Our girls and boys from Junior Kindergarten to Year 4 will continue to have access to iPads and laptops when needed.
This year has seen unprecedented change in the education sector and we have given substantial thought into how we can best take advantage of the significant learnings we gained from the pandemic to incorporate technology into our current teaching and learning. A review of the School’s ICT strategy has been on the School’s Strategic agenda since 2019. Over the last 18 months, a thorough review of the School’s teaching and learning needs has been conducted, with the events of 2020 being the catalyst for change. We do not want our students’ learning to be compromised in any way, as we navigate through a rapidly changing educational landscape.
Next year, our Student Assigned Learning Device model, will enable our girls to be better equipped to learn anywhere and at any time. This model also allows the School to build on what we already do well, be more creative with our teaching spaces and review their purpose through a multi-functional lens while future proofing ourselves. We will have a strong process in place to support this and deliver on our strategic vision for long term change to influence better learning outcomes for the future.
Our Dean of Pedagogy and Innovation, Westley Field, is ensuring that our teachers develop best-practice blended learning teaching methodologies. They will be able to draw upon these skills and strategies to maximise learning outcomes, with our new devices acting as a ‘critical friend’ in that process. Westley has been working with our teachers throughout the year to develop a leading pedagogy model, called SHELLS (St Hilda’s Enhanced Life-long Learning Strategy) which will be shared with parents soon. Our new ICT model is vital for SHELLS success.
To achieve effective integration of technology we need to have our students understand how to select the right tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyse and synthesise the information, and present it professionally. These are competencies that will take them into the global workforce and give them the critical thinking skills they need for their future.
A priority, as we transition to this new model, will be the focus on the students’ learning experience. We want our girls to use their devices, when appropriate, responsibly and respectfully to help them achieve their best academic outcomes as 21st century learners. This includes enhancing their communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills. We are currently drafting ‘A Responsible Use Agreement’ and Student Guidelines around the use of devices to be shared with our students in Term 1.
This change is not without substantial investment. Over the next three months we will be financing additional devices, upgrading wireless networks and boosting resources in our ICT Department to manage this essential change. In alignment with all like independent schools, an ICT levy will be introduced in 2021.
We will be supporting the roll-out of Student Assigned Learning Devices with information sessions and FAQs for students and parents in early 2021.