Virtual classrooms transform Hilliard State School
Fay Harding, teacher, Hilliard State School: ‘Well I use ICT in my classroom to enhance the children’s learning. We all know that our children and all the research is pointing that all the children are becoming much more visual learners. They’re coming into our schools with a very good knowledge of computers, iPads and technology.
Fay Harding: ‘And then where were you?’
Child: On the trampoline.
Teacher: And you had your hair out, so you look a little bit different. Because you have your hair up for school don’t you.
‘We look forward to the next sleepover. Love from ‘who’ ?
Fay Harding: ‘I set up a virtual classroom and we go in daily. Parents have their own generic login; they get that at the beginning of the year. It’s then their choice whether they want to participate in that.
‘I have upskilled them on how to go into the virtual classrooms and leave blogs.
‘We access that through our interactive whiteboard. I use that as a huge component of our day. We have a virtual roll, where the children go on everyday and point to their picture and it disappears. This enables us to work out who’s here and who’s not.
‘The weather chart’s all done through the computer. So the children now know what day it is and they drag it across to where it needs to go. They know that yesterday is, today is and tomorrow will be. We also do the date through that.’
Teacher: ‘Who’s this?
Teacher: ‘What does it say?’
Child: ‘Dear Sophie’
Teacher: ‘The guinea girls miss you when you’re at school. When you come home take them outside for a play. Love from …’
Child: ‘Mum, Dad, Sam, Rosie and Princess Peach’
How do you get your student’s parents involved?
Fay Harding: ‘As another adjunct of the virtual classroom, I’ve got ICT things for the parents. So there’s iPad sites that are educational – they can download them to their iPads, iPod Touches or their iPhones.
‘I’ve got interactive sites that they can use on their PCs or their laptops at home. I have teaching tips that I talk to them about to teach and how to enhance children’s learning.’
What other ICT devices do your students have access to?
Fay Harding: ‘I also have a Wii attached to my interactive whiteboard that they can use as well. I only have the Wii Fit at the moment because it’s only a recent addition.
‘We also have an iPad which has got the educational settings on it. They can access from my desk at any time in activity time or when they’re finished their rotations or focus sessions.
‘I have an iPod Touch with the same things on it and I’ve got seven laptops that have educational games on through the network. I’ve also got two fixed computers, with internet access as well.
‘I have Beebots, which we do early robotics with. They love that. We do matching numbers, shapes and stories through them, so sequencing as well.
‘I also have the digital cameras, where I’ve upskilled the children to be able to use them so they can record things that are important to them.’
How does the incorporation of ICT impact student learning outcomes?
Fay Harding: ‘This time last year I didn’t know how to use an interactive whiteboard. I didn’t even know about the Digital Pedagogy Licence and then I started on this journey. I thought that the outcomes of my children were good then, but since introducing it … I’ve got children in the room now who know how to write dear. They know that a sentence begins with a capital letter. They know that they have to push ‘shift’ to get it to become a capital letter. They know which key makes the spaces between the words. They know lots of site words. They know how to write love, is. They’re sounding out and they’re reading it back.
‘We’re not even at the end of Term 1 and these children are reading and interacting with it. They see that there’s a purpose behind it.’