August 09, 2022

New program revolutionises digital technology teaching in the classroom

Scitech Publisher
(L to R): Safety Bay Primary School teachers Craig Pudney and Sue McCulloch, Rockingham Beach Primary School teacher Robert Cuder, Scitech Professional Learning Consultant Lucas Black and Alcoa Senior Partnerships Advisor Sally Fairnie.

Teachers and students across the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West areas are about to get more tech savvy thanks to a three-year partnership between Scitech and Alcoa that is revolutionising how digital technologies are integrated into the classroom.

After a successful decade-long partnership upskilling teachers and students in mathematics, we are working with Scitech to deliver the Alcoa Digital Technologies Enrichment Program.

We have committed nearly $500,000 for the new program to be rolled out in communities near where we operate.

The first phase of the partnership, Alcoa Real World Digital Technologies was launched recently with 17 teachers from primary schools in the Kwinana and Rockingham regions.

This one-term professional development program provides teachers with support and educational resources across all year groups with the aim to not only increase confidence and capabilities in their digital teaching practices but also provide students with hands-on, engaging lessons that equip them with necessary digital skills for the future.

Scitech Professional Learning Consultant Lucas Black said the program worked by integrating digital technologies into daily teaching regardless of the subject matter.

“For example, coding can be used in a literacy lesson to enhance storytelling and narrative structure, or a numeracy lesson can be supplemented with the use of a Micro:bit to learn about data collection,” Mr Black said.

Safety Bay Primary School teacher Sue McCulloch believed this approach was one of the strengths of the new program.

“We feel that teaching digital skills from an inquiry-based approach helps students learn to use digital technologies effectively and safely to access, create and communicate information and ideas,” Ms McCulloch said. “But it also helps with skills such as problem solving, collaboration, reflection and resilience in a world that is continually changing.”

Alcoa Real World Digital Technologies will be delivered at different schools throughout the three-year partnership.

Phase 2 of the partnership, a year-long in-depth professional development program called Alcoa Champions of Digital Technologies, will be rolled out from 2023.

Alcoa Senior Partnerships Advisor Sally Fairnie said the Alcoa Digital Technologies Enrichment Program focused on addressing how teachers and students were facing unprecedented digital learning challenges.

“With 87% of jobs in Australia requiring some level of digital skills, we know that the demand for students having a high level of digital literacy is becoming critical for future work opportunities,” Ms Fairnie said.

“This new program delivers assistance to teachers so they can confidently bring skills that will empower students in their learning to succeed in this evolving digital world.”

Mr Black said the new digital programs aligned with Scitech’s commitment of ensuring Western Australian students had the necessary STEM skills to meet current and future workforce demands.