Teaching at Adelaide: School Placements with a digital twist

Australian schools are among the most digitally connected in the world and The School of Education at the University of Adelaide is leveraging this new reality through the introduction of a one-of-a-kind eLearning Program in the Bachelor of Teaching degree.

e-learning-student

Led by Dr Walter Barbieri, the innovative eLearning Program at the School of Education is helping undergraduates acquire cutting-edge skills in the use of learning technologies on iPad through a comprehensive series of workshops and tech-rich assessments. Many of these skills are already being put to good use on school placements.

Undergraduates have been observing lessons in schools hand-picked for their rich, mature use of learning technologies, such as St Peter’s College and Seaview High School. But rather than simply sitting back, our pre-service teachers are contributing to the schools’ digital journeys. They have been able to facilitate professional learning workshops at these schools, assisting more experienced teachers in the use of iPad technologies.

At Seaview High School, undergraduate students have been helping practising teachers achieve Apple Teacher status ­– a significant marker of one’s capabilities in the use of learning technologies.

Mr Jeremy Le Cornu, Assistant Principal for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at Seaview High School, said the process had a focus on student creativity.

We have a focus on fostering student creativity through the use of the iPad, and the Apple Teacher Certification has been a great support in this endeavour as it has helped our teachers to improve their technological and pedagogical knowledge," he said.

"Partnering with University of Adelaide students has been a brilliant initiative due to its reciprocal nature. Our teachers have received support to complete their Apple Teacher course while the students are gaining valuable insights from experienced educators," Mr Le Cornu added.

At St Peter’s College, undergraduate students facilitated staff workshops designed to highlight how iPad technologies could be integrated into lessons across the breadth of subjects. These included making stop-motion videos of scientific processes, using multimedia tools to describe vocabulary in languages other than English, and even exploring the solar system via augmented reality.

Mrs Angela Norman, Head of eLearning at St Peter’s College, described the event as a “positive step towards enhancing the way that our profession approaches training and development of new teachers.”

Mrs Norman said the undergraduate students had been helping her students.

“Everybody involved had something to offer and share, whether that was knowledge of contemporary technology or experience in high-quality pedagogies," she said.

"The conversations between experienced and aspiring teachers showed an exchange of knowledge and ideas that highlighted the importance of continuous professional development in a rapidly changing educational environment.”

As for the undergraduate students, this experience has been an eye-opener. 

Undergraduate student Izabella Kepes said the advanced learning technologies have "taken the teaching occupation by storm".

 "With more opportunities than ever before, digital creative processes are developing the way students like myself are introduced to such a fulfilling occupation. The possibilities are infinite!", she said.

Dr Walter Barbieri is already planning ahead, pledging to take the eLearning Program to new heights in future years.

“We want to position the Bachelor of Teaching degree at the University of Adelaide as the degree of choice for the innovative, cutting edge teachers that schools are increasingly demanding," he said.

Tagged in Bachelor of Teaching, elearning program