About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1124-1133
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

SCIL: ICT INNOVATION TRANSFORMING THE HEART OF THE CLASSROOM

S. Harris

Northern Beaches Christian School / Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (AUSTRALIA)
The paper outlines the experience of Northern Beaches Christian School, Sydney, in creating a flexible research and development unit within the school, in order to lead, support and nurture ICT enabled innovative teaching practice across the school.

Research has indicated two themes in relation to the use of ICT. Firstly, the innovative use of ICT in every classroom has the ability to transform the educational landscape and secondly, that the greatest challenge for schools in using technology, lies with transforming their greatest resource in the process – their teachers.

The vital link is the empowerment of teachers at the classroom level to take advantage of the available ICT. With this challenge in mind, NBCS grew its vision of a dynamic school-based research structure, the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL), committed to creating and disseminating knowledge as linked to the use of diverse ICT tools in order to improve learning. SCIL programs have provided teachers with opportunities to embrace the challenges inherent with pedagogic shift.

SCIL is guided by the notion that pedagogical change, led via school leadership in a vision driven process, supported by teachers, kept close to the classroom and connected to pervasive and innovative use of ICT, has the potential to enable improved individual learning outcomes and provide a catalyst for whole school improvement. Under this model, SCIL has taken up the challenge to embed pedagogical practice that effectively uses a range of ICTs in every classroom, as well as driving up student academic outcomes across the school. SCIL sits alongside the management structures of NBCS, with the Principal providing concurrent oversight and direction over the school and the activities of SCIL.

Since 2005 SCIL has developed and implemented a range of key programs. In time, each program becomes an embedded activity of NBCS. One of the key initial projects was to create a virtual school supporting every class or course across the whole school. This required establishing two separate Moodle instances as the backbone of the school’s virtual learning environment. It also created the need to ensure that every teacher was independently proficient in the use of the virtual environment so that all students experience seamless and consistent access to web-enabled learning, as a daily occurrence. An additional portal was established in order for SCIL to deliver a range of distance e-learning senior years’ courses, in fully online distance delivery mode.

Another key program, Beyond Borders, was established in 2006 as a tool for global collaboration. Beyond Borders provides an immediate framework for teachers anywhere in the world to participate in collaborative projects with other schools. While the majority of projects provide scope for intensive language development, with participants communicating in an agreed language other than their main language, its scope allows for collaboration in any learning area.
A recent SCIL project involves the applied use of teen Second Life (SL) to the classroom environment. This has led to the creation of Booralie – a protected SL island where teachers and students are creating spaces to open up new possibilities in learning and collaboration.

The notion that empowering innovative teachers, working in close collaboration with assigned SCIL mentors, has proven to be highly successful as a strategy to change teaching paradigms.
@InProceedings{HARRIS2009SCI,
author = {Harris, S.},
title = {SCIL: ICT INNOVATION TRANSFORMING THE HEART OF THE CLASSROOM},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1124-1133}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Harris
TI - SCIL: ICT INNOVATION TRANSFORMING THE HEART OF THE CLASSROOM
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 1124
EP - 1133
ER -
S. Harris (2009) SCIL: ICT INNOVATION TRANSFORMING THE HEART OF THE CLASSROOM, EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 1124-1133.
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