Innovative classroom technology
Interview with: Liz Rhodes - Associate Principal, Brooklyn Primary School
With the enhanced teaching and learning resources delivered by high-speed broadband, Brooklyn Primary School is leading the way in digital learning.
Taking broadband away now "would be like having our arms chopped off," associate principal Liz Rhodes says.
The school uses Xtra's Schoolzone private network. This provides 2Mbps for uploads and downloads of unlimited data, but ideally they need at least 10Mbps according to both Liz and the school IT manager Colin Grant.
School pupils working on computers
Learning & Teaching
Brooklyn Primary School has developed a framework for learning and teaching called CHaOS (Children Have Ownership of Schooling) that supports students to learn at school and become lifelong learners.
Liz says the school - which has benefited from an HP (Hewlett-Packard) Philanthropy fund grant to encourage innovative teaching - uses digital learning in many ways to support teaching and learning.
These include using digital resources on Te Kete Ipurangi (the Ministry of Education's online learning website), accessing web information, developing video projects, extending the school website, and showcasing children's work.
"High-speed is essential. It provides endless new opportunities such as the Mathletics online maths teaching system. The children get so excited about Mathletics. Online systems increase student engagement and willingness to learn.
"We need high-speed to make the best use of Ministry of Education websites and teaching resources. We are approaching the point where many resources will only be available online."
Brooklyn Primary shares information with parents by loading videos and children's work onto the school website. Online services also include school administration.
In another opportunity facilitated by broadband, Brooklyn Primary is collaborating with 10 other south Wellington schools and the Ministry of Education in an online network.
In this Swell Extending High Standards project, the schools will share information and resources online, establishing a learning community network that aims to raise student achievement.
Handwriting on a tablet PC
Brooklyn is also working with a researcher on a DigiOps project investigating the potential of computer-based learning in which pupils complete 80 percent of their work writing by hand on PC tablets.
DigiOps or Digital Opportunities projects are joint partnerships between schools, organisations involved in ICT and the Ministry of Education. The aim is to improve learning through the innovative use of leading edge technologies.
International opportunities range from the Australian-based Mathletics to linking up with staff members who are in China furthering their language skills.
The benefits of high-speed broadband come at a heavy financial cost.
Liz says "high-speed access should be part of the city's infrastructure with free or low cost access for all. We are very happy to have Schoolzone but it is still a huge cost.
"Fast speed broadband will become ever more essential throughout education. Children will tell digital stories of their learning journeys, and there will be vastly more collaboration between schools."