Australia’s children aren’t as tech savvy as they used to be but Illawarra primary schools are trying to buck the trend.
The National Assessment Program tested 10,500 Year 6 and Year 10 students from government, Catholic and independent schools and found the average computer technology literacy of students had dropped since 2011. This also correlated to research by the University of Wollongong’s Professor Sue Bennett released earlier this year.
However a number schools across our region have noticed the need to incorporate technology into learning at a young age – such as Scarborough and Oak Flats Public Schools - with classrooms vastly becoming filled with tech gadgets, electronics and robots.
Mount Ousley Public School is the latest to adopt the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative. It means iPads will be encouraged in class to assist and enhance lessons from kindergarten through to year 6, though not compulsory as reported by other media organisations.
School principal Peter Holmes said as technology had become such a prevalent part of everyday lives outside of the classroom it made sense to use it inside the classroom.
“It changes learning activities that we can provide for kids we’re now able to do things we were never able to do in the past so technology sits alongside all of the other resources that we have,” he said.
Mr Holmes said the biggest question asked by parents was will this be the end of pencils, paper and reading book - not at all. Tech will simply come over the top and enhance.
Mount Ousley is also a STEM School using collaborative and project based learning to exemplify science, technology, engineering and maths. This has involved children designing and making their own rockets, learning how to code robots and sending a science experiment into space with NASA.
It’s on trend with other school principals who have seen the decline in manufacturing in the region as a signal to start teaching kids the necessary skills of the future.