Connection is Key
At St Margaret’s we are committed to providing an education where connection is key. Connections between students, staff and parents as well as connections with the local community and the world are all part of what makes St Margaret’s a vibrant learning environment. The ubiquitous nature of technology in our lives is helping to make these connections possible, in ways not previously conceivable.
Our aim is to deliver a teaching and learning program where technology is fully integrated and seamlessly supports the learning needs of each student, in order to develop their creative, collaborative and communication skills as well as foster a culture of innovation, problem solving and deep thinking and understanding.
Our primary school offers students access to a wide variety of technology options as they navigate their educational journey. The early years classes are equipped with interactive projectors, notebooks and banks of iPads. Girls in Years 3 to 6 are issued with a Microsoft Windows based laptop for use as part of their daily learning routine.
In the secondary school, girls from Years 7 to 12 are issued with a Microsoft Windows based tablet for use at school and home supported by access to Microsoft Office 365. This essential tool for learning supports our commitment to providing personalised, creative and innovative learning opportunities.
To support the use of school-issued devices, the St Margaret’s online learning portal, the POD: Place of Discovery, forms an integral part of our focus on connectedness. As the central, digital learning ‘hub’, the POD provides students with ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to learning resources and key information relating to all subject areas as well as co-curricular and school activities. The use of school-issued devices is supported by school-wide wireless connectivity and printing facilities.
Where are we now?
The past few years has seen significant change at St Margaret’s in the area of technology with the introduction of the Microsoft Windows based 1:1 pen-enabled tablet program for Secondary school students in 2010 and the Primary school from 2014. The schools ELearning Strategy (link to document here) serves as the strategic roadmap for technology integration and innovation in teaching and learning at St Margaret’s.
Teachers and students teach and learn in a ‘free to roam’ digital environment supported by WiDi (Wireless Display) with ultra-short throw projectors. Coupled with the ability to use digital ink and record and access notes via digital note taking software in Microsoft Office 365 our students and teachers are able to access and share resources in real time. The marriage of these technologies allows them to move seamlessly throughout the teaching space, annotate and provide feedback on student work and present content to individuals, groups or a whole class. This approach has led to a profound shift in the way many of teachers approach their practice (link to Microsoft Blog post?). In addition to these core learning technologies there are a variety of resources to enhance collaboration and provide interactive opportunities. These include Interactive projectors, iPads in P-2 classrooms, document cameras, and still and video cameras. Technologies such as a Music ‘Mac’ Lab and 3D printer and Laser cutter for use in Technology and our STEM program also provide students with specialist equipment to create and innovate. The school’s wireless network ensures student security is upheld, whilst allowing our boarders to stay connected to family and the wider community. This ensures it is well–connected and can support student success across the curriculum.
The elearning Faculty works to identify and meet the changing technology needs of the staff and students, driven by pedagogy and curriculum and a commitment to student improvement. A key initiative of this group was the development of the St Margaret’s ICT Teacher Standards (link to standards here or ‘Technology Toolbox’).
St Margaret’s is committed to providing a learning environment that addresses the needs of students now and in the future. Changes in the curriculum in recent years, have refocused the need for schools to provide students with a technology rich education that includes online learning. The school’s current eLearning strategy vision is to position St Margaret’s as a visible leader in technology-enhanced learning.
St Margaret’s is committed to providing a digital learning environment that addresses the safety needs of students when using connected technology. The primary school is an eSmart accredited school. Developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, eSmart is a behaviour-change initiative designed to help schools improve cyber safety and reduce cyberbullying and bullying. Secondary school students address cyber safety and bullying through the pastoral care program. The girls attend sessions on social media behaviours with a focus on their digital ‘footprint’ and its impact of future relationships and employability. These are delivered by external experts on internet safety. All girls in both primary and secondary schools must adhere to the Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy and girls in the secondary school must adhere to the Guidelines for Use of Mobile Phones Policy.