Loreto Normanhurst, an independent Catholic school for girls in Years 5 to 12 on Sydney’s North Shore, is one of several AARNet-connected schools with a successful ICT Integrator program.
While the approach each school takes with these types of programs differs, they all share the common goal of helping staff and students skill up and embrace digital technologies for teaching and learning.
What does a successful ICT Integrator program look like?
At Loreto, the ICT Integrator program has been operating for several years. The program offers all full-time staff members the opportunity to apply for an ICT Integrator position with a two-year tenure. The number of ICT Integrators appointed varies from two to three each year and successful applicants are able to reduce their teaching loads by 20% to accommodate the additional work and time commitment that comes with the role.
“They need the time to skill up in ICT competencies, go to classes that require their ICT support, team teach, develop digital resources, run meetings to share ideas, problems and solutions, and develop strategies for implementing new learning technologies,” said the School’s ICT Director Jason Arruzza.
In the early years of Loreto’s program ICT Integrators followed their own interests, mostly working with video, graphics and other software, and helping staff utilize those resources. But in 2015, after infrastructure upgrades were complete and the school connected to AARNet, enormous opportunities to deploy a range of cloud services to support teaching and learning were unleashed.
Rolling out a new learning management system
“We then utilized the ICT Integrators to make a concerted effort around the uptake of cloud services,” said Arruzza.
For example, Canvas, a popular Learning Management System (LMS) was introduced in Term 1 2015. This was the first time the school had used a LMS. He says the ICT Integrators on the job included English, Religious Studies, Maths, History and Science teachers, and they provided an invaluable resource for creating awareness about what Canvas was and up skilling staff in how to use it, and then for helping staff get the best out of it for teaching and learning.
Deploying cloud services
“By Term 4 the uptake was beyond expectations for a school new to LMS’s,” said Arruzza. “We turned on Google and Office 365 and the sharing capabilities of these services also caught on really quickly,” he said.
The School has also leveraged the bandwidth AARNet provides and the storage capabilities of Google Drive to solve the critical problem of getting students to back up their laptops.
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