Newcastle High School, Hunter Central Coast Region
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Newcastle High School, Hunter Central Coast Region

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HT DER - The journey so far.

HT DER - The journey so far.

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  • 1. Head Teacher DER – Our Journey Newcastle High School Hunter Central Coast Region
  • 2. School Context Newcastle High School is a large, comprehensive school in the centre of Newcastle. It has strong links with its local community and active past student associations. Past and present students have contributed to a tradition of high academic achievement. The school has a strong heritage tradition and also reflects the diversity and strength of the city and region in its multicultural make-up. The school caters for a wide variety of students and provides a breadth of curriculum to cater for student needs. It aims to provide opportunities for all students to achieve a credential at the end of their schooling that will allow them the best choices for their future. One of the most significant features of the school is its promotion of tolerance and good citizenship among students within a caring and inclusive school environment. The school has a strong focus on welfare and individual student needs.
  • 3. The Project In Term 3, 2009 Newcastle High School created the Head Teacher DER position to support and implement the DER NSW laptop in the school. The strategies, administration and outcomes of the project are outlined in the following pages:
  • 4. Term 3 and Term 4 – 2009 Team DER established. Team DER was a group of teachers who put their hand up to become part of DER leading team in the school. In this period the professional learning offered by Sondra focussed on software, web 2 tools (through a school developed wiki) and using the laptops. While the students did not receive their laptops until late in term 4, the teachers were able to begin developing the skills necessary to change practice in their classroom. The team spent 4 x 2 hour after school sessions undertaking this learning. They were repaid with a ‘day of in lieu’ during Term 4. The HT DER also spent 2 periods with every staff member in the last week of school in term 4 going through the programs on the laptop. I organised for every staff member to have a laptop. Therefore every teacher at Newcastle High School had some training with the laptops in 2009.
  • 5. Term 1 and Term 2 - 2010 During Term s 1 and 2 Sondra scaled back the team DER approach and offered after school training in Moodle, Laptop Wraps, Web 2 Tools, and SMART Notebook. Attendance to these sessions was low and Sondra felt a level of complacency settle over the staff. She felt that the program needed an evaluation and re-vamp. Late in term 2, she re- focussed her program to accommodate this attitude in staff. She also became concerned with the spasmodic uptake across faculties and need for collaboration among staff. In short, the technology infrastructure had become part of the school, yet staff were not taking advantage of learning opportunities developed for them.
  • 6. Term 3 and Term 4 - 2010 The focus for this period has returned to Team DER. The team all applied, and the number of applications was more than the original Team Der in Terms 3 and 4, 2009. The focus of team DER training this semester will be adjusting programs to cater for the digital learning environment. The software and hands-on training focus will be on Moodle, ePortfolios, SMART Notebook and Web 2 Tools.
  • 7. Student Laptop Familiarisation HT DER spent 2 periods with each class of students. During this timeframe, students: Completed DET survey Learnt OneNote Learnt to logon Logged on to school Moodle Participated in some Digital Citizenship Program Microsoft Student tools Dictionary, encyclopaedia etc Learning Essentials Applications on the DER Learning Devices The school adopted a strict policy in terms of parent attending laptop information and Charter signing sessions. All but 15 of 220 parents joined the school at one of the parent information evenings. This was seen as an important part in the respect that students have for the machines in the school.
  • 8. Newcastle High School’s 21st Century Learning Space
  • 9. School Leadership Early in the DER Program the school decided that for sustainability and impact on the teaching and learning in the school as a whole that the 2 pillars of Infrastructure and Professional Development needed to be equally focussed on. Andrew had the belief that without both these areas being developed equally DER would not work. The school Technology Committee, which is chaired by the Andrew (DP) and attended by Principal (both English teachers), HT CAPA, HT HSIE, HT FATTS, contracted Computer Coordinator and Librarian, became the cornerstone of DER policy and implementation in the school. Andrew talks of their Der strategy of one of “building the pillars to scaffold the house”. These pillars are infrastructure and professional development.
  • 10. Infrastructure The school has invested over $40,000 in various technologies across the school. These include Interactive Whiteboards, 3 x 30 station computer rooms, mini computer labs for group work computers, re- designing of connected classroom into a learning space which allows for flexible and collaborative teaching and learning. The ubiquity of technology is now evident and this is believed to have a considerable impact on the adoption by teachers.
  • 11. Professional Development The Technology Committee and the executive decided to put considerable effort into shifting around positions in the school, and using the availability of supernumerary positions to create a HT DER position. Originally the position was set for 2010, but the committee decided to implement it from Semester 2, 2009. The position is funded through 6 periods from the timetable and $15,000 per year from the global school budget. An interview process decided the position. It is important to note that the teacher who took on this role was a keen technology enthusiast and early adopter, but not a specialist IT teacher. The position will continue through to Term 4, 2010 with further consideration to its continuation still underway. This is reviewed by the executive every term.
  • 12. Reflections The project has helped the school to develop sustainable lateral links between infrastructure and professional development. Staff are using more technology, therefore wanting to learn more. The flooding of school conversation and dialogue with technology news and updates through internal communication channels is also leading to more use of the infrastructure. The linkages between the 2 pillars mentioned above are leading to a sustainable change in practice across the whole school. While the development of a Head Teacher DER or eLearning etc. is recommended by Andrew, he does not however, recommend a prescriptive role statement for this position. For maximum impact and sustainability, the schools need to look at their individual needs and mould the role statement accordingly. What works for Newcastle High may not work for other schools. The position however, is a crucial part of 21st Century schooling. Professional development of the 2nd level of Team DER and further focus on moving existing programs into the digital learning era.
  • 13. Contact details Deputy Principal Head Teacher DER