Mark Quigley, Deputy Principal, and Tony Zaloum, Director ICT Projects, explain their vision for e-learning as they embark on implementing BYOD for Year 9 students at Orewa College.
Mark Quigley, Deputy Principal, Orewa College:
The world and the Internet has opened things up to what is possible in teaching and learning, and what is possible for our learners.
Tony Zaloum, Director ICT Projects, Orewa College:
So our, our vision, for e-learning at school here, is that the students will all have access to ICT to enhance their learning.
The demand has, for use of IT facilities has been climbing and increasing, and we’ve got to the point where we just can’t afford to keep supplying more and more devices that give students the ability to connect to the internet, and to work digitally.
So I guess the genesis of three things have happened in the last year for us, or two years for us ultra fast broadband coming into the school, a reliable enterprised ability wireless network, and affordable one to one devices. Those three things have all meant that we’ve started to look at e-learning and what we could possibly do now in a different light. And we’ve always said that students can bring their own one-to-one device to school. But the take up of students bringing those hasn’t been huge and when you sort of ask teachers and find out what’s going on well, teachers are saying I can’t change my pedagogy and use, use a real true e-learning approach and learn even more because not all students in my class bring a lap top, or a net book, or anything to school. And when you ask the students, “Why don’t you bring a laptop or something to school?” they say, “Well why would we? The teachers are still doing the same old stuff that they’ve always done.”
So now we’re at the point where we’ve made a big call, we’re saying Year 9s must have a one-to-one device next year.
We can’t just tell people to bring a machine to school and not change what we’re doing.
But we’re talking about not only shifting the way staff teach, we’re also shifting the way that kids learn. So what we’d expect to be able to happen is that kids will be driving their own learning to a large extent, with a lot of guidance from the teacher, and as a consequence of that being able to have a fair amount of differentiation in the classroom, rather than a teacher essentially teaching to the middle of the room, and then trying to help out the high flyers and the ones that need more support. So that is pretty much the essence of what we’re trying to do.
Now we’ve got certain pressures from above, NCEA level where certain content has to be done and of course certain content has to be done but what we’re looking at, we’ll still have units that are half a term long, sort of thing, but the shape of these units will be certain amount of work that the kids must get done but then there’ll be a certain amount that the kids can sort of follow their own interests within a very tight framework that the teacher sets up so the kids are able to determine to an extent what they learn. They can relate it to their own life. It becomes a whole lot more real and authentic for them, there’ll be, because of that, we’ll naturally get better engagement and more connectedness to their learning.