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Innovating with Digital Technology

News

18 September 2020

Innovating with Digital Technology

Innovating with Digital Technology

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting at our most recent TTEdCom event regarding Innovation and Digital Technologies. My brief was to offer a broad-brush stroke on where we are at re digital technologies in the business and in particular the classroom programs. I’d like to share with you an insight into my reflections and provide a couple of thoughts about where to next for Scotch as we set up for our next strategic plan. 

The first question I asked is Where is Scotch compared to other schools in the world of Technologies and Education?

The world of Edtech is an exciting place to be and we are continually going through iterations of growth and development. The very real fear is are we backing the right choice of software and hardware? Are we conscious of not fully utilising the platforms and applications we already work with? How do we determine when an application or approach to delivery is obsolete? What is trending and what is the next great white hope?  There are numerous questions in this space, and I won’t continue to list. However, I have come to think of it as we would think about the life cycle of the Eagle. I do this because as a symbol the Eagle by its very nature challenges us to have a different perspective and to position ourselves to be powerful and noble, inspiring yet considered and tests before it trusts.

To extend the metaphor the young eaglet is needy, the mature eagle is wise and adaptive to an ever-changing environment as they chose to weather the storm. The young eaglet learns from imitation of the adult bird stretching their wings and flapping in the sanctuary of their nest. Overtime the adult carefully deconstructs the nest. Removing the soft lining and structural twigs which make the nest less comfortable. The adult also chooses not to feed the eaglet. 

These strategic steps are all about the eaglet becoming a Fledgling. The fledgling is the adolescent bird learning to fly, learning the hazards of their environment, the challenges of life in the air, returning home frequently during their first weeks of flight. And if I were to position the Scotch journey in its current iteration of Edtech then then I would see us as a Fledgling.

I’d invite you to take a look at an engaging short movie created by the leader of our Digital Tech Team, Mr Michael Roberts. It gives a clear insight into the fledgling steps we are taking across the school in classrooms to find our way in the dynamic world of EdTech. We are engaging with the possibilities of the here and now... it’s exciting stuff.


 

 


We have a strong EdTech model with requisite component parts in place and this means we are well poised to keep growing our understanding and strength. We know it’s not perfect, but we are working on that and excited by the opportunities that new platforms will help us achieve. At the moment Nat Felkl and Rob Lee our Head of Information and Innovation are exploring how we can make a one stop shop for all parents that suits our communication needs. They have been doing extensive research and whilst the off the shelf models may serve most purposes it is not appropriate to put in place a solution which does not address the complex needs of our families. 

Our Digital Advisory Team Chaired by the remarkable Kerrie Campbell, SA Businesswoman of the Year, working with Teresa Hanel our Head of Teaching and Learning, are challenging us to be aspirational and position ourselves as one of Australia’s leading schools in this domain. Our Remote Learning model taught us we can effectively communicate with students or a whole class via an online platform. And that poses the question what will we do with the ability to enable ‘anywhere’ learning? And when we capture it through recording ‘anytime’ learning. There are boundless opportunities.

Each day our students come to school with an abundance of personal devices. Our classrooms and cocurricular programs require the use of some of them. A BYOD model where the interaction between school and personal life tools are morphed is very real. This of course has a number of implications for how we create manage and support this complex learning environment across both campuses. 

There is a pervasive integration of technology hardware and software within our classroom environments R-12. In the Senior School the software and hardware become far more sophisticated.  Our newer subject offerings including Sport Science, Advanced Analytics and Engineering and Technology are where we are able to really explore a variety of trending digital technologies. I won’t go into detail, but I would urge you to ask your students about how they are using technologies for assessment and learning. 

I would also like to plant the seed that whilst we have a plethora of software and some significant hardware resource across the College there is a need for us to challenge what sits behind these opportunities. This includes silo mentalities around who own what app for what purpose or group think around single use application. The behavioural implications of who owns technologies is problematic. There is no room for ego which leads to “power” dynamics in this space. Using technologies is about collaboration and as a school we must question the limitations of traditional structures – technologies break structures. 

This is our fledgling moment as we transition to adulthood in this EdTech cycle. It is going to be an exciting time developing a strategic plan that looks at the ways in which we may create opportunities to support innovation which will be a game changer in the Scotch story. We can’t just change because of a pandemic – we must now look at the real value add of new and emerging technologies and work out where we will take our next purposeful step in this journey. We may not yet have the flying cars promised in the 70s or the hover boards promised in the 90s, but we must keep scanning the horizon and taking steps to ensure the gulf between the old and new literacies in education do not widen. The time to make our move is upon us and we look forward to brilliant collaboration with all our community now that we have taken that bold first step!

This is the final Campus eNews for the term. It has been fantastic. We are in the throes of much celebration of student talents be it in the Arts - the Dance was spectacular this week or the Drama and Cabaret next week. Our sporting teams have excelled, and a great winter season has concluded. We have debaters in Grand finals and spring is well and truly here.

Have a great weekend.

Dale