2011 Laptop Program Introduced

By the end of Week 4 Term 1 all Year 7-11 students had in their possession a laptop as part of the Loreto Normanhurst’s 1:1 Laptop Program.  In addition, Year 12 students can access school laptops and bring in their own.

There are two arms of support for the students in the 1:1 Program.

Firstly, the students can access to The ICT Help Desk where small issues can be attended to quickly and when required students are issued with a “hot swap”.   As you can imagine then girls arrive with a range of requests from warranty issues through to accidental damage such as cracked screens and hinges.

Secondly, students are supported by all their teachers as well as five ICT Integrators whose role is to assist in the integration of technology into the teaching and learning at Loreto.  In addition, your daughters’ teachers undertook a series of Breakfast Club professional development initiatives at the end of 2010 to support their teaching with laptops in the classroom. This was supplemented with additional professional development for all staff in the recent school holidays.

A snapshot of Term 1 will give you an idea of what support has been provided to the students. ICT Integrators provided introductory training when the laptops were issued. This involved demonstrations of the basic operational features of Windows 7, how to connect to school printers and how to connect to wireless at home. In the following weeks the ICT Integrators visited a selection of year groups and classes to trouble shoot any issues the girls were experiencing in the classroom.

At the end of Term 1 the ICT Integrators evaluated the term’s activities.   Here is an example of one project involving all of Year 8:

“I have been involved in developing resources for the Year 8 Integrated Learning, Design and Technology task that will take place in Term Two. This task requires the students to redevelop Wentworth Point, Sydney Olympic Park. I have been developing Photoshop resources that have been placed in a SMART Notebook presentation. This presentation will be accessed by all students of Year 8 as an online learning tool. The task requires the students to work in Company teams of approximately three students where they take on roles such as Environmental Consultant, Marketing Consultant and Community Development Officer. I have been working to create a shared OneNote file that the students will upload to a Company Wiki on the Year 8 Student Portal. This will be where the students will share and create resources for their company and pitch their ideas for the redevelopment of Wentworth Point. The students will have access to online tutorials that have been developed with the use of Captivate. The tutorials will help the students to understand how to create online resources for their Company.“  

In the 1:1 Program the support provided for student learning with technology is based on three principles; individual needs support, project based learning for classes, faculty area or year groups, such as the quoted example, and support for needs of future learning such as possible video conferencing with other schools. For the time being here are some examples of activities undertaken to date.

  • Year 8 Drama and Year 10 Integrated learning students are making use of blogs to assist in learning .
  • Year 7 students had a 1:1 Orientation which included a talk by an occupational therapist and an ongoing scaffolded program of induction and pre testing developed by one of the Loreto 5 members and supported by the Year 7 advisors .
  • All Year 7 boarders and new boarders in other years had afternoon sessions providing guidance and support in their used of laptops.
  • Years 7-10 have been addressed concerning the appropriate use of social media.
  • The Faculty Heads have mapped out a scope and sequence of ICT skills they would like to teach in there subject areas and this is reviewed twice a term in their regular meetings as a group and in their individual faculty meeting.
  • ICT Integrators have been providing individual training and support for teachers.  These skills flow through to the students in the use of OneNote and Smartboards in the classroom, the use of Audacity , Photoshop and Premier Pro  for podcasting, image manipulation and movie making and the use of the School Portal for  online learning, document management and drop boxes for student collaboration.
  • Increasingly staff are making greater use of a variety of web 2.0 tools which aid classroom learning such as Delicious, Diigo, Google Sketch up and Edmodo.

Term 1 was a busy and productive time, though there is still a lot to do in this 1:1 Journey.  Increasingly, as the novelty of possessing their own “personal learning device” wears off, the girls will fine tune the use of their laptops to assist their learning.   Our aim, in partnership with teachers and parents, is for the girls to come to the conclusion that the laptop is just one of many tools that they and their teachers can use to help their learning and understanding.