21st Century teaching is all about embracing technology in today’s modern classroom, with the aid of learning tools such as iPads, Digital Projection and Augmented Reality to name a few, students can apply self-paced ‘hands-on’ learning direct at their fingertips.
Recently we were tasked with upscaling the technology at Georges River Environmental Education Centre, a Department of Education (DoE) School located at Chipping Norton NSW that aims to inspire young people in experiencing and connecting with the natural world.
Sadly the school’s current technology was being underutilised and in some cases not functioning at all, resulting in many thousands of dollars in computing hardware sitting idle. The Principal Mr Nicholas Hall, who is extremely passionate about his role in teaching the younger generation in sustainability education programs, has a vision of promoting and empowering learners in responsible environmental management. This vision involves the use of technology playing a crucial part in his and the centre’s teaching and learning tools.
Having a fantastic Augmented Reality setup that mimics the local Georges River Catchment Area (see above), Android enabled Samsung Televisions and over 30 iPad devices our objective was to bring these devices up to speed to be usable and ‘talk’ to each other during presentations made to students.
The first stage in delivering the principals vision was enabling the current set of iPads along with deploying a new set of devices so that they were unformed in layout and had all the required apps installed.
Nearly all of the iPads hadn’t been used for some 2 years or more and management using Apple Configurator had long ceased functioning, along with communications with schools Wi-Fi system. We enrolled these iPads into ZuluDesk, granting staff access to manage each device, download and install new and existing apps, creating a uniform layout and wallpaper to reflect, along with allowing Wi-Fi connectivity for use by DoE students. Migration of GREEC’s iBooks was also critical in maintaining established teaching lessons.
Stage two of this project involves management of newly installed NBN services to allow fast speed connectivity to televisions, iPads (for non-D0E students) and development of learning tools for flora and fauna identification using QR Codes.
We are excited at the prospects this centre currently offers students and with implementation of new technologies can’t wait for what the future will hold.
For more information on visiting this fantastic educational centre, please visit their website at georgesriv-e.schools.nsw.gov.au or contact their friendly staff on (02) 9755 3189. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter @GeorgesRiverEEC.