From the Principal

Welcome back to Term 3!

Despite lessons stopping for the holiday break, school has remained an active place with the OOSH Holiday Program running at full speed and the long ‘to do’ list being caught up on by our maintenance and cleaning team.

Last week Year 10 completed their work experience program and I would like to thank these students for the positive way they represented the school. Our staff ring and speak with each of the employers, who consistently comment on the excellent approach our students take and invariably offer to host William Carey students in future years.

Our staff spent last week receiving professional development in a number of areas including the delivery of differentiated lessons to meet the learning needs of a wide range of students in their classrooms. They have also been preparing for the term ahead. And what a term! We have Years 9 and 11 subject selection and K-10 parent-teacher nights, the Creative Arts cocktail night and of course Mary Poppins. Tickets are selling fast so book yours to avoid missing out!

Our staff have also met in study groups to discuss the book A Praying Life by Paul E Miller. This biblically based book has been extremely encouraging for our staff, prompting them to think through the essential role of prayer in the life of Christians. I would like to remind the school community that our school staff regularly meet and pray for individuals and groups within our community. We also have a parent prayer group that meets weekly to pray for our school community. All are welcome to attend this prayer meeting.

WCCS Building Fund
I would like to thank members of the William Carey community for their generosity in donating to the building fund. Donations this year amounted to almost $50,000. These funds will go a long way to help the school and maintain our school’s resources. This in turn will allow us to establish exciting new programs to improve the learning opportunities for our present and future students. I look forward to announcing these projects in further newsletter articles.

The Future of ICT and BYOD at William Carey
The future of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at William Carey has been a focus of the school leadership this year. We believe that, to equip our students well as 21st Century learners, the effective use of ICT, blended with teaching that places student learning at the centre of lesson activity, must be a characteristic of our school’s classrooms.

ICT has become a key tool in effective education allowing students to learn beyond the constraints of the four walls of the classroom or the school bell and timetable. The effective use of ICT also enables teachers to quickly determine the extent of student learning using online and interactive resources. Gaining data quickly will allow teachers to modify learning activities to meet the needs of a wide range of learners more effectively.

The use of ICT at Carey is not about the substitution of paper and pens with digital technology. Rather, we will be using ICT to augment and modify learning for our students. ICT also provides new opportunities for students to experience whole lesson activities that would not be possible without ICT. In this sense, we will also be redefining learning through ICT.

For a number of years, our school has run a voluntary ’bring your own device’ (BYOD) program, which has been utilised by many senior students. We are now moving to expand this program over the next three years. This expansion will require students from Year 5 up to bring their own device to school for lessons. The school will be providing ICT devices for lessons involving technology for students in Prep-Year 2. Students in Years 3 and 4 may participate voluntarily in BYOD with technology support provided by the school.

We are already utilising a number of strategies (in regular lessons or as pilot programs) that will be further enhanced through the use of ICT in classrooms. These current strategies include the use of the Google education suite by students and ‘flipped learning’ and screen casting by teachers. We are also running a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) pilot program this semester with plans to extend this across Year 7 in 2018. The collaborative nature of STEM is enhanced when students have ready access to ICT.

2018 will also see the implementation of new NESA syllabi for Year 11 courses in English, Mathematics, Science and History. Our teachers have used this opportunity of change, to prepare and write programs that include the embedded use of ICT.

To allow for a smooth adoption of mandatory BYOD learning for all students, a three year phase in schedule has been planned. This does not prevent a family from joining earlier than this timeline. Below is the implementation timeline:

Naturally, this news immediately raises many questions about how this program will look and impact school families. The school will be sending information to families through this term to address questions regarding matters such as:

  • Types of devices
  • Family finances
  • eSafety
  • Learning with ICT

The school will not be mandating a specific device for all students; rather we will provide details of minimum specifications plus suggestions of device types that would be appropriate for different ages of students, be cost effective and provide longevity.

We have also been working to develop a P-12 program of good digital literacy and citizenship to support students in wise use of ICT. We will also be providing support to families with information resources to help your children adopt healthy habits of ICT use at school and home.

Families will have the opportunity over the coming two terms to seek information and provide feedback at parent information evenings. The introduction of BYOD at William Carey will make a significant change to how learning occurs and the school will support students, families and staff in the introduction of BYOD.

The change to BYOD at William Carey will pose a number of challenges. The school leadership has established an ICT steering committee who are working to identify issues before they arise. This committee is working to provide a well supported transition for students, their families and staff. Despite the prospect of new challenges, this change will result in an exciting future for our students, preparing them as lifelong learners, to be well equipped and wise users of ICT.

 

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (HCSB)

Keith McMullen,
Principal