It's All About the People

We use a lot of technology at Mount Ousley. But that doesn’t mean for a single moment that we’re a technology focused school. We are not.

In fact, we have two simple focuses that underpin everything we do: people and learning. Everything else is of secondary importance.

Our school is a people place. It’s a place that we want everyone to feel genuinely connected to. It’s a place where every child is nurtured to feel they belong; to know that this school is a place for them. We are a school where relationships and wellbeing matter more than anything else.

Our school is also a place of learning. Not your 1960s style rote learning, but rather, learning that ignites passion. Learning that makes children want to come to school. Learning which sparks curiosity and is seen by children to be important. Learning that is relevant in 2016. Learning that is greatly enhanced by the caring relationships which abound.

It is within this context that the technology exists. Technology is not used in dull ways at our school. It’s not an expensive toy used to play time wasting games. Rather, it’s used as a means to creatively explore and build understandings of things that matter. It’s an integral part of daily routines, connected to the world’s largest library and with capacity to support whatever learning tasks students undertake in ways that other resources simply cannot.

Does every student need their own connected device? Our belief is yes! Absolutely!

Imagine coming to school and being asked to share a pencil or exercise book. We would never dare do that. Imagine the time that would be wasted and productivity lost if students had to wait to use a shared device to research content, write a blog post or complete some other online task.

It just doesn’t make any sense to unnecessarily restrict access to the greatest learning resource we can put in the hands of a child. We want every single child to be immersed in their learning and to be as productive as they possibly can be. We want every child to be able to express and share their learning in ways that are engaging and meaningful to them, at times that are appropriate for learning to be most effective. This requires personal devices.

But what about the financial cost of these devices? We never had anything like an iPad or laptop when we were kids, right? So why would kids need their own now?

Quite simply, because the world has changed. We now live in a world dominated by increasingly complex technologies which permeate every aspect of our lives. Surely, school systems need to embrace existing technologies in whatever ways they can, in order to set children up for success in a future where unimaginable technologies and jobs will exist. To do anything less would be to do students a huge disservice.

Another very important reason to utilise 1:1 technology wherever and whenever it’s appropriate, is engagement. Research tells us that children who grow up to be early school leavers, begin to make the decision that school is not for them at a very young age. This is a problem which needs addressing and technology can play a pivotal role. In addition to the other reasons listed above, technology is one of the most effective resources we have to engage children and get them to maintain a connectedness with learning.

For decades, school systems have deliberately tried to isolate classroom learning from the real world. It’s way past time that this 20th century paradigm shifts to one where every child uses technology as they would a pencil or book. It doesn’t mean getting rid of pencils and books; it just means valuing and utilising as much as we can, the most powerful learning and engagement tools we are able to access.

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