Donna Smith teacher of English, Maths, and Social Studies at St Hilda's Collegiate, describes how the 1-1 laptop programme, along with using e-portfolios, gives her flexibility to be more responsive to the learning needs of the students, and enhances her ability to support student learning.
I teach English, Maths, and Social Studies in a variety of different contexts. My Year 9 class is an integrated Social Studies class. Our Year 9 and 10’s are involved in a 1-1 laptop scheme. So within that integrated studies class, every girl has their own laptop that we use extensively in class.
In terms of planning for my lessons or planning my unit. I think it gives you the flexibility to be a little bit more responsive to the needs of the girls or to the wishes of the girls. What it has meant is that you can have, you have an overarching goal in mind, but then you have to step back a little bit, let the students make some decisions and then support them with the decisions that they’ve made meaning that based on where they’d like to take it you can do that because we’ve got the technology to support it.
In my mathematics class we have run a blog so the girls have their own journal and each week they submit their ideas, thoughts, feelings about the class for the week. And I can respond to them, in that way it takes away the scary, “having to talk to the teacher about something I’m not comfortable with,” and they quite happily, quite openly communicate what they would like to be doing, what they are doing, what they’re enjoying, what they’re not enjoying with me which enables me to possibly revise what I’m doing because its not quite hitting the mark and make sure that I’m always reviewing the teaching practice that’s going on in my class.
We use e-portfolios quite extensively. I’ve used them in quite a lot of forums. One is that it’s a fantastic file system for the girls to know where to place their work so that I can have access to it at any time. They can have access. Gone are the days where I have to collect in 26 books and drag them back home each night. I take a laptop; I have access to their work that way. With the use of the e-portfolios its given me the ability to feedforward more formally progressively through a task, where possibly you might see it because you are wandering around the class but it gives me the ability to sort of sit down in space and look at what they’ve done and give them that more constructive feedforward you know for that next period that we’re going to be working in.
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