I am currently in my third year of being a classroom teacher, at Montmorency Primary. During my time teaching, I have taken on a range of roles to extend my skills/knowledge and provide greater opportunities for the school and students in IT.
However, teaching wasn’t my first qualification. After completing my high school education, I was awarded a Vice Chancellor's Scholarship to Swinburne University of Technology. Here I studied a Bachelor of Business with a double Major in Management and Human Resources. To complement this course, I spent a Semester in Monterrey, Mexico studying at ITESM, Technologico De Monterrey.
After beginning my teaching career at Montmorency Primary in 2014, it immediately struck me how much the school was lacking in all areas regarding IT. I took on the role as ICT/eLearning coordinator in 2015 (only my second year teaching) and used my own initiative to provide myself with professional development and networks with local schools. This allowed me to develop an IT program throughout the school which addressed the diverse learning needs of students. When I embarked on this role, I didn't quite anticipate how fast the role would grow- this was fuelled by my passion and enthusiasm to introduce a multitude of programs.
• ICT Coordinator: I have developed and monitor a 4 Year ICT Plan which is closely related to the School Strategic Plan.
• eLearning Coordinator: researching/sourcing innovative eLearning programs for students and assisting in implementing them into the curriculum.
• ICT student leadership team: 2016 saw the introduction of an ICT student leadership team (years 1-6) with a male and female leader from each year level.
• Code club: I have led the implementation of the Code Club program from years 3-6 which has been a huge success.
• Student Blogs: Years 1-2 are currently piloting an individual student blog program created by myself using the Global 2 Edublogs platform.
• Website Co-manager: Creation and upkeep of school website.
• Compass Coordinator: I am fully trained in the Compass School Manager system and am instrumental in the roll out process in our school. This includes: online attendance, online parent communication and online reporting.
• Reports Coordinator: I have trained all staff in the new reporting program and coordinate all school reports.
• Digital Licenses: 2015 saw our first year of Grade 6s completing their eSmart Digital License.
• eSmart School: I have been leading our school towards becoming eSmart accredited.
The easiest part of this process was the ideas- I have never been in short supply of engaging IT programs to benefit both the school and its students. However, since this was an area of the school which had never had any leadership, I was starting from scratch. I had to use my own initiative to research programs such as Compass, Code Club and Edublogs, before making suggestions to my leadership team to implement these ideas. I attended network meetings with local schools to see what they were doing in this space, spoke with friends who had roles in IT or teaching and spoke with parents at the school and others in the school community. Hours were poured into these projects, particularly the blog pilot program, but the implementation of these programs with students was worth every second. I wanted to ensure that programs were accessible to all students.
I am proud of my efforts to implement a strong IT program at my school, I am particularly proud of my efforts considering this is my only my third year teaching- I'm technically still a graduate! I have received only positive feedback from parents in regards to what their children are achieving and the ease of communication that Compass has brought. But undoubtedly the best response, has been that of the students. It has been heart warming to see the student who struggles with social skills at school (due to his Aspergers) be able to go home and use his blog to network with his peers by commenting on their posts; or the students who have shied away from leadership roles such as Junior School Council as they don't like public speaking, now creating online surveys for their peers and supporting their peers in their eLearning; the girls who have put their hands up to be leaders in IT and have relished in responsibility; and finally, the students who have always found school and its curriculum a challenge, finally finding a niche and being able to excel in an area to gain skills and grow confidence.
There are two main areas of resistance which I have encountered over the last 18 months. The first of these, has been resistance to change. It has taken a lot of effort and energy to get other staff on board in regards to new technology and programs. One area in particular that I have had to provide extensive PD to staff, was for the roll out of Compass. I found the best way to overcome this resistance was to ensure staff felt supported and had a full understanding of the technology before being asked to implement it. It was also important that staff understood the full benefits of Compass before using it.
Another area of difficulty was female involvement- particularly in regards to Code Club. I continue to attempt to tackle this issue in a number of ways. As my ICT student leadership team is 50% female, I try to get the girls to promote it to others as much as possible. Next term I am planning on some of the girls who have created programs in Code Club to present their work during assembly. Finally, I use myself as a positive role model as a woman in ICT!