The ‘Innovation for Change’ project aims to bring together Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) with the University of Tasmania (UTas) to create multiple mobile STEM innovation project kits. Each innovation project kit will be developed around a separate community STEM need and facilitate the coming together of pre-service teachers with existing primary and secondary teachers to deliver a Digital Technologies focussed STEM unit. Potential innovation projects include exploring the role of control technologies in automating processes in remote locations; building data logging systems to assist in citizen science projects; utilising 3D printers and makerspace equipment to create solutions to engineering challenges; and developing Scratch animations for community education.
By rotating kits between schools each term, the innovation project kits have the potential to reach 24 schools each year, including primary schools situated in remote locations. The project aims to match pre-service teachers from the University of Tasmania who have ICT and DT experience with teachers who are undertaking professional development in the Digital Technologies area. The university and CET will work together to create an online skills register for participating teachers and preservice teachers. The pre-service teachers and classroom teachers will work together to deliver the innovation projects during the teacher placement.
The projects will:
- Build teacher and student ICT capacity across the jurisdiction.
- Build on teachers’ emerging theoretical understanding of Digital Technologies and assist them in practical implementation.
- Establish a skills register for pre-service teachers able to support classroom teachers.
- Establish a framework for STEM innovation projects to be collaboratively developed between schools.
Two experienced Digital Technologies Education Officers based in Northern and Southern Tasmania will lead schools undertaking this, delivering targeted professional learning, supporting unit plan development and facilitating the development of quality formative assessment tasks to monitor student learning across the state. They have collective experience in the areas of coaching teachers and school leaders in implementation of Digital Technologies, regularly leading school leadership teams in curriculum implementation and guiding teachers in facilitated planning sessions. Both project leaders will build on the successful implementation of cloud-based video conferencing tools to facilitate communications between stakeholders and ensure quality professional learning delivery and support to teachers in remote locations.
This project is funded through the Digital Literacy School Grant program (DLSG) as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The following explanation of the DLSG grants program is provided by Commonwealth Department of Education and Training:
The Digital Literacy School Grants are designed to support teachers and students in embracing the digital age and in implementing the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. This initiative seeks to help school principals and information and communication technology (ICT) leaders to embed the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies through a whole of school approach.
The grants’ aim is to stimulate best practice models of implementation and student and teacher engagement; sharing of ideas and experiences within and between schools; demonstration projects that can be used by other schools to implement the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies; and ways that leaders can inspire their teachers and students to extend their ICT learning across other learning areas.