ITSI implementation at Cornwall Hill College

| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

BY JANINE DUMAS KUCHLING

After an exciting couple of years looking into educational development, it has been wonderful to start using the Institute for Technology Strategy and Innovation (ITSI)1 digital learning system within the senior preparatory and college phases here at Cornwall Hill College in Irene, Gauteng.

ITSI provides a platform for learning whereby any content can be loaded and integrated into chosen textbooks to provide a suitable learning solution for our 21st century children. In preparation for the roll-out and implementation, the school looked at a range of possible resources that would provide the needs and values we wish to instil. Infrastructure as a whole was looked at, as we needed to make sure that the speed of the devices and the internet connectivity would back up this excellent tool for learning.

ITSI has an online server that refreshes and makes sure that each textbook is working as it should and when it is needed. ITSI’s team has been on site weekly to make sure that the system is working to its full potential. In deciding which device was best suited for each learning phase, the college students were allowed to bring their own digital devices, as long as the device could accommodate the ITSI programme.

The senior preparatory school chose to roll out a standardised device, Google Chromebook, which has been most successful across grades 4–7. The Chromebook rollout was extremely smooth, and within four weeks each grade was successfully working on ITSI and incorporating the use of G Suites (Google Docs, Slides, etc).

Choosing “champions”

In each school section, “champions” were selected to assist with the roll-out and implementation of the ITSI system. Textbooks were chosen by subject teachers, and the integration of Google was most beneficial. The preparatory school focused on professional development to prepare teachers for a pedagogical change in mindset.

The management team and staff members looked at different teaching skills, the integration of graphic organisers, differentiation in teaching methods and, finally, the inclusion of technology in their teaching. Pupils at Cornwall Hill College are now asked at the beginning of a lesson to open their Chromebooks, log onto the ITSI miEbooks App and navigate using the contents page to find the area of learning that will be taught during the lesson.

Once this page has been found, teachers use a range of current pedagogical strategies to implement learning from the textbook. These may include extra documents such as slideshows, videos, URL links to other websites, or pictures and various other resources that have been “pushed” (uploaded) to their textbook within that given topic. This is wonderful, as the textbooks come alive and become a richer source of information.

Integration leads to innovation

Google Classroom3 has also been used throughout the preparatory school, and parents and pupils have access to this. Google integrates well with the ITSI system, and using Google as a teaching and learning tool has proven to be most successful. For example, an activity will be planned by the educator that may involve the use of G Suites, collaborative learning or other effective 21st century educational tasks. At this stage, pupils have been taught all content needed and practised activities to solidify understanding.

Communication of any homework is done using Google Classroom, and pupils can see when tasks are due via their Google Calendar. To prepare for assessments and tests, Cornwall Hill College students have the ability to summarise highlighted notes from their ITSI miEbooks app. When combined with current effective study methods, this enables pupils to prepare effectively for these upcoming assessments and tests.

Some of our assessments are now set using Google Forms, which has the ability to be “teacher marked” or preset to send instant feedback to the pupils on how they fared. A wonderful evening was held where parents attended “night school” to learn how to use the devices for educational purposes, and how to best help their children in preparing for any academic work. Both the educators and pupils have all grown and developed. We believe that in the future, this will continue to be a trend that will be embraced by other schools and implemented successfully.

Janine Dumas Kuchling is preparatory school head of department: humanities.

References:
1. See: https://www.it.si/
2. See: https://gsuite.google.com/together/
3. See: https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/6020279?hl=en

 

 

 

 

Category: spring 2017

About the Author ()

News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *