Chris Needle

Technologies That Enhance Student Learning

“Technology will never replace great teachers, but in the hands of great teachers, it’s transformational.” – George Couros (The Innovator’s Mindset)

A digitally literate student is one that understands the relationships among technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and appropriate stewardship of information. Equally, digital literacy embraces the skills to participate actively in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community (Becker, 2019). However, such a skillset is often taken for granted or described as assumed knowledge, and the explicit teaching of digital skills is vital. Likewise, it is important to acknowledge in educational settings that access to information is not the same as knowledge. The ability to select and act with both respect as well as responsibility is fundamental. Digital literacy is a prerequisite for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship (Santos & Serpa, 2017).

Creativity and innovation have to be fostered. At St Aloysius, all programs of study acknowledge the need to prepare our students for a core baseline of digital skills and responsible behaviors that align with the core values of the school. From a perspective of teaching and learning, our students have the platform to use technology to enhance the future-proofed 21st-century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, ranging from the collaborative spaces in OneNote, class pages on SEQTA, and interactive learning platforms such as EdRolo, Maths Pathways, or Education Perfect. Likewise, the abilities to analyse and determine fact from fiction are vital research skills. The ability to synthesise information across the Humanities, Health, and Religious Education curricula allows our students to dispel myths and stereotypes that exist in society. It is important to acknowledge that digital literacy is a component of a holistic student experience as the digital world is continually evolving, but the fundamental skills remain, and analysis, evaluation, and comparison can be developed in all realms of learning.

Technological prowess is gained through pedagogically sound and structured learning experiences. The research-informed practice that St Aloysius employs is based upon the consistent findings that students require technological skills or competencies to become information literate and understand the new tools for working. Furthermore, OECD, PISA, and UNESCO reports all concur that students need to be equipped with a holistic education comprising core knowledge, global social understanding, and transferrable skills to make connections between learning material alongside global citizenship (Marope, Griffin & Gallagher, 2019). However, all students with these skills have a greater level of responsibility. On an individual level, all students have to take personal responsibility for organisation; we do not need 20 documents entitled Doc1 saved in Downloads! Every subject has a OneNote where all learning in every lesson can be documented; every subject requires a folder set up in Documents on the device as well as OneDrive. There are really no excuses for misplacing work. Likewise, responsible interactions which reflect the core values of the school and the community. You need to think before posting in a public forum, as well as considering the occasions when artificial intelligence should be appropriately used as all of our platforms are visible and transparent. The core values of the school revolve around Respect and Courage; these are at the forefront of our minds in all learning spaces.

Chris Needle
Assistant Principal, Curriculum Design and Innovation