At Highfields State Secondary College, new Digital Technologies teacher Gerard Atzeni has already made an impact. “He builds positive relationships with his students where they actively seek additional academic support for their Digital Technologies assessments and lesson work,” Head of Department eLearning Simon Vrisema says. Gerard, with an initial degree in Software Development, is able to communicate high level concepts around coding/programming to his students. “He delivers his lessons using a blended learning model with eLearning platforms as the focus for content/resource delivery providing students’ access to materials at school and home.” Simon says.
With highly structured recaps of prior learning at the beginning of each lesson; delivery of comprehensive guides and video tutorials, and regular feedback on assessment Gerard works to ensure students comprehend what is being taught. “He will invest significant time in developing differentiated content for students needing support adjustments,” Simon says. In 2016, Year 9 Digital Technology enrolments were 15 per cent of the student population with a linear regression headed for 7 per cent by 2018. Gerard began teaching the subject in 2018 and enrolments rose to 18 per cent the following year. The Year 8 pass rate in Digital Technologies rose from 58 per cent to 84 per cent following his arrival. In his first two years he has volunteered for several extra-curricular activities, attending school camps and helping out with the school musical. “He has always been quick to volunteer his personal time to help support his colleagues and will spend hours after school assisting with the Arts department,” Simon says. “Gerard actively contacts parents when he identifies students are struggling academically and is quite often full of parent teacher interview bookings.” The teacher has also played a part in redefining the curriculum delivery of Digital Technologies at the Highfields and has also created new senior assessment pieces. With a personal interest in puzzles and thinking games, Gerard has generated several activities of the like. This included Bool’s Lock which addressed curriculum content descriptors and had students write algorithms to unlock a treasure chest of minties. He also regularly engages in professional development and has upskilled himself using Lynda.com and books on several software programs. Congratulations Gerard on your nomination.