GALLERY: Quakers Hill kids learn in the comfort zone

Technology-rich, tiered, shoeless — lessons at Quakers Hill Public School have evolved.

Year 1 and 2 pupils in Donna Jackson's class stay quietly engrossed at different literacy learning stations when the recess bell rings.

Some are sprawled on the floor reading, while others create their own picture books with website Storybird on iPads and PCs.

"They kick off their shoes and are in their comfort zone, which is where they learn best," the stage 1 assistant principal said.

"I find that students sitting at traditional tables and chairs are not always as engaged. This is like their environment at home.

"We do use a lot of technology as well as traditional means [of pencil and paper] every day and there's a lot of flexibility for them to produce work in whatever format they'd like to.

"I like them to use multi-platform devices otherwise you're really capping their learning."

The school now has one iPad for every two students and has purchased two more touch screen televisions with a donation of $7500 from property development company Payce.

Active response systems allow pupils to type in quiz answers and have a graph of their response time and accuracy appear almost immediately on screen, so their teacher can see clearly who needs help in different areas of study.

In Toby Hynes' year 6 class, students map out a narrative using the iThoughts app and prepare to turn them into a film trailer with iMovie. Others manage finances with the mathematics game Coffee Shop on an interactive touch screen TV in the front of the room.

Principal Bert Lo Campo said teachers were seeing results from the new approach to teaching and learning, with higher levels of interest from pupils and 38 from year 6 accepted into selective high schools this year.

He said planning learning outcomes went before technology use.

‘‘It’s not about technology for technology’s sake, it’s about how you engage students with it,’’ Mr Lo Campo said.

‘‘If the planing is not there they’re dead machines.''

2:1 ratio of students to iPads in every class.

60 per cent of the school’s year 6 pupil’s who sat the selective high schools test gained a place.

$7,500 donated by Payce to purchase two touch screen TVs, bringing the school’s total to eight.


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