Digital technology is one way to enable an interactive learning environment.
One of the ways in which Elim Christian College is creating an interactive learning environment is by strongly encouraging a ‘bring your own device’ programme from Years 3 – 13. Students from Years 3 – 6 are asked to support their learning with an iPad, Years 7-10 with a Chromebook or laptop/hybrid device, and Year 11 – 13 students are asked to bring a laptop as a learning tool.
We are striving to progressively embrace and develop a highly effective ‘blended learning’ environment. The Ministry of Education describes blended learning as ‘a combination of traditional and e-learning practices‘ and it defines e-learning as ‘learning and teaching that is facilitated by or supported through the appropriate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs)‘. We believe that the use of devices further develop our students’ 21st century competencies of digital literacy, communication and working collaboratively to problem solve and think creatively. We are also committed to create an environment in which digital technology and critical thinking work together to expand and deepen the learning experience.
Students from Years 3 – 6 support their learning with their own iPad. Students in years 0 – 2 have access to class sets of iPads. The use of iPads are integrated into the curriculum in developmentally-appropriate ways.
Apple has recognised the way Elim Christian College Golflands Campus use digital devices in the curriculum with the Apple Distinguished Program Award. This award is given to schools who display visionary leadership, innovative teaching and learning, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence for success, and a flexible learning environment.
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.
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.
Managing devices at home
The school has a book titled “Keeping your child / teen safe in the online jungle” and it is a recommended read for any household with digital devices. You can download the file of your choice by clicking on the link below the image.