At this point in time as we start to plan for 2012 it is time to reflect on the successes and failures of our initiatives for 2011.
One of our successes has been the successful implementation of MacBooks into two more year groups. At the start of 2011 our Year 9 students received a MacBook as part of the DER funding. This was our fourth and last group to receive a MacBook under the original funding agreement provided by the then Rudd Labor Government. I am sure we will look back on the DER as one of the great initiatives by any government in education. It is a little bizarre to think there has been so much criticism about the program.
Our Year 7 students received their MacBook under a new initiative through the Sydney Catholic Education Office. The students receive their MacBook under a ‘rental’ agreement much like a lease the payments are spread over a three year period. At the end of the ‘rental’ period the school students will have the option to keep their MacBook for a specified fee. It is anticipated that they will either undertake a new ‘rental’ agreement in Year 10 or receive a DER funded machine should that program be ongoing.
Both cohorts have been enthusiastic in their approach to using the MacBook. We surveyed staff and students in Term 2 and the responses were very positive.
The College now has 5 out of the 6 year groups with a MacBook. The Year 8 students will commence their program at the start of 2012 and it is anticipated they will be one of the last groups to receive the MacBook 13inch. This model is being discontinued but has proven to be a very durable performer. We have been delighted with the performance of the machine and hope that the next device issued to students will prove just as dynamic.
Another success has been the implementation of a project based learning approach in Year 7 this year. This initiative was taken to complement the MacBook program and provide the staff and students with a different model to examine as a way of moving forward in terms of teaching and learning. It came about through the work of the Professional Learning Team in 2010 which was funded through AGQTP and the CEO iLearn Projects. The PLT members continue to meet to fine tune and develop the PBL approach in Year 7. We are looking to expand this further in 2012 with a particular focus on individual KLA’s.