Technology surrounds us and has very much become an everyday part of life. Today, most students have some sort of device to support their learning. When integrated into lessons in ways that are aligned with good teaching, technology has great potential to enhance student achievement. We saw this earlier in the year when our lessons were delivered in an online platform. Throughout that period, Girls Grammar:
delivered 2,000 hours of video lessons
held 105,601 chat messages
held 3,409 group calls
made 6,454 one on one calls.
These figures are in stark contrast to data released recently that reported that almost 1 in 3 Qld students did not have regular contact online with their teachers during the home learning period. The paper, Parents’ perspectives on home-based learning in the COVID-19 pandemic, showed about 40% or 1.25 million students in NSW, Victoria & Qld may have fallen behind while learning at home.
The challenge today is to ensure we are using technology to enhance learning. Having a device is not sufficient, nor is it enough to simply use them to locate information or engage in entertainment. Within a school, technologies can be used to enhance learning in five ways:
bringing curricula based on real-world problems into the classroom;
providing scaffolds and tools to enhance learning;
providing opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision;
building local and global communities; and
expanding opportunities for teacher learning (National Research Council, 2000).
As we begin to renovate our classrooms, we will be incorporating technologies that enhance the use of laptops as a learning tool. Installation of monitors and wireless screen mirroring technology, which will occur in Primmer 4 and 5 this year and other classrooms next year, will support the provision of more flexible learning environments. Features such as screen sharing, video, and feedback tools allow teachers to provide and differentiate learning activities that will develop 21st century skills. Students can use the tools to collaborate, discuss and solve problems, and analyse resources. They can control the technology and multiple presentations can occur simultaneously.
In the early stages of 2021, we will focus on teacher training to build their capacity to use the technology to deliver new and more effective ways of teaching and learning. We are looking forward to the first trial stage of these new technologies and to future developments in this space.
Year 12, 2020 – External Examinations
In what has been a challenging year already for our Year 12s, they are about to become Queensland’s first cohort of seniors to sit external examinations in about four decades.
Our teachers have done a great job of guiding and supporting the seniors over their time at Girls Grammar and particularly over the last two years as they have worked towards the attainment of their Queensland Certificate of Education. The girls have recently received feedback from their mock examinations and teachers have provided targeted advice around areas to study as well as tips for approaching the examinations. The QCAA has released most internal results and the girls enter the examinations with a good idea of their progress to date. Nonetheless, preparing for examinations that are worth up to 50% of their final grade, and could assess work covered up to 12 months ago, may be daunting for some.
To support students and their parents to navigate this, the QCAA has developed a range of resources which is available at myqce.qcaa.qld.edu.au. Included in the resources is an external examination guide that includes timetables, examination specifications and equipment requirements. A suite of external assessment videos is also available to help students prepare. The videos provide insights about the assessments and include tips and advice from the QCAA’s learning area managers.
Year 12’s Final Week of Classes
As it is their final week of formal class attendance, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our seniors on the successful completion of 13 years of schooling. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions each one has made and to thank them for the leadership, not just over the last year but throughout their time at the school. Some have been prefects, some have led sporting activities, guided those who are in the musical or led the ensembles. Others have organised activities at lunchtime; they have played with younger girls; read to them; tutored them; guided them. They have been great big sisters.
I would also like to acknowledge all those students who have come to school every day, determined to do their best and achieve their best. I’d like to thank those who have consistently applied themselves to their learning, to those who have had a positive attitude, who have shown resilience, helped and guided others and just lived out the values of our school each and every day.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank all the parents, carers, teachers and significant adults who supported our girls throughout their schooling journey. The success of our girls has much to do with the strong bonds and support networks they have had along the way. They are the young women they are today because they have had individuals who cared for them, mentored them, gave freely of their time to attend school functions, helped them with their homework, and advocated for them.
No matter when our Year 12s commenced their time at Girls Grammar, they have all made a difference and their presence will be missed. We look forward to celebrating their time at Girls Grammar in our farewell events after the external examinations and to hearing about their future achievements and successes.
National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/9853.
P&F Meet and Greet
This morning we were joined by a small group of parents for coffee at our first ever Meet and Greet. Hosted by the P&F, the meet and greet is a casual opportunity for parents to drop in, grab a coffee and chat with staff and other parents in an informal setting. We will be hosting one meet and greet each term next year so please look for them on the 2021 calendar. If you are free on one of the mornings, we would love the opportunity to say hello, check in with you and just get to know our community. My thanks in particular to Sharon Graham for providing us with our coffee machine and coffees this morning.