The Botany Campus embraces learning with digital technologies.

With increasing staff expertise and available resources, the IT culture at the Botany Campus is evolving in dynamic ways. The changing pace of technology has revolutionized some of our teaching and learning.

How is digital technology integrated?

Digital technology is used by teachers and students across all subject areas from Y7-13 with a wide range of e-tools, devices and programmes being implemented. These are constantly being added to and updated through our teaching with inquiry. Staff continue to undergo regular professional learning to enrich their understanding of teaching and learning with digital technologies. Subject departments also actively participate in professional forums and online learning communities (locally and internationally) such as Mathletics, Live-Wire learning, Vital English, Language Perfect and Best Choice, Twitter, VLN, etc.

Fundamental learning still occurs in the classroom which is further supported at home by readily available online learning. This has made teaching and learning not only more accessible but also more exciting and engaging for students.

Traditional forms of assessment continue to be a significant part of a secondary student’s learning. Students are still processing paper-based information as this is a feature of NCEA external assessments. A well-balanced curriculum is offered to students where digital technology is used as a support to enhance teaching and to encourage student achievement. Not only is it important to keep up-to-date in the technological world, but it is also important to ensure that the tools, programmes and devices used prepare students for what lies beyond their final year of secondary schooling.

Appropriate devices

The requirements for each year level are different so we recommend the following:

Years 7-10: All students will need to bring their own device of choice to support their learning. Students who have been using an iPad in the previous year are able to continue with this device. If the device needs replacing, we recommend purchasing either a Chromebook or laptop/hybrid device with the following minimum specifications:

  • 4GB+ RAM and 32GB+ Storage
  • Physical keyboard (integrated into case for iPads)
  • 5 hours+ battery life (with constant usage)

Chromebooks are recommended for these year levels as they are robust, cost-effective, run Android apps, and their batteries endure well. Higher-end models also integrate tablet/touchscreen features, but these are not a requirement.

Years 11-13: Students require a laptop/tablet/hybrid device to support their learning. At a minimum, devices must meet the technical specifications explained below.  Please note that some subjects in the NCEA curriculum, e.g. music, photography and design, may require specialised tasks and a higher level of computing power from a device that will not be available in lower priced models. Students and parents are encouraged to contact subject teachers if they need more clarification about these specialised tasks.

 

What are the technical specifications of a laptop used by a Year 11 – 13 student?

  • It must have a guaranteed battery life of 5 hours+ from one charge
  • Laptops need to either have Windows 8 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
  • i5 processor, SSD (solid state drives) and 4GB+ of RAM ensure faster operation
  • The device must have a physical keyboard
  • A protective casing is recommended for all devices
  • Antivirus software

Important note:

  • Devices which use inking e.g. Surface Pros are very useful but come at a premium price.
  • We do not support the use of mobile phones as a primary learning tool.

Blended Learning Examples

Mathematics and Statistics use Excel and other software to calculate, graph and analyse enormous amounts of data. English requires students to create multi-media presentations and oral assessments are filmed to provide exemplars and pathways for future students. Online programmes such as Mathletics, Language Perfect and My Live-Wire Learning are used extensively as well as Vital English with ESOL students.

In the Social Sciences the teachers have been pushing the boundaries in the use of ICT in the classroom: Geography students have been learning how to use the Geographic Information Systems software ArcMap 10.0, which is produced by ESRI. This is the leading GIS software globally and is used by both central and local government worldwide. This was previously only taught in universities, but in recent years there has been a push for this to be taught in schools as well.

History students have been using video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro to recreate historic events as well as ArcMap. This type of software uses graphic files that use enormous quantities of data, which means it is essential to keep up to date with the latest and best technology. In Social Studies, Y9/10 students regularly use the Internet for research projects and utilise technology for a range of production purposes.