Shared from the 10/23/2020 Sydney Morning Herald eEdition

Savvy tech solutions drive better learning

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Regardless of the pandemic, interactive IT platforms have been creating new possibilities for educators and schools.

While this year’s COVID-19 lockdowns have highlighted the value of remote learning capabilities to many for the first time, the concept was certainly nothing new for Matthew Cross and Paul Carnemolla.

As chief executive officer and education practice lead for Sydney firm CrossPoint Technology Solutions, both have been dedicated to delivering IT-based collaborative solutions aimed at optimising educational outcomes for the past decade.

“Traditionally, teachers have seen technology as either a necessary evil or something to be avoided entirely – or something to be fully embraced,” says Cross.

“In reality, its true value lies somewhere in the middle. Clearly, technology in the classroom doesn’t add value to every single task or application but in the right setting, it can have a profound impact on learning outcomes.”

Rather than being viewed exclusively as a tool to be rolled out during lockdown situations, Carnemolla says that optimal educational outcomes can actually be achieved by combining this approach with face-to-face teacher-student interactions.

“The current education system is based on everyone learning the same thing at the same time, but we know that students learn at different rates,” he says. “Using interactive IT platforms, students can learn and complete tasks in the classroom at their own pace. This can have a highly positive impact for those who, say, might be struggling with learning difficulties such as illiteracy or innumeracy.

‘‘Importantly, it also gives teachers the ability to offer rapid customised feedback and assistance through these IT platforms. Research shows that the best improvements in student learning are made when feedback is provided immediately following the task, rather than a week later when the task has largely been forgotten.”

One school to have definitely reaped the benefits of this approach is Scone Grammar School. CrossPoint has partnered with the school since 2016, acting as IT adviser and managing its IT requirements. This year, CrossPoint oversaw the school’s transition to remote learning during the COVID lockdown, enabling the school to be one of the first in Australia to successfully adopt the model.

“Our progressive pedagogy combined with our adoptive pace of modern technologies has enabled our school to meet both our students’ learning and social needs throughout this incredibly difficult time,” explains Scone Grammar principal Paul Smart. “This approach to learning helps us to engage, inspire and stretch our students to be the best learners they can be.”

Importantly, CrossPoint’s IT solutions have also enabled the social and humanistic aspects of school life to take place.

“From the beginning of lockdown, Scone Grammar held their usual Friday assembly online via Microsoft Teams Live Events,” explains Carnemolla. “While the actual event was filmed and produced by us at the school, students were able to view the assembly safely from home.

‘‘Interestingly, while there are 543 students at the school, viewing figures for the initial live assemblies were actually over 1000, meaning many parents and grandparents also took advantage of the ability to view the events.”

Perhaps even more significant, CrossPoint’s expertise also recently enabled the school’s year 12 farewell chapel event to take place.

“While the students and teachers were able to attend in person, COVID restrictions meant that parents were unable to be present,” says Carnemolla. “To enable them to view proceedings, we filmed the event using multiple cameras and microphones, and effectively pieced together a live stream of this traditional rite of passage for students.”

See this article in the e-Edition Here