The Citipointe iPad Programme will complete the implementation of an integrated online College platform for delivering quality education. Together with Synergetic (our student management system) and Blackboard (content and learning management system) this will give our students anytime, anyplace, portable, personalised, independent learning.
– Pastor Ron Woolley – Headmaster
Technology has in recent years provided teachers and students with useful tools that can increase student engagement, provide further access to content, enhance learning experiences and develop thinking and problem solving skills. The use of computers and Interactive Whiteboards have proven to be beneficial and a boon in improving participation and positively affecting student outcomes.
The ipad has been trialled for 3 years at Citipointe with students and teachers exploring the various ways in which this device can be added to the collection of tools a teacher can access to ensure that teaching is effective and engaging. We are instituting a 1 to 1 device in recognition that the efficacy of the use of this tool will be enhanced with every child able to access the required material on their own device.
Pedagogy and curriculum drive the use of technology, seeking for more innovative and interesting ways to increase student understanding of concepts. With the advent of Googleable information, facts can be easily accessed and widely known. It is involvement in the process of thinking, discussing, listening to other’s viewpoints that the individual distills their own thoughts from the information that has been accessed. How should I act? What should I believe? Why do I think that?
These are serious questions that require trustworthy individuals such as parents and teachers to walk alongside the student, to encourage and enable the searching and finding of answers. To at least know which way to point, to where a fruitful search might be made.
Technology simply enables the opening of doors and it is the adults who must provide the framework and the boundaries as to what information is accessed and how new knowledge might be analysed and incorporated.
It is our hope and our commitment that the tools we employ through Learn@Citipointe will indeed bring about the increasingly effective education of the next generation. We want them to be equipped to contribute to society, to be role models and change agents through their demonstration of Christ-like living, their intelligent understanding of their world and their determination to make a difference.
In the modern age, Technology has become so much more than merely another school subject. It is now integrated into many aspects of life in general. The Australian Curriculum reflects this and Citipointe Christian College Brisbane Primary has made great inroads to encourage and develop an integrated curriculum.
One might ask the question “Are we there yet?” According to the SAMR Model of transformation the answer would be a clear “No”. We are at the beginning of a journey, with many challenges lying before us. Further development of curriculum, personal competency skills, new technologies behaviour management strategies and a universally sound awareness of safe digital practices are all a part of the journey.
To a degree our curriculum has already been digitalised, with all content being produced in either a flipchart or PowerPoint. With the recent introduction of Blackboard, this digitalised content can be enhanced into a learning experience that is interactive and provides opportunities for children to collaborate, share, create and consolidate their learning.
The next step of the journey is accessibility. It has become apparent to have a significant impact on redesigning and transforming the curriculum into a relevant and engaging model, students need access to a personal device. This is in keeping with the development of the Australian Curriculum where Technology is not referred to specifically as a subject area but rather Information Communication Technology (ICT) Capabilities are mandated to be integrated and developed across the curriculum areas throughout the child’s entire schooling experience.
Does this mean you could not deliver the Australian Curriculum without an Ipad? No. But a personalised learning device, that is reliable and decreases down time was worthy of trialling. Since 2011 when we initially introduced iPads into the Primary school, we have been trialling them in a variety of settings, such as Learning Support small groups, Languages class stations, class group rotational activities, whole class learning activities, for research and information gathering and more recently as creative media tools. The success on many levels has been obvious and as a whole school Citipointe has decided on the iPad as the device of choice for personalised learning.
We have deliberately taken time to come to this point and Primary, Secondary, Administration and Technology departments have worked together to diligently ensure we do not succumb to a “passing fad.” However, after much consideration, research, discussions and observations in other leading schools, taking many factors into consideration such as cost, reliability, basic intuitiveness of device, operation issues such as battery life, and other issues discussed in the Why iPad section of this site, it became clear that the iPad was an effective choice to suit both our immediate and future needs.
Through all our trials it became consistently evident that the iPad is not designed to be a shared device. The introduction of an individually owed and managed device allows greater scope to access and collate information as well as providing an opportunity to do things more creatively than in the usual learning environment. Tasks that previously could not be done without a device are now possible enabling us to continue our commitment to Citipointe’s vision statement of “boldly developing an exceptional learning environment which prepares students for their future.”
I am excited about our exploring the next step of blended learning at Citipointe, blended learning being the term used to describe the use of both combined online and offline learning methods. When I first came to Citipointe 17 years ago, we began the journey of integrating technology and learning until we were able to reach the ratio of 1:1 computers to students. Over the years, this journey has comprised:
- data projectors, screens and desktop computers in every classroom
- entire computer classrooms, and smaller computer hubs
- specialised computer rooms with specific software
- laptop trolleys in most classrooms
- smart boards
- integration of all basic technology in all subject areas
- wi-fi across the school
- desktop computers on every teacher desk replaced by personal laptops to each teacher
- purchase of a wide variety of devices to offer choice and experience to students:
- desk top computers, laptops, ipads, ipods. kindle readers, e textbooks
- digital access to university libraries and other digital resources
- encouragement of students to bring their own device
In 2013, as another step in this process, the College installed Synergetic, a new Administration System and, in the same year, teachers were issued with personal iPads and MacBook laptops, to prepare new approaches to work units for the implementation of our iPad initiative in 2015.
