2014 AIS Conference

Term 4 Newsletter 2014

In Term 4 the school hosted the Making IT AIS ICT Integration Conference.  The several staff members and students presented workshops on how we integrated technology into the teaching and learning at Loreto Normanhurst. It was a wonderful opportunity to see best practice and collaborate with colleagues from a range of schools about how we can improve the learning outcomes of the students.

In relation to understanding best practice it is important to have a broader understanding of how our students engage in the digital world and then leverage their interests in learning. The Digital Learning Playbook outlines ( based on US research)the range of student activities and aspiration in their digital learning. The findings are most informative and help shape decision making to augment learning  of the students.   Three of their findings are worthy of reflection.

·       “Girls outpace boys in use of many digital tools for learning, particularly the socially based tools like texting and collaborating online.”  To this end an activity carried out by by Ms Gupta’s yeYear 7 class with the support of an ICT integrator Mrs Thomsett indicates how we leverage this student preferences for engaged learning

·       “Students continue to report less regular interaction with traditional social networking sites like Facebook, while 44 percent of students in grades 6-12 report using social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. Nearly one-third of high school students reported using Twitter. “ From Loreto’s perspective we see it as important as understanding social media for communication through engagement, hence our encouragement of parents and students to positively  engage in the school’s social media platform of Facebook, Twitter and other web tools we use. 

·       “In four years, the percent of middle school students taking tests online increased from 32 percent to 47 percent.”  It is foreseeable that there will be online testing of  Naplan  though this could be delayed; perhaps even the HSC will travel the same path.   In preparation  we have been experimenting with tools such as Quia and we are investigating Learning Management Systems which will familarise our students with online testing format. 

What follows  is a report from MRs Gupta and Mrs Thomsett  on how learning has been enhanced to leverage web tools which allow for collaborating online which reflects the first finding identified above. 







Ms. Gupta’s year 7 geography class has been exploring the interaction between the physical environment and human activity in the Great Barrier Reef. Their main objective was to determine the negative impact of human presence on the environment and to identify a number of solutions to save this unique world heritage system.  As a class, they collated and published the results of their investigations on http://greatreefrescue.weebly.com/

The students worked in groups of three and each group researched a different species. An ICT group of students was in charge of the design of the website and the collection of all the students’ findings. Our ICT integrators at school assisted both the teacher and the students in the development of the project, providing important guidelines on how to select and use relevant digital information. They also suggested to students various methods on how to store and share data safely on the cloud.

Thanks to the collaboration between students, the teacher in charge and the ICT integrators, this task is an example of a PBL (Project-Based-Learning) which both the students and the teacher thoroughly enjoyed as it gave them the opportunity to learn about “the interactions of the physical and human elements” (Board of Studies NSW, 2001, Geography K-10 Syllabus, p. 27) through meaningful and engaging learning experiences.