Technology integration in education stories in Australia and beyond.....

October, 2012

  • Innovative-Education

    PiL Program Spotlights–John Fawkner College


    John Fawkner College is a small 7 – 12 secondary school located 18km from the CBD in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs. Approximately 450 students are enrolled at the college with approximately 120 of these students participating in the off-site Sports Education Development Australia (SEDA) program. The college has a Student Family Occupation (SFO) index of 0.73 and therefore receives significant funding for disadvantage. Over 60% of students come from English as an Additional Language (EAL) backgrounds.


    To provide a dynamic learning environment that engages students who work to achieve their personal best in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation.

    School Motto  clip_image001                                 

    Aspire and Achieve                                      

    School Values

    Respect, Commitment, Integrity


    In 2009 the college, known at the time as Fawkner College underwent an external diagnostic review. The review identified that the school had a history of below standard outcomes, falling enrolments and not being valued by the local community. Data indicated that approximately 700 secondary school age students living in the enrolment area were bypassing the two local secondary colleges to attend school elsewhere.

    clip_image002As a result of the review the Department of Education and Childhood Development (DEECD) and Northern Metropolitan Region made the decision that John Fawkner College and another local secondary college would become part of Project Excellence, a unique initiative based on the Fresh Start Program in the United Kingdom.

    As part of Project Excellence:

    • Fawkner College was closed at the end of 2009 and reopened at the beginning of 2010 as John Fawkner College
    • All staff were named over entitlement and asked to reapply for their positions if they wished to remain at the college. This process resulted in a 48% change in staff.
    • A new Leadership Team was established
    • Additional resources were provided through National Partnership funding which included two Leading Teachers (Literacy and Numeracy), Teaching and Learning Coaches (Literacy and Numeracy), an Executive Officer to support the Principal, funding to upgrade the facilities and support from an educationalist from the United Kingdom who acted as a critical friend.

    After nearly three years there is no doubt that Project Excellence has been an outstanding success as evidenced by the significantly improved data - NAPLAN, VCE, VCAL, student, staff and parent surveys and school generated assessments.

    A new school culture has been established based on a focus on continuous improvement, teachers working in teams, improved teaching and learning practices, consistency between classrooms, high expectations, an orderly learning environment and authentic student voice.

    A key element in the school improvement agenda has been the strong commitment of the college to the Northern Metropolitan Region strategies, Achievement Improvement Zones (AIZ), Powerful Learning and Curiosity. These strategies provided a clear framework to improve teaching and learning and reduce variation between classrooms.

    Consistent Teaching and Learning practices

    clip_image003The strong focus on improving teaching and learning and consistency of practice has had a profound impact on student outcomes. Consistent practices now include:

    • A common approach to student management
    • The use of an agreed whiteboard structure to inform students on what they are learning
    • Students being aware of the learning intention and success criteria in every lesson
    • Regular feedback to students to support their learning
    • The use of the High Reliability Literacy Teaching Strategies (Getting Knowledge Ready, Vocabulary, Reading Aloud, Paraphrasing, Identifying Questions the Text will Answer, Summarising, Review)
    • Teachers working in teams to plan and review curriculum and monitor student progress
    • Strategic ongoing professional development of staff on agreed practices.



    The college has strong partnerships with business and industry which have been invaluable in linking students with the world outside of school, providing them with a wide range of experiences, connecting them with mentors, developing their knowledge of the vast range of clip_image004vocational opportunities open to them and building their confidence and communication and interpersonal skills.

    The support of organisations such as Minter Ellison Lawyers, Australian Business Community Network (ABCN), Melbourne Heart Soccer Team, Netball Victoria, Moreland City Council and the Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) have benefited students in all Year levels of the college.


    Information Technology

    The college has a strong commitment to the use of information technology to enhance student learning.

    A relationship with Promethean has resulted in the installation of interactive whiteboards in eighteen classrooms and the Library. Staff have participated in professional development to develop their skills in the use of the boards. Feedback from students and staff on the impact on teaching and learning has been extremely positive.

    In 2011 all students in Years 9-12 were provided with a Netbook computer. A number of class sets of Netbook computers are available for the use of students in Years 7 and 8. Netbooks are used every day by every student.

    clip_image005A room with a bank of desktop computers was included in the recently built Language Centre to support ICT specific subjects such as VET Multi-media.

    The college recognises the power of ICT in supporting student’s learning but is well aware that a great deal of work still to be done to ensure that students and staff have the knowledge and skills to maximise its potential.



