Following the very successful Digital Technologies event held on the West Coast of Tasmania in November 2016 and presented by Professor Katrina Falkner and Dr Nick Falkner, the six most remote schools in that state have formed a professional network to support the uptake of the Digital Technologies curriculum.
Late last year the principals of Zeehan, Strahan, Queenstown and Rosebery collaborated on an application for the first round of the Federally funded l Digital Literacy grants. Each school applied for a Lego Mindstorms resource provided with support from First Lego League and Google. In February the schools were informed that they had been successful in their individual applications and will now plan a regional Lego Mindstorms competition on the West Coast for the first time.
From April 3rd- April 5th the principals and staff of these schools will be hosting an event with the support of Peter Lelong, the project officer for the Adelaide CSER MOOC and Ken Price, the Digital Technologies Principal Education Officer for the Department of Education, introducing Digital Technologies into the curriculum. Staff at each school will be registering for the F-6 MOOC and plan to work together until they complete the program.
A series of events including the setting up of a VIVE virtual reality system and an introduction to Google expeditions is one of the events being planned to introduce the staff and students to the scope and breadth of what is possible through an understanding of Digital Technologies.
Jennifer Hemer, the project officer for the CSIRO, Scientists and Mathematicians in schools, will also be traveling to the West Coast along with a STEM professional to work with students and teachers.
As the most isolated schools in Tasmania, the opportunity for students and staff to engage in and be a part of a series of hands on events supporting STEM and Digital Technologies is very exciting. The success of this network of schools in embracing Digital Technologies for students has largely been driven by the enthusiasm and leadership of the principals in each of the Tasmanian West Coast communities.
In March both Peter Lelong from the CSER team and Ken Price from the Department of Education will be travelling to Flinders Island to once again work with teachers on this remote East Coast island to support staff who wish to engage in Digital Technologies opportunities for students. One teacher has already completed the MOOC and will be a mentor for her peers at Flinders Island District High.