Teacher Angela Hendry is making a difference at Woree State Primary School where she is heavily involved in the implementation of digital technology to help improve students’ learning. She nominated to teach a trial iPad class in her grade 1 classroom this year, some with complex needs and verifications requiring a different approach in teaching. She set out to fill in her own knowledge around the device but also how to use it most effectively in classroom pedagogy. She has achieved an Apple Teacher certification in her spare time and is working towards Distinguished Apple Teacher certification.
The use of iPads and other ICTs has highlighted the abilities of all students. Angela has allowed the students to demonstrate knowledge in many KLAs verbally, using hands-on manipulatives, and record knowledge themselves on their tablets rather than sitting written tests. There has been a dramatic increase in not just the results but the self-efficacy and self-belief of Angela’s students. They are happy, engaged and learning at a faster pace. Last semester 38 per cent of the class had achieved a C grade or above in any Key Learning Area. This semester this proportion grew to 67 per cent in English, 78 per cent in Maths, 82 per cent in Geography, 84 per cent in History, 85 per cent in Science and 90 per cent in Design and Technology. “Although you would never know unless told, Angela has her own verified learning disabilities. She learned to read late in primary school and therefore relates easily to the frustrations of students who are having difficulty in class and she commits to working harder to help them feel successful and achieve. I believe her compassion and compelling need to be an advocate for the students who need someone to believe in them and advocate for them comes from her own struggles in life as a student. She is an outstanding teacher whom her children not only adore but learn from.” Deputy Principal Michelle Hanlon says. Various research is used to inform her practice: Cycle of Inquiry, Sprints process from Agile Schools, Simon Breakspear to identify groups for targeted explicit teaching, Putting Faces on the Data (Sharrat and Fullen, 2012) for creating and using data sets to track student progress and inform teaching, and Assessment Literate Learners process for a way to use teaching objectives and learning goals of her students. “It is very evident when you watch Angela engage with students that they feel secure, safe, and they belong. The students trust her, and she cares for and knows each of them individually. Angela uses her knowledge of the students and the safe and supportive environment she has fostered to find multiple ways they can access the curriculum, using the pedagogy which best suits each child,” Michelle says. Angela is the lead teacher working with the executive for building school policy and procedures around ICTs and the roll out of larger scale technology for use within the curriculum. She uses the SeeSaw app to show parents what students are learning on their phones throughout the day. Angela is already supervising pre-service teachers all of whom have spoken highly of their time with her. She has presented at staff meetings and participates in school activities. She continues to pursue professional learning including becoming parts of networks to share expertise and experiences amongst peers to improve her ability to meet student needs. Congratulations Angela on your nomination.