    Partners in Learning

    During 2010/11 the Principal and Executive Officer participated in a program matching them with a business leader. As chance would have both worked with a representative from Microsoft Australia. A follow on from this association and the success of Project Excellence was that the college was invited to participate in the Partners in Learning Program.

    A key belief at John Fawkner College is that student learning is enhanced through enquiry, collaboration and effective feedback. This is the focus of our Partners in Learning Project. The goals of our project are to:

    • Develop student’s ability to work collaboratively and provide them with the opportunity to work regularly in group situations
    • Develop student’s understanding that learning is enhanced through sharing knowledge and challenging others thinking
    • Encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding and apply their learning through an enquiry approach
    • Use One Note to enhance collaboration, challenge thinking, apply knowledge and provide feedback to promote student’s higher order learning

    A small group of teachers worked closely with a local primary school which was implementing an enquiry learning approach called Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) promoted by Professor Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. SOLE was to be the basis for our project and therefore it was important that teachers fully understood the associated theory and practices. Our project involved students using ICT in their enquiry and specifically OneNote to challenge theirs and other’s thinking, support their collaboration and provide feedback to each other on their learning.

    John Fawkner College has just begun this exciting journey however we look forward to the challenges ahead as we strive to provide our students with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the 21st Century.

    Glenn White, Gus Napoli and Jess Sartori

    John Fawkner College

    18th October 2012


  • Innovative-Education

    PiL Spotlight: Edge Hill State School



    Edge Hill is a primary school situated approximately 8km from the centre of Cairns in Far North Queensland.

    The school has a proud tradition of providing innovative, quality education to students from P- 7. With an enrolment of over 1000 students and a teaching staff of 50+, our school is a bustling, thriving learning community.

    Our students come from a multitude of different cultural backgrounds with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Japanese families living in the area. As an Education Queensland international school we also service a growing contingent of international students from many countries including Japan, Korea, PNG and South Africa, choosing our school as a place for their education.

    Our School Vision:

    At Edge Hill State School we will educate the leaders of the future in an environment that endeavours to challenge and support them, to prepare them to be healthy, confident young Australians, living and working in a global society and economy.

    Our Curriculum

    Historically Edge Hill has been known for innovation with regard to teaching and learning, particularly having been a part of the New Basics Project which included development of Rich Tasks used for student assessment.

    During 2012 Edge Hill State School will begin implementation of the new Australian Curriculum for English, Mathematics and Science. This is a huge undertaking for our teachers and students but provides us with a powerful opportunity to explore and enhance our school wide pedagogy and in particular our digital pedagogy.




    Our Charter for Excellence

    Edge Hill State School believes challenge leads to personal growth - it provides motivation for positive change. Support helps to ensure successful adaptation to meet the challenge.

    •Our teachers will challenge our students with high expectations while supporting them by developing meaningful relationships and providing for individual learning needs

    •Our curriculum will challenge students with high expectations whilst supporting their intrinsic motivation to learn with differentiated learning

    •Our school will challenge students with high expectations for social and emotional learning while providing them with whole child support

    •Our school leaders will challenge teachers to improve performance while supporting their professional growth

    •Our school will challenge students to become adaptable and flexible, contemporary learners by supporting them with a rich and diverse digital pedagogy.

    ICT@ Edge Hill


    The school’s eLearning plan encompasses 4 focus areas:

    Working Digitally:

    Focuses on how the school uses digital technology as a way of moving from traditional to transformational ways of working. Planning for this requires consideration of community, student and staff their access to and purposeful use of digital technologies.

    Enabling Learners:

    Focuses on establishing the effective learning environments necessary to address the needs of learners in a complex changing world. Considerations here include implementing consistent, school wide standards for and making use of online learning environments to optimise students opportunities to use ICT for learning at school.

    Developing Professionals:

    This focus area addresses development of teacher and leader capabilities necessary to deliver quality teaching and learning, including teacher acquisition of minimum standards of competency with ICTs and developing teachers’ knowledge and understanding of embedding ICTs as tools to enhance learning outcomes for students.

    Harnessing the Enterprise Platform

    Focuses on the processes, systems and practices necessary to develop and maintain effective learning productivity. This domain covers management and enhancement and investment in infrastructure, devices and software and ways to leverage these to personalise learning and extend it beyond the classroom.

