Information Communications Technology has in recent years been at the forefront of teaching and learning at Emmaus College. In a world where students are expected to have the necessary ICT skills for employability and functioning as effective citizens, the College realises that ICT needs to be embedded in every area of the curriculum.
ICT Resources at the College
Over the two campuses, seven computer labs have been in full operation for classes in every Learning Area. Installed in all classrooms are either data projects and/or interactive whiteboards. These collaborative resources increase student interactivity and understanding.
Learning Management Systems: From Studywiz To Emmlink
In the early 2000s, an intranet known as “The Portal” was introduced for students to access digital resources provided by teachers. In 2009 this system was replaced by a Learning Management System, Studywiz.
With changing technologies, at the end of 2015, the college decided to change to Schoolbox. This online platform allows for many multimedia activities, online resources, and interactivity with many Web 2.0 tools. The Schoolbox software allows for customization to suit the college’s needs. One area for customization is the name of the new LMS, Portal, and Intranet. Through a student competition, the name Emmlink was chosen.
The portal function of Emmlink provides parents and students with up-to-date information on timetables, college news, and events.
2018 saw the start of Continuous Reporting using Emmlink across all classes.
The focus of Continuous Reporting is to provide immediate, targeted feedback to students around the time of submission of major assessment tasks. Teachers upload marks, results, and suggestions for improvement continuously throughout the year encouraging students to take on the advice provided.
Teachers & Technology
Teachers were provided with laptops in the early 2000s to prepare digital resources for students and improve their own skills. In 2011 teacher laptops were provided with high specification tablet computers to further improve teaching and learning outcomes. With this increase in technology, teachers have undergone extensive professional learning in not only using technology but also understanding how deeper learning can be facilitated.
Teachers’ laptops also improve workflows and curriculum delivery for a variety of learning styles. The college realizes that teachers need to not only access digital resources but also understand digital skills to prepare students for the world of work.
Student 1 to 1 Technology Ratio
In 2010, it was decided that integral to our Y9@E program, there would be an introduction of netbooks to each Year 9 student, provided by the college through The Federal Government Digital Education Revolution Funding. The netbook program began in earnest in 2011 and has continued with success at the Burwood Campus. With the introduction of iPads in 2013 to Year 7 students and BYOD policy at Years 11 & 12, the 1 to 1 ratio of technology has further enhanced opportunities for instance access to information and contemporary tools for learning.
In 2016 all Year 10 students were required to have a notebook/laptop computer to enhance their educational experience. After significant consultation with teachers and students, and an investigation of contemporary research into the effective use of ICT in schools, Emmaus College mandated the use of Notebook/Laptop computers for senior students.
Research indicates that senior secondary education requires students to complete more complex tasks. Notebook/Laptop computers have high-end capabilities which enable more timely and efficient completion of assessment tasks. From an educational perspective, there is also the need for students to understand communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving using digital resources. These important skills will be beneficial in virtually all professions once students enter the workforce.
After consulting extensively with the Emmaus community in 2017, a decision was made that all year 7 students will have a Windows laptop that has been sourced by the college. There was a realization that students need to be exposed to more complex software skills of manipulating data and digital file management strategies at the beginning of their secondary schooling.
With the construction of a state-of-the-art building at Vermont South in 2011 for senior students, the College needed to upgrade much of the wifi network. A full audit of both campuses took place and the Wifi network was extensively expanded and improved over both campuses. This was also to facilitate the use of mobile technologies.
In keeping up with new technologies, in 2014 the wifi network was upgraded to the new AC standard. This endeavours to improve the speed and reliability of the college wifi network.
The latest trend in ICT is the use of mobile devices to access online information. This has had a profound effect on education. Indeed much of the research in “The Horizon Report 2012”, which can be accessed at; http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2012-horizon-report-HE.pdf discusses and predicts the effects that changes in technology will have on education. The prediction that mobile apps and tablet computing will be the next “big” thing in education has eventuated. The allure to these new technologies is the immediacy, ease of use and portability in these “Maxwell Smart” type devices! In 2013, IPads were implemented at Years 7 and Year 9. This strategy has continued in 2014.
BYODD For VCE
The 2015, 2016 & 2017, Horizon Reports discuss the need for schools to embrace the BYODD (Bring your own designated device) policies to assist student access to information & learning. This policy enhances personalized learning as students are able to select a device that suits their preferences and learning styles. This policy was introduced at Emmaus at the end of the 2013 academic year.
Three main factors have facilitated this development;
- In the last few years, the number and types of mobile ICT devices have significantly increased.
- Devices are now cheaper and more compatible with existing wifi technologies
- The widening use of digital text books & novels further enhances the use of ICT mobile devices.
The Horizon Report also discusses new ICT trends like wearable technology and suggests that these will be influential in shaping education over the next 4 to 5 years. It will be interesting to see how this translates in a school environment.
The 2018 report discusses many aspects of new technologies. The rise of STEM learning, Coding as a Literacy, Computational thinking, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the changing roles of teachers and students are just some of the challenging topics ahead.
To read the full reports, click the following downloads:
Download: 2015-NMC Horizon Report
Download: 2016-NMC Horizon Report
Download: 2018_ NMC Horizon Report
The Emmaus community of students, parents and teachers have embraced many changes over the years with much positivity and optimism.
We look forward to the many challenges ahead!
At Emmaus, our motto has always been;
Have fun learning with ICT!