Northside Christian College identified the challenge of enhancing teaching and learning with the latest Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
This Journeys case study showcases the pathway to a comprehensive iPad program, for all students from Year 5 to Year 10 rolled out in 2013, under the Smarter Schools National Partnerships (SSNP) program.
In the middle of 2011, Chris Gatt, a committed senior secondary teacher of media, English and psychology at Northside Christian College, found himself fascinated by an Independent Schools Victoria online course about ICT and teaching practice. ‘The course was an epiphany, an “ah-ha” moment, for me,’ said Mr Gatt. ‘It hit home the value and importance of ICT within teaching practice. I could see how ICT is essential to teaching in the 21st century.’
The school’s Principal, Stephen Leslie, could see that Mr Gatt could play a role, a leadership role, in the school’s push to using new technology. Further professional learning by Mr Gatt, and Year 5/6 teacher Annelie Zuccolo, was not merely about technology, apps and gadgets. ‘It was very philosophical,’ said Ms Zuccolo, who is also the school’s Primary ICT Coordinator. ‘It got you thinking about teaching practices and methods. It made me realise that technology needs to be in the hands of the students in their own classrooms, not separate from them, in a computer lab that you have to book in advance.’
In Term 4, 2011, Ms Zuccolo introduced iPads – just six for her class – as part of a six-week trial involving a dozen Independent schools. The six-week iPad trial provided Northside Christian College’s ICT planning group with real data and successful strategies to use in the planned iPad Pilot Project for 2012.
Ms Zuccolo and Mr Gatt have been critical to the successful rolling out of the iPad program at Northside Christian College. In 2013, all students in years 5 to 10 have and use a digital device as a part of their learning resources. ‘This new technology, combined with innovative programs and pedagogy, can push students to take charge of their own learning, to take ownership of their education,’ said Mr Gatt, who, in 2012, was appointed eLearning Coordinator for the whole school.
Mr Gatt and Ms Zuccolo were initially guided by Lynda Cutting, an Independent Schools Victoria SSNP Advisor. ‘Chris and Annelie have an inspirational and enthusiastic view of how teaching and learning can be improved,’ said Ms Cutting. ‘They are now sharing this with the rest of the staff, and a second
layer of teacher leaders are now coming on board.’
‘There is nothing more satisfying and exciting to me than to see young, talented teachers realise that they can use their energy and gifts beyond the classroom walls, and be movers and shakers at a whole-school level,’ said Northside Christian College’s Principal, Stephen Leslie.
Read the full Journeys ‘Northside Christian College – The Future is Now’ case study on the Independent Schools Victoria website, along with other Journeys’ case studies.
Note: The Journeys case studies come from an uplifting collection of articles from Independent Schools across Victoria that were part of the 2012 Smarter Schools National Partnerships (SSNP) program, which was designed to improve the quality of Australian schooling and student outcomes.