DLSG Case Study: Taminmin College
About this lesson
Taminmin College Independent Public School is a large, comprehensive, rural (outer regional) school catering for students from years 7 to 12. It received a $50,000 grant in the DLSG round 1.
Year band: 7-8, 9-10
Taminmin College Independent Public School is a large, comprehensive, rural (outer regional) school catering for students from years 7 to 12. It is located in Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory, 40km south of Darwin. The school offers a range of pathways for students to complete their NTCET or to transition successfully into the workforce and/or into further training, including a Flexible Pathways program in our on-site Special Education Centre and a large array of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs. Taminmin College is the second largest Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in the Northern Territory and achieves outstanding results. Further, as a rural school Taminmin College offers a 75 ha mixed produce farm which provides opportunities for learning in aquaponics, horticulture and agriculture for both VET and mainstream programs. Other significant opportunities available to students at Taminmin include the High Achiever Leader Learner program; Sports Academy; Transition to Work program; Girls Academy; the SySTEMic Engineering Collaboration; and a Flexible Learning Centre.
Focus of the Grant Activity
The Digital Literacy Schools Grant project enabled Taminmin College to develop school ‘STEM Leaders’ to utilise the train-the-trainer model to upskill teachers implementing the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies curriculum. STEM Leaders were provided with opportunities to mentor other staff.
Taminmin College purchased digital technologies resources and produced school-based curriculum resources including scope and sequence learning programs and STEM based units of work through inquiry based learning in middle years and year 10. School Exhibition evenings were held for parents, carers and the wider school community that showcased the digital technologies resources. The college evaluated the success of the project through parental and student surveys and teacher feedback.
Teacher knowledge and capability to teach Digital Technologies has increased through professional development opportunities and is as evidenced by teacher confidence, the quality of projects produced by students, and engagement in Digital Technologies particularly in Senior Years in 2018. The college has developed a Continuous School Improvement Group which focuses on continuous improvement in implementing Digital Technologies curriculum and embedding this into other learning areas alongside the ICT Capability. This is currently a focus of their 2019 School Improvement Plan with allocated allocated Digital Technology and STEM leaders to continue to drive this work.
Advice for other schools
It is really important to ensure that you involve the local primary feeder schools. We did some scope and sequence work with them and also led discussions around the differing levels of knowledge students bring with them to our school. As a lower socio-economic school we found 20-25% of students surveyed at school have no internet access or access to technology at home. This data was important to share with local feeder schools to emphasise the need for work in ICT Capability and Digital Technologies to begin earlier than when they arrive in middle years. This knowledge has led to some primary schools increasing their focus on ICT, and has resulted in some schools offering more one-to-one technology time in upper primary.
It was also important for us to develop the skill sets of our lead students in Digital Technologies. While staff were being trained in the use and maintenance of the laser cutter and 3D printer, so also were students and they could then be the Digital Leaders at school.
Ongoing success requires a whole school focus on improving and embedding both ICT Capability and Digital Technologies curriculum across the whole school, whilst also offering Digital Technologies as a subject. Teachers need constant opportunities to learn the skills required. Learning Sprints have been successful here at Taminmin, providing opt-in opportunities for ongoing professional development. We continue to encourage and support staff to embed technology in subject areas. This year our female agriculture teacher attended the inaugural Women in Agriculture – Tech conference where she and other women are trialing technologies within their agricultural programs.
We also needed to be strategic in working with the ICT team so that they could begin to engage with the curriculum and the new resources being used, not just laptops. We invited the team into to PD and events so they could understand what we want to be using in the classroom and how they can support us but also have a greater understanding of the importance of what we are trying to do.
As a school with transient students and staff, it has been essential that our school leadership team is ongoing in its drive to embed Digital Technologies curriculum and ICT Capability across the school and to seek the right staff to be involved. We have found that times when the teacher is just not into teaching the subject, students sadly lose interest. It is desperate times for many schools to try and find quality STEM teachers and in particular Digital Technology teachers being a new curriculum. We would love a few more to come our way to inspire our learners and to empower them for their future.