Sydney, 10 October 2012 – Members of the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) in the USA will be visiting Waverley College today as part of a study tour to Australia to explore the education landscape throughout the country. Waverley College will act as a case study of advanced blended learning and critical thinking.
ISTE delegates on the tour will return to their respective school systems equipped with insights that they have gained from Australian schools and educators, with the view to improve critical thinking and blended learning components based on successful case studies such as Waverley College.
“Many schools and curriculums, particularly in the United States, are focused more on teaching to standardised tests, rather than helping students develop critical thinking strategies, and blending the use of technology across all of their learning experiences,” said Ray Paxton, Headmaster, Waverley College.
Waverley College was chosen due to its initiatives around innovation and learning. These initiatives include a critical thinking programme aimed at providing students with the types of skills needed to participate in a 21st century learning environment. Waverley College integrates these new methods into a blended learning environment using today's technologies. This is an innovative approach to learning that is seeing an increase in learning outcomes for students.
These teaching methods for both critical thinking and blended learning are advanced compared to most schools, particularly those in the USA and UK.
Headmaster, Ray Paxton, recently appointed a Director of Learning Innovation, Westley Field, to oversee the introduction of cutting-edge blended learning in the century-old school.
At the forefront of the program, which has cemented Waverley College as a ‘best practice’ school, is the concept of blended learning. This is where teachers use a mixture of well-established successful teaching methods with modern, technology-based methods.
For example, teachers have set up learning in an online system using Bloom’s revised Taxonomy of Learning. This allows students to work at their own pace. No longer do they all do the same content at the same time. Those students who need to advance can advance, while those students who need longer to develop their understanding can take the time to do so. Teachers are encouraged not to lecture from the front of the room but rather ask questions that allow the students to find answers for themselves. Of course if the teacher sees evidence that all students are getting stuck they can intervene and redirect them. This makes their learning effective and efficient.
Waverley College is also spearheading a network of schools of a high calibre all over the world that connect and collaborate online to widen the scope of learning and add a new dimension to students’ experiences at school. Year 7 and 10 students have a personal Mac laptop and all students in the school will have received one by 2014.
“As well as discussing our applied teaching methods for critical thinking, faculty members will be demonstrating the benefits from a number of specific technology initiatives within the school, including the 1:1 Laptop Program and the Integration of the Library Resource Centre.
"We are thrilled to be contributing to the international body of knowledge on education and innovation in schools, and hope we can contribute to the development of critical thinking as part of curriculums worldwide,” said Ray Paxton, Headmaster at Waverley College.
Waverley College will be host to Leslie S Conery, Deputy CEO of ISTE, and representatives from the Information Communication Technology Educators NSW (ICTENSW).
Waverley College is an independent, non-selective Catholic day school for boys with over 100 years’ history as a school that liberates the potential of students from all backgrounds in its Pre-School, Junior School and Senior School.
Phoebe Netto, Good Business Consulting
International Society of Technology in Education
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in improving learning and teaching by advancing the effective use of technology in PK–12 and teacher education.
ISTE represents more than 100,000 education leaders and emerging leaders throughout the world and informs its members regarding educational issues of national and global scope.