Our Lady’s Assumption School

PD focuses on creating rather than consuming content at Our Lady’s Assumption School

CompNow’s highly qualified training team was commissioned by Our Lady’s Assumption School to build teacher expertise around a new iPad fleet being introduced to junior students. Through remote consultation and onsite support, the program untethered staff from their boards at the front of the class, promoting confidence and creativity.

Our Lady’s Assumption is a co-educational primary school in the northern suburbs of Perth. Following the school’s motto of ‘Imagine, Believe, Succeed’, its team of 40 dynamic teachers seek to foster the growth of all students, in all areas.

The Challenge

OLA’s training program was to form a knowledge sharing base around the rollout of new iPads in the school. It was to introduce the methodologies for flexible learning environments where teachers would experience technology as an explicit tool for learning.

The Solution

A bespoke one-term pilot condensed a full year’s PD/PL – from strategy building with the leadership team through the online and on-site delivery and to ongoing support.

The Benefits
  • Education backgrounds of CompNow trainers – authenticity, credibility to deliver PL to teachers
  • Time invested with leadership to define the bespoke program
  • Flexible blend of face to face and remote delivery
  • 1:1 teacher training plus in-class assistance and online support
  • New culture of knowledge sharing across the teaching team

We wanted our teachers to be curious, to ask for more. Compnow excels at designing bespoke PL programs that create excitement about innovation. Our teachers now have the confidence to keep interrogating how they’re using technology in learning and teaching.

Mike Morris Assistant Principal
Our Lady’s Assumption School


The Challenge

Mike Morris had had an earlier career in IT and, specifically, IT training. In his role as Assistant Principal at Our Lady’s Assumption School (OLA), Mike knew what he was looking for as he introduced technology-focussed PL to his colleagues.

At OLA, technology adoption goes beyond a substitution for pen and paper. The training focus was to be on fostering inquiry – in both the teaching and student cohort.

“Only if teachers know what’s possible can they design sessions that maximise the value of technology in learning,” Mike says. “We wanted to unleash the potential, to build our students’ comprehension and problem solving skills. OLA is always very purposeful in our introduction of devices. They’re not loaded with games; they’re tools not rewards.”

OLA embarked on a project in the junior school where new iPads were introduced to students in a 1:2 rollout and a linked pilot PD exercise was to optimise the new environment.

Mike wanted the program to be designed and delivered by “an outside influence – an expert, external trainer to help set our leadership’s commitment to and expectations of PD/PL”. The training was to “build integrity around the device as an explicit tool for learning and to support teachers in the ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ phase. It was to introduce the methodologies for flexible learning environments where teachers are untethered from a board at the front of the class and student work is projected to a screen and discussed in real time. With TVs, SurfaceBooks and iPads in their classrooms, we wanted our teachers to be confident, curious, to ask for more”.

The Solution

CompNow’s program proposal, from bespoke design to individualised delivery, ticked all of OLA’s boxes. As a proving exercise, “CompNow suggested a taste test: a sprint through what you could cover across a full year, condensed into one term,” Mike says.

The project model would combine both online and face to face elements, including CompNow consultants working side by side with teachers in the classroom. “That’s the beauty of using MS Teams. We could do the consultative phase so efficiently. Then have the training consultant come to us for the individual sessions with the teachers taking part in the pilot,” he says.

Step one was to work with OLA’s leadership team to determine exactly what the school wanted to achieve and identify the teachers who would be asked to participate in the pilot. This strategy, encompassing both organisation-wide and specific teacher needs, would build competency and promote sustainable change.

The leadership meetings were run remotely between CompNow’s lead in Adelaide and Mike and OLA’s executive in Perth. The structure looked at the ‘why?’, identified the PL learning intentions, how the training was filtered through school and what the results would it look like in two to three years.

The pilot program teachers met individually with CompNow people, both remotely and face to face, to drill down into each person’s specific interests and skill gaps, and what they wanted to apply in the classroom. “This was a vital step, otherwise we were wasting our money. With teacher input, they own it. That way our school’s expertise, our knowledge base can get traction.”

CompNow’s course design uses the SAMR Model as a framework – Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition categorises the integration of technology in the classroom. It helps teachers interrogate how they’re using technology and to have confidence in that use.

The training sessions provided a technology-use foundation plus the customised elements. The idea being to create excitement about innovation and reduce trepidation about change.

CompNow consultants provided three classroom visits and online assistance at anytime during the term for each of the teachers. Tasks were set for three fortnightly sessions, with the teachers committing to trying and working on skill sets in the interim.

“CompNow’s support followed the ‘I do, we do, you do’ mantra. Our teachers took the lessons learnt in the PD sessions and, with the confidence of having CompNow’s consultant in the classroom, introduced the new ideas to their students.

“All our teachers brought a willingness to take a look at what’s possible with digital technology in learning and teaching. The confidence building communication, plus CompNow’s physical presence, kept everyone focussed,” Mike says.

A concern of Mike’s was knowledge sharing so that skills use would not stop with the person who received the training. “I needed to know that someone else could step into their shoes, we needed redundancy. Each person was to train a partner teacher and keep promoting the productive use of our tech.”

The Benefits

“Our teachers were very comfortable with CompNow’s consultants. That was a big deal for me. There’s pressure on teachers, they’re expected to know everything. To relax enough to admit a vulnerability or lack of understanding, is a big thing. Because the CompNow people come from education backgrounds, they provide a safe zone. They aren’t just techies who know how to use apps. Their team gets what happens in the classroom, they know what teachers are trying to produce. They talk as colleagues and that’s fantastic,” Mike says.

Throughout the term, both CompNow and the pilot teachers reported back to Mike. “From my point of view, I could talk with everyone and monitor Teams to keep an eye on the quality of the collaboration. I could keep tabs on our teachers’ commitments to produce items, to do their homework, before each session. I could watch our progress along the way rather than just reflecting at the end. That was very helpful in guiding how we go forward”.

Teachers teaching each other has blossomed OLA: “Seeing Teams chats and listening to conversations in the staffroom there’s growing interest in what my colleagues are learning and experimenting with. They’re sharing ideas and running their own informal sessions. And I run a weekly Coffee with a Geek session where we look at things like embedding forms for tests and new apps,” he says.

From this inspiring kick off project with CompNow, “our teachers are more confident, more curious and asking for more PD. It’s not just what was taught during the training but the relationship formed that has created the traction. Our teachers are wanting more,” Mike says. And he sees that, as technology needs and dependence continues to increase, “this type of targeted PD is essential to schools at all levels”. OLA is currently working with CompNow to expand to the design of a full PL program.

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