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”.