Marsden Collegiate School
In the second excerpt from
her Winston Churchill Millennium Fellowship report, Gillian Eadie
comments on several innovations which are helping to ensure that
ICT is used effectively to support learning...
Teachers in schools using
ICT effectively, soon find that much of the repetitive 'busy work'
and unreal, contrived exercises are no longer relevant in an environment
that allows students direct access to engaging information sources.
This realisation has led
to new approaches being made to curriculum content and the encouragement
of information literacy skills development. Students are being
encouraged to use higher order thinking and given strategies for
powerful learning in this new environment.
Using Higher Order Thinking
At John Paul College,
Queensland, strong school policies regarding the integration of
IT and research in the curriculum have seen a greater emphasis
on digital presentations. These have lifted senior scores and
oral communication considerably. The 'hunting and gathering' side
of research has been closed down, resulting in much more analysis
and synthesis of information. All assignments Years 8 - 12 have
to be submitted to the Head of Science who checks resources available,
higher order thinking content and ICT content prior to approval
being given. She thus has a global picture of what students are
studying; works closely with academic staff and Director of IT.
Redesigning activities for digital form has been challenging and
began with Social Sciences.
Because of IT projects in
junior schools, the exercise book size has been changed to A4
with lines on one page and plain on next, printed especially for
JPC. This allows the seamless integration of handwriting and desktop
Revising course materials
for on-line learning
For publication on the school
Intranet, what is being taught has been reviewed and rewritten
by staff. Students can access the curriculum and find sections
entitled: Essential learning: Basic ideas, Themes, Assessments
(self-assessments, major assessments), Concepts and Concept Checks,
What is being taught, Required Assignments, Useful resources,
Key information and ideas, Things to follow up and Extension.
Providing Structures for
Learning with ICT
At Worth School, Sussex,
a strategy sheet is now used by all students for longer assignments
with the aim being to structure students' thinking and encourage
them to evaluate the best methods for approaching a task (which
may not involve computer use). Marco Torres requires teachers
to complete planning guides prior to using learning technologies.
They match their tasks with ICT and curriculum objectives and
must include 'HOTS' components in their tasks.
Promoting Powerful Learning
Staff members at Glen Waverley
Secondary College, Bendigo, use computer technology to support
Teaching and Learning. There has been an unequivocal focus on
theories of learning, brain research, powerful learning, learning
to learn, metacognition, visual organisers and other thinking
Principal Darrell Fraser's
keynote entitled ‘Thinking and Learning Skills: the last Hurrah?’
explored the essential ingredients in creating and sustaining
a learning community based on defining the Thinking Curriculum.
The school mission is Developing Autonomous Learners. Do we teach
them to be autonomous? What do they need to be able to do? What
is powerful learning and how do we enable students to develop
the skills to be powerful in learning? How do we promote it?
To promote a thoughtful classroom,
teachers have been trained in strategies to foster metacognitive
processes, to learn and apply critical thinking skills and use
the language of metacognition. GWSC ran a Learning to Learn programme
for Years 7 to 9 with a Teaching and Learning coach supporting
staff to make the changes needed to focus more clearly on thoughtful
classrooms. There is school wide use of thinking ‘scaffolds’ and
organisers. For one semester, each class was withdrawn for 20
lessons (100 minutes a week), the aim being to move from Thinking
Skills to Thinking Classrooms. All staff also went
through the course so that there was a shared understanding of
what the terms meant, e.g. metacognition, co-operative learning.