Drawing upon my experiences as an English teacher in a West Australian public school, this workshop explores a number of case studies in which groups of secondary school students were able to achieve improved outcomes with the support of technology. Australian schools are in the process of implementing the Australian Curriculum - a set of national documents designed to promote a collaborative approach towards eLearning. Applecross Senior High School was involved in trialling the forthcoming Australian Curriculum in English throughout 2012, ahead of its 2013 launch. This workshop aims to share both the successes and challenges I experienced in this trial, whilst encouraging teachers to reflect upon these ideas in their own contexts. To meet the requirements of the new English course, students were involved in the production of contemporary, multimodal narratives inspired by ‘traditional tales.’ I plan to showcase a number of these short films produced by student groups, produced entirely with smartphones and ‘iMovie’ software. Furthermore, I will discuss the advantages that digital technologies present in terms of curriculum differentiation for students with special needs. Specifically, I will examine the ways in which access to webcam-equipped laptops and tablets has enabled students with learning difficulties to fulfil the requirements of presentational and speaking tasks. The workshop will conclude by outlining several of the technology-based English programs I plan to trial in 2013, including a documentary film production task focused on environmental sustainability in Western Australia and a creative writing/poetry eReading group with a partnership school in Tampa, Florida.
Andrew Mayhills, Applecross Senior High School, Australia
Stream: Technology in the Classroom
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