Microsoft has today announced that two primary schools in Western Australia have been recognised as two of the world’s most advanced users of technology in the classroom. The schools will represent Australia in Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Schools Program as Mentor Schools, two of only 32 worldwide at the top tier of the program.
As Mentor Schools, both schools have been acknowledged as demonstrating that they are passionate about technology and not only have a strong vision for transforming their learning environment, but have actually made these changes and are leading technological innovation in education across the global.
“East Butler Primary School and Waggrakine Primary School were invited to join the program as Mentor Schools because they have achieved a level of change within their education systems and are viewed as leaders in their countries and regions. Their innovations have a global interest and are replicable models that other schools can follow. Australia has a history for embracing technology in all streams of the curriculum, and the work that both schools are doing highlights this perfectly,” Sean Tierney, Academic Programs Manager, Microsoft Australia, said.
East Butler Primary School and Waggrakine will both be taking on additional responsibility with the appointment, as Mentor Schools are also responsible for mentoring five Pathfinder Schools over a 12-24 month period. Mentor Schools receive technology expertise from Microsoft, development tools and educational models, and online and in-person training to support their efforts.
Denise Jeffs, deputy principal, East Butler Primary School in Western Australia, said on the appointment, “We pride ourselves on giving students the best opportunities for the future and providing them will those valuable digitals skills needed to succeed. To be recognised by Microsoft as a Mentor School and as a global leader in using technology in education is a fantastic achievement for us. The program gives us the opportunity to encourage other schools to implement and use technology in a meaningful way in the classroom, and learn from other Pathfinder and Mentor Schools around the world.”
East Butler Primary School places huge emphasis on technological innovation in the classroom, and its student leadership committee. One of the best practice examples that the school has implemented is a student-run monthly broadcast news report that sits on the Intranet for students, teachers and parents alike to access. Focus on technology in Drama Studies is also key, with the students having access to green screens and movie-making software to express their ideas in a paperless learning system.
Elisabeth Turner, principal, Waggrakine Primary School in West Australia, said, “Being recognised in this way and taking our status on the Partners in Learning Innovative Schools Program to the next level is a fantastic accomplishment for our school. Technology in the classroom is critical in helping to support opportunities for teaching the children the three R’s through the four C’s of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.”
At Waggrakine Primary School, one of the key best practice examples is the emphasis that the school places on engaged learning beyond the classroom. Through this, students take learning to new places, with new people and new ideas, allowing them to develop skills they need to flourish in the digital world. In addition, students are given a voice at the school in the planning and direction of their learning, highlighting the importance of student engagement throughout the education experience.
See the following links more information about both schools.