Better digital teaching and learning tools
The rollout is part of the Rural Access Gap program, a key component of the department's Schools Digital Strategy (SDS), which is a seven-year program to create connected, collaborative and digitally-enabled schools.
The first commitment is to lift the digital capability of rural and remote schools through digital teaching and learning tools, faster internet access, and professional support under the Rural Access Gap program.
Students will get improved access
Students will benefit from improved access to devices, delivered in tandem with the annual T4L Computer Equipment Rollout, and now more than 12,000 teachers will have access to a new device to drive digital uplift across the school community.
The delivery of portable devices will also open up opportunities for greater collaboration, and personalised flexible learning.
Dubbo Public School Assistant Principal and teacher Stacey Barlow, who was one of the first to receive a portable device under the program, said it has made classes more engaging and motivating for students.
“I use mine to plan lessons, particularly in reading groups where I use Google Classroom to set tasks for individual students, so I can differentiate lessons and cater to their needs,” Assistant Principal and teacher Stacey Barlow said.
Real-time data on student progress for easier planning
The SDS will also allow for greater visibility of student development. Access to real-time data on student progress will give teachers more control over how they plan for classes and enable more tailored and personalised learning opportunities linked to student needs.
Dubbo Public School Principal Debbie Pritchard said portable devices allow teachers to readily collect and analyse data in collaboration with colleagues.
Dubbo PS Principal Debbie Pritchard (left) with Assistant Principal Stacey Barlow.
“I give our teachers collaborative planning days. They sit down together, analyse the data, work out where the students are at, and work out where they need to go next,” Dubbo Public School Principal Debbie Pritchard said.
Supported by a Digital Classroom Officer
Teachers will have access to professional development, support, and resources to ensure they get the most out of their new digital tools. All devices have been tested as fit-for-purpose for use in the classroom with support available through EDConnect and the ICT Field Operations team.
And for four terms, the Rural Access Gap program will provide funding for a school-appointed Digital Classroom Officer (DCO), who will help guide their school community through the digital uplift.
Stacey said the DCO at her school has been helpful for guidance and troubleshooting.
“It’s really good just knowing there’s someone you can touch base with and say ‘Hey, I need help with using this program’ or ‘Can you troubleshoot this for me?’” she said.
“Knowing DCOs will invest that time makes it a lot easier for us,” teacher Stacey Barlow said.