Home' Teacher : November 2009 Contents 42 TEACHER NOVEMBER 2009
In Year 10, as part of the integration of
ICT in the area of Science and Maths, stu-
dents work with engineering mentors from
UniSA. Over a term, students construct and
engage in the programming of robots, using
skills like soldering, programming and elec-
In using the HP notebooks and Tablet
PCs provided under the grant, students will
have access to technology when required
rather than waiting for the technology to
be available. Flexible access to technology
will allow them to program alongside the
robot they're building, so they don't have to
wait until a computer room is available, thus
facilitating the integration of ICT within the
robotics program. The flexibility and size
of a Tablet is an advantage in a classroom
environment where varied activities are tak-
As part ofthe grant, professionaldevelop-
ment opportunities have meant the project
team leaders have time to plan, prepare,
implement and evaluate the project. Work-
ing with the International Society for Tech-
nology in Education (ISTE) has challenged
us to focus areas such as:
integrating the full power of the Tablets,
The HP Innovations in Education grant
has provided us with the technological and
profes sional development infrastr uctu re to
integrate ICT into our robotics program.
Flexible access to technology allows our
students to work at their own pace in the
construction and program ming of their
The program exposes students to alter-
native career and subject choices they may
not otherwise consider. It's important that
we equip our young people with skills that
are transferable and that enable them to
become lifelong learners.
Giovann a Iannicelli is the Technology
Coordinator at St Mary s College,
Staff and students at Our Lady of Mercy
College (OLMC) in Sydney are using tech-
nology to develop their understanding of
scientific concepts, assisted through one
of Hewlett Packard's (HP) Innovations in
Education grants. The new equipment and
professional development support provided
by HP is already changing teaching and
learning in ou r Science classrooms.
Using a range of hardware and software,
including 29 HP Tablet PCs, we're redesign-
ing the learning experience in the Biology
classroom over the next two years. The
teachers leading the project will evaluate
the impact of the technology on teaching
and learning as well as changes in students'
attitude towards Biology.
For most students this is the first time
they've used one and they've responded very
positively. Adding hand-drawn diagrams to
word-processed lab reports is now possible,
and chemical and mathematical equations
can now be added to documents with ease.
In Biology classrooms, the Tablet PCs
will be used in conjunction with digital eye
pieces to allow students to capture and anno-
tate images of cells and other microscopic
organisms. They'll also be able to download
experimental and field trip results collected
using dataloggers with various sensors to the
Tablets. They'll then be able to process their
results, analyse the data and incorporate
them in their lab and field trip reports.
The Tablets will also make it easier for
students to work on problem-based learning
activities, where students typically work at
their own pace to solve problems and com-
plete interactive learning activities prepared
by the teacher. Resou rces for these activi-
ties are accessible via the school's e-learning
Exploring the potential of the Tablet
PCs, teachers immediately identified the
ease with which Tablets allow them to cre-
ate and practise using resources for use on
the school's interactive whiteboards (IWBs).
The Tablet's stylus works in the same way as
the pen works on an IWB so teachers know
how a resource will work on the IWB ahead
of their lesson. Classrooms without an IWB
can connect a Tablet to a data projector as
a handy alternative.
Teachers involved in the project are
developing their own learning program,
supported by the International Society for
Technology in Education, to build knowl-
edge and learn new skills in their areas of
interest. For OLMC teachers, professional
learning will involve researching how other
schools are using Tablets in Science and
developing further skills in the use of the
software provided by HP.
We think this technology will lead stu-
dents to greater use of online resou rces and
will steer them to more student- centred
approaches, with students likely to be
involved in more project and group work.
Never in their wildest dreams would the
Sisters of Mercy who taught the first cohort
of students at the college 120 years ago have
anticipated some of these revolutionary
changes in teaching and learning.
Pascale Warnant is ICT Integrator and acting
Assistant Science Coordinator at Our Lady
of Mercy College, Sydney. Sheila Peres Da
Silva is a Science teacher and ICT Integrator.
Rhoda Patrick is a Science teacher.
Redesigning the learning experience
TEACHERS ARE USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO BUILD
KNOWLEDGE AND LEARN NEW SKILLS, AS PASCALE WARNANT,
SHEILA PERES DA SILVA AND RHODA PATRICK EXPLAIN.
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