Integrating ICT and Upskilling Teachers
Every year information communication technology (ICT) is becoming more ubiquitous in how we connect, work, and play. Equipping our teachers and students with the tools and training to utilise technology in lesson planning, lesson delivery, and student projects has been a major focus for our Innovation Focus Team.
About the Innovation Focus Team
The Innovation Team is one of the Focus Teams at Larrakeyah Primary. Focus Teams are groups of teachers working together on a singular area of focus. There are four Focus Teams – Innovation, Literacy, Numeracy, and Data.
The goal of the Focus Teams is to identify areas of improvement within each area of focus, and develop strategies, programs, and initiatives to produce a measurable change.
In their 2021 Action Plan, the Innovation Team outlined professional development in technology as a primary goal.
Through a range of professional development sessions the Innovation Team has provided upskilling pathways for our teachers. The goal is to help them feel confident integrating a range of ICT into their classrooms and student projects.
New Tools and Technology at Larrakeyah Primary
Over the past year, professional development sessions have been provided on a number of exciting new technologies. Such as:
- Virtual Reality (VR): utilising VR headsets to navigate digital environments.
- Toontastic: a suite of software to turn brilliant ideas into 3D animations.
- Canva: digital design and publishing software. Our Year 6 students used Canva to create their yearbook.
- Plickers: a formative assessment tool that allows students to receive instant feedback on activities.
- iMovie: video editing software our students are using right now to record assemblies and provide remote access for parents to view in response to the real-world problem of COVID-19.
- Thinglink: a digital visualisation tool that allows our teachers to explain complex ideas by making them visible and interactive.
Interactive Whiteboards in each classroom: our school recently invested in bringing new interactive whiteboards into the classroom to aid in sharing, recording, and distributing ideas and media everyday.
Technology in the Classroom: Year 5 and Micro:Bit
Over Term 1 this year, our Year 5 students are learning to use Micro:Bit: a pocket-sized computer that introduces students to a range of concepts such as hardware, software, algorithms and programming.
Through a range of projects students use visual coding blocks to program the Micro:Bit to perform real-world tasks using the processor, buttons, LEDs and internal and external sensors.
Our Year 5 students are learning how to apply Micro:Bits to measure the moisture levels of soil in the school garden beds. This provides the opportunity to not only learn concepts and terms but to apply them in the context of solving a problem.
Above: students construct and test the sensor to get initial insight into how it works. Their next steps is to analyse the programming.
Beyond the technical skills learned students are also asked to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and suggest modifications and improvements.
Digital Technologies in Curriculum
Upskilling teachers and staff enables them to confidently address the requirements of both the Australian and Cambridge curriculums.
The Australian Curriculum focuses on developing student knowledge and understanding of digital systems and data. It also addresses processes and skills in how digital solutions are designed, implemented and managed.
The Cambridge Digital Literacy requirements look at tools and content creation, safety and wellbeing, and developing a wider understanding of the digital world.
The context is clear. The ability to understand, create, and manage information and technology will be increasingly important going forward.
In our mission to instill life-long learning through high standards, high expectations and high achievement it is our priority to equip teachers with the ability and confidence to foster ICT skills in our students.
Innovations in 2022 and beyond
The Innovation Team is now looking at ways to support teachers to implement Inquiry Based Learning programs. Inquiry based learning centers on posing a problem or scenario and facilitating students to research, develop, and test solutions.
Upskilling our teachers to confidently teach and use ICT in the classroom gives students practical experience in applying technology as a tool to support critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.