Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 1 May 2009 Contents 38 Independence Volume 34 No. 1
the school community, including parents
and staff, have commented that they
check the blog each morning and the
school’s local newspaper also ran a story
on the new initiative.
A forum will be added to the blog later
this year, allowing parents and other
visitors to the website the opportunity
to add their feedback or responses to the
Principal’s daily comment. Statistics on
the blog’s readership, including the
number of ‘hits’, have also been a good
source of feedback.
Feedback indicates that the Principal’s
decision to launch her own blog shows
positive leadership in implementing the
school’s commitment to innovation and
contemporary thinking. In Mrs Walton’s
words, the blog is ‘one visible and
functional way in which we can practise
our own philosophy’.
Marketing & Publications Coordinator,
St Catherine’s School
To view Sylvia Walton’s blog, visit
Penrhos College, Como, WA
Penrhos College is a day and boarding
school for girls, with 1180 students from
Kindergarten to Year 12.
At Penrhos College, every student from
Years 5 to 12 owns and uses a personal
notebook, in class, daily. The breadth and
depth of our notebook program has
developed from small beginnings, with the
introduction in 1993 of 25 staff laptops.
A major step was taken in 1997, when the
College’s Year 5 and Year 8 cohorts were
required to own notebooks – a decision
that complemented Penrhos’ newly
created Middle School (Years 7 to 9).
The curriculum emphasis, at the time,
was collaboration and group work.
These developments grew directly from
the vision of past Principal Mr Graham
Rixon, who led the school from 1986 to
2007. In hindsight, given the quality of
the technology available at the time, the
decision to commence a notebook
program and begin the huge task of
integrating technology into the curriculum
was an astounding pioneering initiative.
The journey was not without its challen-
ges. The years from 1997 to 2000 were
particularly hard as we didn’t know what
support was needed, and we had few
systems or policies in place. Nor did we
know what was going to happen with the
future of technology.
In 2002, the College employed an
additional two technicians, which saw the
Technical Services Department become
pro-active rather than re-active. This
proved pivotal in the successful
development of the program. This time
also marked the point at which the
network was in place and stable, the
laptops had gone from being clunky
to streamlined and the teachers had
developed expertise in the area of
technology integration. The program
was running smoothly and this was a
sound base from which to continue to
adapt as computing technology advanced.
In 2004 the College went to a wireless
network from a cabling network and in
2007 we introduced tablet computers.
We are now at the point where we could
do without a resource centre or computer
laboratories because our students have
access to information and communication
via their notebooks.
Factors that have underpinned the success
of the program are the Principal’s support
of the Technical Services Department and
our investment in technology integration
staff. We have always had staff on hand
whose primary responsibility is to
maintain the focus on teaching and
learning and ensure technology supports
and inspires our students to inquire,
create and communicate.
Heading the Department is the Manager
of Technology & Strategic Projects, whose
role is to oversee the implementation of
technology in the College from
Kindergarten to Year 12, looking at both
technical infrastructure and education.
Working with the Manager is the Head
of Technical Services, who ensures our
systems support our educational vision,
and the Head of Technology Integration,
whose focus is on policy development,
professional development of teachers and
This staffing structure has ensured we
have ICT working on an educational
level, not merely on an operational level.
Manager of Technology & Strategic
Head of Technology Integration
Head of Technical Services
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