21st Century Learning
St Clare’s is a 1:1 learning environment. The College is on a journey to become an Apple Distinguished School and as such all students are currently required to have either a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air to use in their everyday learning. The College chose Apple because of the seamless integration between their applications, allowing greater opportunity for creativity. We look forward to our strong partnership continuing in 2018.
In 2017 the College began a BYODD journey with our Year 7 students. This is a big transition for the College as we begin to hand control of devices back to parents and students. We are monitoring the process closely to ensure no student is disadvantaged. There are processes in place for students to access replacement devices on a daily or short term basis. More information on the BYODD program can be accessed through the SCS Portal. (Unfortunately at this point in time there is no agreement between SCS and Apple for parents to access Apple’s Education pricing on devices.)
Our philosophy towards the implementation of technology into the classroom is a very much a ‘blended approach’. Throughout a school day each student at St Clare’s should encounter a variety of learning opportunities using both traditional and 21st Century methods. With laptops having been an integral part of most schools for the last decade we are starting to see some valid research emerging around the use of technology in and around learning. The College is continually examining these emerging trends to ensure we are getting the balance right in the types of learning opportunities we provide for our students.
St Clare’s works closely with experts from Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) to ensure all teaching and learning programs are delivered according to NESA (formerly BOSTES) guidelines. Sydney Catholic Schools have their own layer of accountability for their schools to ensure staff continually strive to improve their skills. The College’s Strategic Plan is one such tool that is used to constantly monitor the effectiveness of what we do here at St Clare’s. Staff are also offered numerous professional development opportunities by SCS that connect to the College’s Strategic Plan.
Sydney Catholic Schools provide a number of resources to all students across the system to ensure not only are they accessing applications to enhance their learning but are also safe when working online.
All students access Cloudshare, which is the virtual learning space where students and teachers can collaborate effectively and safely. Cloudshare use Google Apps for Education as its foundation so students work within the Google platform. All students have Gmail accounts and save work in the Google Drive folders. Teachers are able to monitor and communicate directly with students through the Hapara Dashboard platform.
Students also have access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite if they are engaging in subjects requiring access to this software. This initiative began in 2017 and will continue to available in 2018.
Keeping students safe online is a major priority for Sydney Catholic Schools. Currently they are using the Zscaler platform to ensure all staff and students have the best protection possible when working in the virtual world.
The College is also mindful of the impact of new technologies on students. We will be continuing to develop our wellbeing programs to increase the ability of our students to navigate their way successfully through the online world. The use of technology by young people is constantly evolving. This recently released video highlights the most up to date statistics on the use of social media by young people in Australia.