Why Core Computing Skills for all is essential

Guest Post by Ross Johnson, Microsoft Expert Educator

I have been working in the IT section of my secondary school for about 12 years now. In that space of time, there have been changes in technology that have been truly revolutionary including The Internet, hardware breakthroughs, new operating systems, BYOD and The Cloud just to name a few. All of these have had a genuine profound effect on the way that education is delivered to students across the school, the region, the state, country and the globe. It has also meant that staff can add so many new ways to their toolkit to raise student engagement in their lessons and cater for more styles of learner as well.

But through all of the innovation and technological breakthroughs, one constant has always shone through – the need for Core Computing Skills in Education. The need for staff and students to all have a benchmark of IT Education from which to launch from is as essential today as it was a decade ago.

All of our KLA’s have ICT outcomes to achieve and without both staff and students having an IT benchmark, these outcomes will not be truly met.

Core Computing Skill Education has been traditionally seen as for IT students, gaming geeks or students that are looking to avoid PDHPE. And it was seen as dull and boring. But this stereotype has been shattered in the last 5 to 10 years by programs such as the Digital Education Revolution that required staff and students to be on an even playing field.

And this is when we kicked it into high gear at our campus. And we have never looked back.

The biggest single improvement that we noticed in staff IT education was the numbers of staff attending IT based professional development, and in particular, learning how to use Microsoft OneNote in their classroom. 95% of our staff were trained onsite to use OneNote when the Digital Education Revolution NSW 1 to 1 Laptop Program first hit our schools. And it has displayed its benefits ever since with staff and students using it to organise their education as well as being part of the paperless classroom environment.

OneNote is just one of the quality software applications that we require our students to have a working knowledge of. All of the Microsoft Office applications need to be used in the classroom frequently and, more importantly some say, in the world of employment. So we saw it as negligent to not teach the students how to implement these correctly. Students have mandatory ICT education in Stages 4 & 5 at our campus and we have a couple of focus areas:

  1. ICT Skills for School, home and work
  2. Socially responsible Digital Citizenship

In helping us achieve our goals in point 1, we use Ribbon Hero (which was developed by Microsoft Office Labs). It is a game to help students and staffs learn key Office Skills and make them directly transferable to the classroom and work. It is the gamification of learning at its finest and it works very well.

In my next blog post I will talk about point 2 and how we use the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum to help achieve our successes.


Guest Post By

Ross Johnson - Microsoft Expert Educator

Ross Johnson has been the Head Teacher Information Technology at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Tumbi Umbi Campus on the New South Wales Central Coast for 9 years. He is an avid supporter of the Flipped Classroom as well as giving all students an opportunity to gain Core Computing Skills. He has transformed his school's technology focus and energies towards giving all students equal access and opportunity to develop their 21st Century digital skills. Ross is also an Adobe Education leader and a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist.


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Comments (1)

  1. Shayne Player says:

    Ross's blog tells a story that has taken time, trust, persistence and patience. His efforts, determination and drive have made a difference for all at the campus.

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