Microsoft has today announced that Campbelltown Performing Arts High School in New South Wales has been globally recognised by Microsoft as one of the world’s most advanced users of technology in the classroom. The school will represent Australia in Microsoft’s 2013 Worldwide Partners in Learning Schools Program, an initiative to help teachers and school leaders use technology in teaching and learning more effectively, and is one of 60 Pathfinder Schools worldwide.

As a Microsoft Pathfinder School, Campbelltown Performing Arts High School (CPAHS) has been recognised as being passionate about technology in the classroom and having a strong vision for transforming their learning environment. This program offers students and teachers the opportunity to further enhance their use of ICT tools with high levels of engagement, communication, collaboration and leadership opportunities. In addition to this, the school will have access to a shared learning community, where they are able to share best practice examples with other schools around the globe.

CPAHS uses technology in all streams of their curriculum and is a school firmly committed to enhancing learning outcomes for students, and more importantly, to equip the students with 21st century skills, enabling them to reflect deeply, think critically, work creatively, and collaborate effectively.

“Australia has always embraced technology in the classroom and it’s great to see schools like this incorporate technology into its vision for learning in such a fun and positive way, giving the pupils the best start for their future in the digital society. It is critical for our leaders of tomorrow to immerse themselves in the smart tools available,” Sean Tierney, Academic Programs Manager, Microsoft Australia, said.

Stacey Quince, CPAHS Principal, adds, “We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected as a Pathfinder School. Our vision over the next 3-5 years is to meet the learning needs of every single student in our school through personalised and differentiated learning, primarily delivered via technology”. Adding that, “Students at our school are engaged in inquiry-based learning that challenges them and rewards them. We want our students to be stimulated into thinking creatively and we encourage them to take supported risks and see the school as providing opportunities for learning to occur outside the boundaries of the traditional classroom”.

To embrace this philosophy, the high school has adapted its resources to ensure the focus on learning is underpinned by technology. Every student (Years 9-12) and teacher has been given laptops, every faculty has an interactive whiteboard (IWB) and the school is fitted with 10 technology labs, with wireless internet access throughout.

At CPAHS, one of the best practice examples includes students (dance, music and circus) using webcams to create video and audio files of their performances or musical compositions, which are then embedded into their OneNote notebooks. Peer assessors and teachers can then provide written feedback or make notes and juxtapose/tag their comments to the key points in the student’s video files. Students then use this feedback (visual, auditory and digital) to inform and develop their performance pieces, in particular, prior to final assessment.

Stacey Quince concludes, “All teachers at the high school are deeply committed and engaged in helping improve the school and this status elevation is a very exciting development for us. It was only last year that we were selected as one of twenty schools nationally to join the Microsoft Innovative Schools Program.”

See the following links for more information about Campbelltown Performing Arts High School.

CPAHS Website

CPAHS PiL Network Profile