Digital Technologies Jumpstarter Workshops (Term 3 & 4, 2019)
The primary focus of the Digital Technologies workshops was to help primary school in-service and pre-service teachers to address digital technologies outcomes in the classroom by offering stage-based jumpstarter workshops in their schools. The 2-hour workshops were carefully designed to provide teachers with the core knowledge, capabilities and confidence to teach with digital technologies, including tactile devices, through face-to-face hands-on activities. Teachers were exposed to a range of technologies, and were guided through tasks and teaching strategies that support students to achieve the targeted learning outcomes. The workshops were tailored to the specific stage levels of the teachers, to promote relevance and applicability, with different technologies being used at each level, for instance (examples only):
- Stage 1: Bluebot, Makey Makey, Scratch Jr.
- Stage 2: Scratch, WeDo 2.0, Makey Makey
- Stage 3: Microbit, WeDo 2.0/Mindstorm EV3, Scratch
Teachers learnt about different sorts of technologies and activities that can be used to develop the computational thinking capabilities of their students. They learnt the disciplinary terminology for the components (e.g. “controller”) of digital systems and how to explain their functionality. They developed skills in how to use digital systems to solve problems using algorithms, and how to teach their students to do the same. This involved being able to deconstruct the problem, recognise patterns, specify algorithms, and test solutions. Comparing problems and solutions across technologies helped teachers to abstract their understanding of computational thinking problem solving. Threshold concepts for students (e.g. control flow for conditional statements) were discussed, as well as evidence-based pedagogical strategies that teachers could apply. A community-oriented design-based approach was adopted, so that teachers felt supported to trial their digital technology lessons (building their confidence).
After the workshops teachers designed, implemented and collaboratively reflected upon a digital technologies lesson or module. Completing the Digital Technologies Jumpstarter Professional Learning program contributed 7 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 2.6.2, 3.4.2, 6.2.2, 6.3.2 and 6.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.