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DIgital technologies: Integrating across the curriculum

Christ the King Primary School, Newcomb


At Christ the King Primary School the Digital Technologies Curriculum is integrated across all learning areas. Students learn through a combination of opportunities for self discovery, as well as lessons which incorporate explicit teaching. Through the learning experiences provided, students build their knowledge through collaboration, sharing of ideas and use of explicit vocabulary related to ‘real world’ and purposeful tasks.

School Background

Christ the King Primary School is a low socio-economic school located in Newcomb, Geelong. Whilst the demographic is starting to shift, there are still families who are eligible for parenting payments. The school’s ICSEA value is 1014, with few Indigenous or EAL students. The student population totals 209, but is steadily increasing, as the community becomes aware of the exciting programs that the school has to offer. The school provides all technology and has a range of iPads, Chromebooks and desktop computers. The device ratio is 1:2, with iPads in the Foundation - Year 2 area and a mixture of iPads, Chromebooks and desktops in Year 3 - 6. The school uses Google Apps for Education and Seesaw, in conjunction with a range of Apps and programs.

Staffing

The school consists of a broad range of teachers, both in age and experience. Christ the King has invested heavily into Digital Technologies coaches that assist teachers to build their capacity in this curriculum area. Coaches support teachers who have an Annual Review goal linked to Digital Technologies. Both coach and teacher are released for the 1 hour coaching session. Whilst some staff members occasionally attend external professional development, Christ the King is trying to encourage a culture of self-directed learning amongst the staff. Looking for digital expertise within the school is our preferred model of learning.

Curriculum

The Digital Technologies curriculum is taught by all Homeroom and Specialist (Science, Physical Education, Art & Italian) teachers and is fully integrated into all subject areas. Student progress is formally reported to parents on rubrics and Semester reports. All reporting to parents is supported by Digital Technologies work samples. In order to place progression points on Semester reports, teachers moderate the work samples against the Digital Technologies curriculum. Teachers begin with designing a rich assessment task in English, Mathematics, Religious Education or Inquiry and link the digital tool to the task. Content Descriptors are audited throughout the year to ensure that all outcomes have been addressed throughout the curriculum cycle. Over the past 3 years, the school has had a major focus on STEM Education. This focus has seen major partnerships formed with universities (e.g. Deakin University) and industry (e.g. Live Tiles). These partnerships have enabled the school’s teachers to be on the cutting-edge of technology. Christ the King has also developed Pedagogy Statements for the Digital Technologies area, so that there is an agreed and shared practice.

Planning

Teachers have 3 hours planning time per week. In addition to this, each Learning Community is allocated a BBD (Backward By Design) Planning day at the beginning of each term that allows teachers to create a curriculum roadmap for the upcoming term. The team begins the BBD Planning day with the Inquiry question. From this point, connections are made between the “host” curriculum (History, Geography, The Arts, Health, Civics & Citizenship) and English, Maths, Religious Education, Digital and/or Design Technologies, The Capabilities and STEM. School Leaders (Literacy, Numeracy, Inquiry/STEM, Religious Education) attend planning sessions with all teams to support the development of quality units of work.

The planning at Christ the King is highly differentiated throughout all subject areas. Regular pre- and post-testing assists with personalising the curriculum for the needs of our students. Planners incorporate content descriptors from a range of levels and students are challenged to work within their zone of proximal development. In regards to the Digital Technologies curriculum, the school has a strong focus right from Foundation, which means that almost all students are working either at, or above, the expected standard for their age. As the school’s approach to Digital Technologies means that it is integrated into all lessons where possible, the students display high levels of aptitude. This also enables many students to work beyond the expected level, as teachers understand the need to remove the curriculum ceiling.

Christ the King started using the Digital Technologies curriculum 12 months before the mandatory implementation. The school had very few digital resources 5 years ago, but through a combination of grants and Learning Community funds has built a bank of invaluable resources. Aside from iPads, Chromebooks and desktop computers, the school has a range of resources. The key has been having variety over quantity. These resources are also used in our DT Club, which runs once a week at lunchtime by the DIgital Technologies coaches. The school has a highly successful First Lego League team, who have represented Australia at the European Open Invitational event in Hungary. Cre8te the Future are also heading to Nepal for a First Lego League outreach program in May, 2019.

CHRIST THE KING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES

360 degree Camera

BeeBots and BlueBots

Chromebooks

Code Bugs

Drones (land & air)

Virtual Reality Computers



Desktops

Edison Bots

Google Expeditions

iPads

Lego Mindstorms

3D printer


Little Bits

Makey Makey

mBots

OSMO

Spheros

Arduino



Implementation

Class sizes throughout the school are between 22 - 24 students per class. Christ the King uses cohort teaching, which means that students are often mixed for differentiated teaching lessons. There is a combination of explicit, team and peer teaching throughout the school. In relation to the Digital Technologies curriculum, explicit lessons are taught by the teacher in the context of English, Maths, Inquiry/STEM, Religious Education and Specialist classes. These lessons can be whole or small group, depending on the point of need. Work samples are regularly collected, corrected and moderated to ensure that students are making progress.

Assessment / Evaluation

Christ the King has a strong cycle of assessment and reporting. This enables the teachers to effectively plan for the specific needs of each individual student. Within the Learning and Teaching Cycle, Digital Technologies work samples are collected on an ongoing basis (although formally assessed three times a term on rubrics and twice a year as progression points on reports). In regards to rubrics, all work samples are provided to the students and parents. As the school nurtures a strong family/school partnership, comments are written by teachers, students and parents. This also provides an excellent opportunity for feedback about the unit of work.

During Learning and Teaching Leadership Meetings, the team which includes the Principal, Learning & Teaching Leader and the Digital Technologies Coaches evaluate current practice and set future goals. This includes identifying opportunities for further professional development for staff and ensuring that the Entitlement Curriculum is being delivered to the students. These meetings (twice a term) also address assessment & reporting, resource building and insights from coaching sessions.

Future Directions

Whilst Christ the King is very proud of the school’s achievements, there is also a strong commitment to continually review and modify the pedagogical practices within the school. As technology is rapidly changing, there is a recognition that the school’s programs must change in accordance with these advances. Building the capacity of all members of our school community to use digital technologies in new and innovative ways means that our program is always evolving.




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