    Our Microsoft Partnerships in Learning Project Plan

    Our PiL Schools Research data showed us that one 21st century learning capability that we could be doing better with is “Skilled Communication”; Connecting our community with student learning is also a regional priority; therefore our PiL project focuses on developing our students and teachers as skilled 21st century communicators.



    The PiL project has been opportunity for us to look at our practice around 21st century teaching and learning and move forward with an agenda of enhancing our digital pedagogy to enhance learning outcomes for students at Edge Hill State School. The powerful networking opportunities and learning it has provided have allowed us to expand our thinking and contemplate an educational horizon so much wider than we might otherwise have been able to imagine.



    Thanks to Kirsty Edwards, Paul Campbell, Cecelia Brook; Edge Hill State School Partners in Learning Team for this guest post.

  • Innovative-Education

    PiL Program Spotlights–Kedron State High School


    Established in 1956, Kedron State High School is one of the most successful multi-cultural high schools in Brisbane. Located in the northern metropolitan area, the school’s hard working staff and dedicated students achieve outstanding results in academia, music and sport. The student population of just under 1200 students originates from some 50 different primary schools and a similar number of different nationalities are represented. The school welcomes 50 international students and 300 English as a Second Language (ESL) students each year and encourages optimum performance, reflected in the school motto - ‘To Strive is to Shine’.

    In 2009 work began to create a vision for the school in terms of the use of technology for teaching and learning. As a traditional, academic, disciplined school with a proven academic record, it was important that we maintained the teaching expertise developed over years, and complemented this with the opportunities that access to new technologies afforded both staff and students. The marriage of these two methods of delivery is called “Blended Learning” and after extensive research and the experience of the teaching staff at Kedron, it is the preferred model of delivery for our school and our eLearning vision was formed.

    Kedron’s Vision for eLearning

    Our vision is to create a dynamic learning community where the use of ICTs is integral to the learning of every student. Through authentic engagement and involvement with their learning, we are striving to equip our students with the tools and skills for their future world.


    Research has shown that 1to1 programs – where there is a computer for each student– are most effective when students have a computer that is theirs. Indeed, when the personal use of the device is a given, teachers can get on with teaching, and students with learning, without access to the technology becoming a disruptor. Currently, all students in years 9-11 have their own Laptop (close to 750 devices) to access the curriculum. Next year this will be extended to include year 12 also.

    Kedron’s High was both honoured and excited to be chosen as one the 20 Australian schools for the 2012 Partners In Learning Program. Kedron was mindful of the fact that there was an important role to be played in ensuring that students were provided with the skills needed to navigate the world as they are experiencing it, not as previous generations have. Much has been written about 21st Century skills of the workplace and beyond, and 24/7 access to a learning tool such as a Laptop would provide the balance between Kedron’s established traditional modes of learning and new ways of learning.  The Partners in Learning Program has provided many opportunities for the school to reflect on the work it had already undertaken through the lens of the framework and ongoing support from Microsoft. The Partners in Learning program focus on sound pedagogy has enabled learningful conversations (Senge, 1990) between teaching staff.

    Teaching and non-teaching staff have been working to develop their understanding of digital pedagogy – using technologies to complement and improve the teaching and learning in their classrooms – and the use of technology within school to improve overall effectiveness of systems and administration. Structured programs have been developed for staff to access training and professional learning opportunities to develop their skills in the contemporary classroom.

    As part of the PIL program project at Kedron the whole year 11 English student cohort submitted a draft of their assignment in OneNote; they were then given oral plus visual feedback. Teachers invested their time and effort into two feedbacks on the draft which the syllabus allows – this was done by combining Community Clips and OneNote. The English Department had those papers marked off-site by a marker. When the marks were returned, Year 11 teachers reviewed the results the marker had given and rather than giving back the students their criteria sheet they created a podcast for each student.  This allowed students to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Students were then asked to make a judgement as to what they thought their result was before actually seeing it. The process allowed students to reflect on their mark and to determine what they need to do to improve in future.

    The process saw an improvement in outcomes and whilst these results didn’t follow strict research methods outcomes compared to the same assessment task last year show clear improvement across the group.


    The OneNote project is one example of the reflection in practice that involvement in the Partners in Learning program has seen across the school. Most importantly this involvement allows Kedron to provide the best learning opportunities for both students and staff, along with the chance to connect with other members of the Microsoft global learning network.



    Thanks to Myron McCormick, Steve Lang, & Chrissie Coogan - Kedron Senior High School Partners in Learning Team for putting writing this post.

Page 1 of 1 (3 items)