Why introduce E-Learning?
E-Learning is an essential teaching tool in the current educational environment. Most importantly, it provides young people with the opportunity to develop the skills they will need to thrive in the 21st Century.
The challenge is to strike the right balance between retaining what we do very well currently, with teaching and learning at the forefront. Technology is only a tool to help enhance current practice.
This is often referred to as ‘blended’ learning. It isn’t appropriate to use technology 100% of the time. Teachers will encourage students to utilise their devices when it is appropriate in their lessons.
Our students need to be prepared for an increasingly digitalised world. There are more internet enabled devices than people in the world. Change is rapid and the opportunities endless. We need to engage in this digital world to remain relevant, make the most of these opportunities and prepare our students for ongoing learning and future careers.
WGHS E-Learning Journey To Date
2013 – BYOD Pilot Program began
Five Year 9 E-Learning Classes. Students opted into this program by choice.
2014 – 2nd Year of Pilot Program began
Five Year 9 E Learning Classes and further encouragement of using devices in Year 10.
2015 – All Year 9 BYOD
2016 – All Year 9 and 10 students utilised computing devices in their learning.
2017 – All students in Years 9-13 utilise computing devices in their learning.
During the past five years, significant progress has been made in Westlake Girls’ E-Learning journey. Staff and students are continually developing their understanding of a variety of digital tools and how they can be used to support the teaching and learning programs. In 2014, staff set the E-Learning vision for the school. Four key areas/skills were selected that staff identified would enhance their teaching.
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Creativity and Innovation
ERO’s report in 2015 made the following comments: “A well-considered e-learning vision is being implemented in stages to develop digital competencies for both staff and students. This vision uses the akonga principle of both adults and young people learning together.”
Google Apps for Education
The introduction of Google Apps for Education in 2015 has enabled both staff and students to utilise an effective platform to communicate, collaborate and manage work flow. Apps in the Google environment are used throughout the school already with both staff and students experiencing the benefits. When the activity suits, students are also encouraged to utilise apps/programs/tools on their devices that will enable them to complete a task. New etools are becoming available on a daily basis both inside the google environment as well as open source web based tools, teachers are continuing to explore the ways in which they can enhance the learning of the key E-Learning skills (listed above).
This provided our students with:
- Google Classroom
- Google Drive
- Google Docs (like Word)
- Google Slides (like Powerpoint)
- Google Sheets (like Excel)
- Google Sites
- Google Drawings
- Chrome Extensions and Add ons
For more information on Google Apps For Education please click here
Students have a number of very important responsibilities to ensure that they are able to work on their device when required.
Students need to charge their device each evening ready for the following day. There is not often the opportunity to charge their device during the day. Students whose devices go flat will be required to use pen and paper.
Students are responsible for their devices at school. All students must have a case for their device to help keep it safe when not in use. Students can hire lockers at the beginning of the school year if they so choose. In most Physical Education changing rooms, there are also lockers available for students to use with their own lock. As the device is owned by the student the school will not be involved in repairing any device. Devices are not covered under the school’s insurance policy, so families should ensure that their insurance policy covers their daughter’s device at school.
One of the benefits of working in an online environment such as google drive is that information is stored in the cloud, as well as being accessible offline. We encourage students to utilise these tools to prevent their work being lost or files being corrupted. Support will be given by their teachers to aid them in learning these skills.
Support for Students – The Tech Wizards
The Tech Wizards are a student run support group to help any Westlake Girls High School students. They are available every lunchtime for students to ask questions and get guidance on performing a task on their device.
This group also provides a help website which is growing all the time with information on how to do common tasks. This can be found on http://wghstechwizard.weebly.com/
Students can submit questions and request help via this website. Students are encouraged to visit this when they are unsure of how to complete a specific task using their device.
Parents are also welcome to utilise this website and support centre.