Technology and learning

Computer technology and the Internet have changed our culture, leisure, and work, and have had a profound impact on learning. The role of the school and the teacher, especially in high school, is changing from communicating information and skills to empowering students themselves to find and process information. The processes of finding and creating information from data, arriving at a meaningful outcome, and evaluating this outcome, are becoming increasingly central in learning. We therefore endeavour to educate our students to be able to take advantage of this freedom and wealth of information in a responsible and fruitful way.

Access to computers is introduced in a limited fashion in classes 3 to 6 and expands throughout high school. We believe that there is no place for computers in our classrooms at an earlier age, as the abstraction inherent in working with computers does not support the strong foundation-building which we try to achieve at this stage. The introduction of the use of computers in primary school is timed to coincide with the need to manage increasing quantities of information as students move into high school.

In a human-centred school, technology needs to be integrated as a human activity. Information technology should be accessible and user friendly, so that people can become empowered and confident users. It is important that subject curricula reflect this approach, so students can become independent masters of this technology, rather than passive victims.

In our teaching and curriculum design we maintain an age-appropriate balance between process and content, so that students can critically evaluate the extraordinary quantities of information available via computers. The future holds changes beyond our current imagination, and only students with the confidence arising from meaningful application of IT will be able to take a proactive part in the future of broadband, multi media and virtual reality, and have the ability to adjust to a constantly changing world. We are also aware of the tendency to impose control and to monopolise information technology by the giants of the industry.

In awareness of the hidden curriculum, we endeavour to use software and hardware that is open source, democratic and inclusive. Collaboration is one of the keys to human centred learning and it should be encouraged by the choice and application of IT.

There is also an ethical dimension. Computers are increasingly powerful tools in the hands of individuals, and they can be used constructively or destructively. As a school, we have developed a culture of trust and sharing. Our students appreciate computers and the Internet as tools that help them to work together more productively and creatively and to produce quality work.

For students who might be experiencing difficulties in learning or in staying focused, computers provide an individualised work space and software tools to support their efforts.

We aim to prepare our students to be able to use IT confidently and ethically. We have established a code of conduct, which is based on trust and the acceptance of freedoms and responsibilities. This code has evolved with the increasing use of IT in the school and we regularly communicate to our students which responsibilities are involved with the use of this technology.

Environment and facilities - IT resources

Year 7 girls at computers at Korowal
Year 7 girls at computers
HSC student and teacher with laptop

Click images to enlarge