At the start of 2014, Apple TVs were installed in every classroom, enabling teachers to teach from their Macbooks or their iPads. The College also implemented the Blackboard Content Management System to replace the previous c3b.net which was no longer meeting our needs. Teachers have been uploading curriculum content to Blackboard, giving parents and students easy access to teacher and course material. Mandatory sections to be found in every curriculum area comprise Student Overview, a summary of the unit work, and Assessment Task Sheets and Criteria Sheets. However, Blackboard also contains a Learning Management System which some teachers are already trialling: teachers are providing lesson content, homework and curriculum resources for their students, some teachers are using online submission of assessment and giving of assessment feedback through the system, some are using the forum and blog facilities of Blackboard to encourage peer discussion and the notification area to provide information and notices to their students.
Both students and teachers are embracing these changes wholeheartedly and eager to be part of the next exciting instalment: the 2015 Citipointe iPad initiative. All of these technology changes are driven by our Core Values, especially the provision of High Quality Education and Academic Rigour, and by our educational pedagogy of engaging the student through inspiring teaching and learning, of helping the student discover their potential and of encouraging student academic success. Our educational framework, Understanding by Design, is key to these changes: we know what we want to achieve at the start and we work towards student lifelong understandings and important values. Technology will not be solely responsible for getting us there but it will be a vehicle to use for that purpose.
The use of iPads will complete an integrated consistent online platform across the school. For me, a natural progression is for each of our students to have the same device so that lesson delivery using Macs and iPads can be utilised by all students. The use of Macs and iPads has mobilised our teachers, literally. They are able to move around the room, watching students, controlling the content on the screen, annotating the material on the screen from their iPad, with students able to access this same material from their iPads, save the lesson work immediately at the end of the lesson, and most importantly, able to access all lesson resources from Blackboard at home.
The iPad initiative will also give our students anytime, anyplace, personalised, independent learning. We want our students to be self-managing, independent people who are curious, creative thinkers, and 21st century technology provides the facility for this with speedy, accurate, up to the minute information with ease of access to world experts and resources, to their teachers and to their peers.
I believe that technology is a wonderful educational tool, but it is only a tool, one that will be used to promote student learning and advance student outcomes. It will not replace student effort or teacher input, but more than ever, the present allows us to use technology more effectively to do this.
Teaching and Learning in the Secondary School focuses on students having a clear sense of direction in what they are studying, what the requirements of each subject are and what success in that subject looks like. This we refer to as ‘knowing your target’ and it is the principle focus of backward design which is part of our pedagogical framework. Communicating this target, not only to the student but also to the parents, has been greatly facilitated by technology, especially by the introduction of Blackboard, and it is an area of ongoing expansion.
The second pedagogical focus has been to increase student engagement in learning through less teacher talk, more opportunity to investigate, collaborate, discuss and clarify progress toward the set learning targets, to ‘uncover’, rather than ‘cover’ content. Technology is an integral aspect of knowledge acquisition and manipulation and, as such, forms an important component of developing student engagement and independence. The flexibility offered by iPads in terms of portability has the potential to facilitate educational collaboration and discussion much more than desktop computers.
Finally, feedback is recognised as essential to growth and success as a learner. Technology offers many new avenues for teachers to gain feedback on where students are in their learning journey and to give constructive timely advice and direction. Students are able to ‘safely’ answer and ask questions which previously they may have been too afraid to ask in the general classroom. Since feedback has been recognised by Prof J Hattie as having a large effect size in improving learning outcomes, this will be an area of focus for staff development and training in technology.
Our current College initiatives regarding technology will allow access to current knowledge, multiple representations of that knowledge and divergent interpretations or opinions of that knowledge. These aspects are all key components in developing conceptual understanding and critical and creative thinking in our students.
Students’ ICT capabilities are a feature of the Australian Curriculum, with ICT being a General Capability that needs to be incorporated in all subjects. This requirement demands that schools increasingly design their courses with ICT in mind for uncovering content, formative and summative assessment, and for students to use to organise their learning.
I agree with our late Director of Studies when he commented previously:
“We live in a digital age and our children (digital natives) have grown up not knowing anything else. Studies have shown that they are really good at using technology for fun (e.g. music, gaming), but are in need of instruction when it comes to using technology to enhance their learning.
With the adoption of the iPad, our students will have a portable device that will support and enhance their learning across all areas of the curriculum. They will learn not only to efficiently access quality subject-based content knowledge, but also how to manage ICT to meet their particular learning needs. With the world’s knowledge now easily accessible from the iPad, there has never been a more exciting time to be a Citipointe student.”
(Ross Philipson, Director of Secondary Studies BEd DipT MEd MACE MACEL JP (Qual))
I am confident that the iPad program at Citipointe will encourage students and teachers to meet the requirements of both the Australian Curriculum and modern life by offering experience in the use of ICT in a safe environment.
Schools and their communities are faced with the ever-increasing challenge of how to guide students to become responsible digital citizens. At Citipointe Christian college, we address these challenges during your student’s pastoral care times coordinated by the Head of Year and by providing curriculum that is well maintained and relevant in a fast-moving digital age.
As parents, and even as educators, we can find ourselves technologically challenged in the face of changes. Our students are quick to pick up new technologies yet are not equipped to filter the risks to which smart devices expose them.
Educators, parents and students need to be aware of the most significant issues facing children and young people at this time as:
- Digital reputation
- Social networking
- Protecting personal information
- Offensive or illegal content
- Excessive internet use
Some very useful resources are available through the Commonwealth Government Cybersmart web-site to address such issues.
The link for your teen is http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens.aspx
The link to guide you is https://esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent
Please contact the appropriate Head of Year or the Director of Student Care if you are concerned about your child using technology inappropriately.