentional, play-based ways. Teachers also needed to be reassured that they don’t have to be the experts, that they can continue learning with the children.”


The Solution

The DLP program was to introduce iPads into the centres selected by G8, as the children, their families and teachers were familiar with these ubiquitous, intuitive devices.

For this program to be effective and successful, it was vital to partner with high calibre organisations.

“Compnow came highly recommended from other providers across Australia and we have the direct support of Apple,” Mia says.

To ensure the least disruption to G8’s centres and confidently adopt the new technology, Compnow’s technical, training and logistics expertise came through. The
rollout provided each teacher with four fully configured iPads, protected by durable cases for robust use by young children, both indoors and outside.

Mia says, “Compnow worked in a coordinated and thoughtful manner. The technicians who came into our centres understood what to expect and responded so positively to our team and children.”

Apple supported G8 with additional training and deployment services to enhance the uptake of devices in its centres.

As Authorised Apple Education Specialists, Compnow utilised accredited APLS Consultant Terese Griffiths to train G8’s team, which was critical for the program’s success.

More specifically, the DLP program helped teachers implement updates to the Early Years Learning Frameworks, including developing children as digital citizens.

Compnow created a program introduction for the team and then developed bespoke sessions for each teacher from the perspective of their technology starting point and their goals.

“The course allowed for an initial introduction to be the same for everyone. However, our coaching conversations met each teacher where they were and where their children were, and helped us understand their interests, what they already know, as well as their areas for improvement,” Terese says.

Early Childhood Teacher Sasha Hill-Head was one of the team members who benefited from having Compnow on hand to walk her through “the iPads, the apps and amazing features like clips, slomo, iMovie and ChatterPix.”

“I’ve learnt so much from the children too,” she says.

“It’s [the DLP program] so free-flowing and very child-led. It just weaves into our day very organically. I’ve seen children with not much confidence come completely out of their shell. And it’s done in a very sociable way as they work together in groups, sharing the iPads.”

Sasha says communications with parents is now more streamlined as she works from the iPads rather than paper. All comments by children, their work and Sasha’s reports are recorded in real time and easily uploaded to families.

“I’m more confident in my professional self and in providing more engaging learning experiences for the children,” she says.


The Benefits

Mia says device use in the early childhood context is not only about using the iPads by themselves.

“What we are trying to achieve is children using them collaboratively with one another, their educators and families,” she says.

Co-designing G8’s Digital Literacies@Play (DLP) program with Compnow and Apple “has brought out the best in terms of creativity and partnership support,” Ali adds.

Compnow’s Apple Professional Learning Specialists are “nothing short of exceptional,” Mia says.

“Their work alongside our educators, has been crucial to the ongoing success of the program. The trainers are inspirational for our people in helping them explore the devices, the apps and the camera to really enhance children’s thinking and learning. It’s wonderful to see our teachers being so open to ideas, to experimenting.”

Ali says the DLP program has helped improve children’s language skills and self-confidence.

“We’ve also achieved the digital citizenship goals of the program with children seeking and granting permission before taking photos or movies of one another, which showcases their learning and thinking,” she says.

“It’s given them agency and choice. And we have seen great levels of continuity from the centre to the home.”

“It has also been very interesting for our teachers, families and other team members as an important wake up call to be aware of our behaviour in the digital space,” Mia adds.

“There is still hesitation in our sector about the use of digital technologies and understanding the associated risks. We’ve found, through this co-designed project with Compnow and Apple, the rewards in being able to prepare our children to engage appropriately with different devices, and how to be safe and communicate effectively online.”

For more on G8 Education, head to g8education.edu.au.


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