“If we’re to help improve the education, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of our young indigenous people, we have to work hard and fast,” says Pam Hodges, Business & Finance Manager at Clontarf Aboriginal College.
“Any technology we introduce has to be easy to use and engaging. If it’s too complex to log in or get to their work, if there are any roadblocks, students will turn away. They’ve often come from under resourced schools, where outdated equipment lies unusable in the corner. We have to give them a much better experience.”
Clontarf has a student base of 170, but can have upwards of 300 cycle through a school year – each arriving with vastly differing levels of literacy, including their understanding of technology. This makes device allocation problematic and limits what digital tools can be used in lessons.
The College’s devices are largely Windows laptops, chosen for that environment’s domination in the workplace, as a lead in for students. But most students arrive at secondary school having used Apple devices through their early learning and in community.
Maria Valli, Literacy Coordinator at Clontarf Aboriginal College, says: “I’m passionate about doing whatever we can to engage our students, to smooth the transition from primary to secondary, and into the workforce. Kids come to us having never opened a laptop – so they hit an immediate brickwall. It makes sense for our students to have the iPads they’re familiar with in the early years of high school, and transition to real world workforce laptops as they move into their final years with us.”