elearning Co-ordinator, Manor Lakes P-12 in Wyndham Vale.
Tell us a little about your current role.
My role primarily involves assisting staff in the implementation of sound ICT practices and pedagogy across Prep to Year 9 in what will soon become Victoria’s largest single-campus college. In conjunction with working closely alongside staff across the aforementioned year levels, I also teach a number of middle secondary IT-based classes. These focus on delivering cutting-edge technological trends in education, such as games-based learning, animation and stop-motion creation; and using virtual worlds, such as ‘Second Life’, to further engage and immerse students in their learning. Throughout my teaching career, I have presented at State, national and international conferences.
What is your greatest challenge as the school’s ICT leader?
To develop a strong culture of technology integration across a large and quickly-expanding college. This requires encouraging and enabling staff with the confidence, tools, and pedagogy required to embed ICT into their daily teaching and learning programs.
How have you set about overcoming that challenge?
Through conducting ongoing professional learning for all staff in both formal and informal situations before and after school hours. I have also been trained as an ICT peer coach, something that assisted overcoming the aforementioned challenge greatly, as I have been able to work closely with staff to develop their skills in ICT integration. Lastly, by having an open mind, and a door that is always open.
What do you see as being the most significant, future challenges to the adoption, management and integration of technology into the education environment?
Roadblocks. Staff who demonstrate an unwillingness to develop, and/or build on their ICT skills and to integrate technology into their teaching and learning programs. These staff members often have fears of embracing ICT that, in some cases, are perhaps warranted. These fears usually centre on issues such as cyber safety, cyber bullying, copyright, social media and networking, to name a few. When these fears are addressed, and we assist staff to overcome these fears and develop a whole school culture of ICT integration and pedagogy, we will see staff becoming more willing to move forward. The development of ICT peer coaches also facilitates this demystification process by providing staff with access to a number of expert educators.
Have you implemented any significant projects within your school recently?
Having attended the Google Teacher Academy and becoming a Google Certified Teacher in April of 2011, I have implemented Google Apps for K-12 Education at my college. These have assisted educators and students in utilising tools to complement the teaching and learning that takes places on a daily basis. Students and staff have become more resourceful and have since recognised the importance of using multiple sources of feedback rather than a select few.
What challenges did you encounter when introducing Google Apps and how did you overcome those challenges?
Ensuring that the tools on offer to staff and students would be used in a meaningful and competent way and not simply used because they had to be. Through extensive professional learning for staff and students, the realisation of the benefits of having access to these tools soon came to the forefront of assisting effective teaching and learning practices. Having a group of students who have become extremely proficient in using these tools has also been an excellent resource for staff and students to turn to.
What can ICT leaders in other schools learn from what you have done?
Firstly, the greatest risk is to take no risk at all. Encourage your staff and your students to test the boundaries of what technology can do. Use technology in ways in which you are unsure of and, if all fails in a crashing heap, so be it. You’ll be better off for trying and learning from that experience.
Secondly, create a PLN (personal learning network) through social media such as Twitter, Google+ or even Facebook. The number of outstanding educators out there who are willing to share their thoughts, beliefs and knowledge, can go an extremely long way in assisting you to not only develop extensive, ICT teaching skills, but also to build your pedagogical practices as a whole.
Corrie was a classroom teacher for seven years before taking on his current role at the beginning of 2010. He has been instrumental in embedding 1:1 laptop and mobile technology programs into his curriculum and he is placing a major focus on iPad technology integration throughout his college in 2012 and beyond.
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