Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist College
Manor Lakes P-12 / Specialist College (MLC) is a new school, opened in 2009, and is located in Minindee Road, Wyndham Vale. The College is being developed for a long term enrolment of 650 Prep - Year 9 students, 1100 Year 10 - 12 students and 144 special / special development school students. It is planned as a four to five stage construction. Wyndham Vale is a rapidly developing suburb, within the City of Wyndham, to the south west of Melbourne.
The design of Manor Lakes College has been planned to create a genuine learning community, and has a village concept to its layout. The College facilities allow for flexibility in curriculum delivery, and supports open learning experiences and team teaching opportunities to enable students to move with confidence through the stages of learning in a seamless manner. ICT is flexible and integrated into all learning areas.
It is MLC’s intention that students who graduate from Manor Lakes P-12 / Specialist College will be inquisitive, highly literate and numerate, socially competent and engaged, and responsible citizens (both locally and globally).
ICT at MLC
Manor Lakes College has a very strong ICT focus with all Year 7 and 8 students, roughly 290 students, involved in a 1:1 MacBook laptop program. Each classroom across the College has a bank of MacBooks, iMacs, iPod Touches, Flip Video cameras, still digital cameras, audio recording devices and video cameras are spread throughout the school for students to use.
iPads in Action
MLC received the highest number of iPads in the iPads for Learning trial. These iPads have been rolled out to all 91 Year 5 students and to 10 Specialist Learning Centre students.
The teachers coordinating the iPad trial in Year 5 have played an integral role to ensure that the iPads are a successful tool for teaching and learning. Staff at MLC have investigated numerous ways to integrate the iPads into all areas of the curriculum from Literacy to Numeracy, Inquiry focus and for Challenged Based Learning tasks.
Staff and students used the first 5 months of the trial as digital sandpit time to learn just what the iPad could do within a teaching and learning environment. This involved the investigation of the apps available for teachers and students to use.
Year 5 teachers at MLC who are involved in the trial are seeing great results with iPads and their use in education. As stated by MLC teacher, Corrie Barclay, "We have definitely seen a positive shift in student learning, especially within our cohort of, usually, disengaged boys. We now have greater engagement within all Year 5 classes and we have the iPads to thank for that."
At MLC it's often the students who choose which apps to use. A few of the students' favorites include Mathboard, Keynote and Corkulous. Apps that are dedicated to eBooks and reading have also proven to be popular. For example iBooks and Marvel Comics are well used within the trial particularly to engage boys with reading.
Preps + iPads = Perfect!
MLC conducted the ‘Prep Experiment’ to investigate the idea of a 1:1 iPad Trial with their Prep cohort. This involved Year 5 students who are involved in the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial teaming up with Prep students to do all things iPad.
The aim of the session was to determine just how the Prep children would respond to the iPads. MLC were interested to see if the younger kids would be able to navigate their way around the iPad and how their fine motor skills would adapt to the touch controls.
“The Year 5 students were excellent in orchestrating and facilitating this learning opportunity as they have become ‘supreme masters’ themselves at using the iPads,” said Corrie, a MLC teacher.
The hour long session was devoted to the Preps exploring the apps that they had available to them and having the Year 5 students assist them where appropriate.
There were several apps that the Prep students enjoyed more than others. Tap Tap Revenge was popular as well as most of the music apps.
According to Corrie, “App’s such as these you cannot get on a PC, at least none with this level of interaction and engagement. Any apps that involved drawing and painting such as Draw Free were very popular. The young students loved drawing and creating pictures using their fingers. 'It was like finger painting' as one prep exclaimed! Draw was also another great choice for obvious reasons!”
MLC found that several of the more disengaged older students thrived on being given the responsibility to ‘show off’ such a great device and its features to the younger students.
In a recent blog Corrie wrote, “I feel that the iPad as a Learning Tool is such as great device for younger students. The ability to simply tap on applications to open them, to use their fingers to navigate their way around and the ease of using such a digital device makes the iPad the perfect prep companion! This session proved that and more”.
Specialist Learning House
In addition to the trial with Year 5 students, 10 iPads are allocated for students to use in the MLC Specialist Learning House, Eildon. The 10 iPads are being used with students who have learning disabilities. MLC are investigating apps that can be effectively used in a specialist learning environment.
There is an iPad support booklet for special education in the support section of this site.
Corrie can report that, “So far, the Eildon students who have used the iPads have absolutely loved them and the feedback from staff in that Learning House has been glowing!”
MLC have purchased additional iPads for all Year 5 staff and for Leading Teachers in Literacy and Numeracy and ICT. The IT Technicians also have an iPad so that they are able to familiarise themselves with the device.
Teachers and students at MLC will continue to experiment with the iPad and explore its potential as a 1-to-1 device for learning.
While MLC won't be replacing all computers and text books just yet, the College has certainly seen a shift towards learning with the use of an iPad. Corrie mentions in his blog,"I do not believe that the iPad will ever replace a MacBook, especially in the upper years of schooling. MacBooks or PCs will always have advanced software and hardware for older students to complete more advanced tasks such as Animation and Digital Creation. However, I feel that there is certainly a place for the use of iPads in the lower to middle primary school years. The applications that are available to support learning are outstanding and are only getting better.
Corrie also offers some advice for teachers on how to use the iPad to support learning. "iPads as a teaching tool have certainly found their niche. I know personally I use SoundNote to take notes and sound recordings when taking Anecdotal and Student Conferencing notes whilst teaching. I always then have all of these notes, as well as the students’ responses via voice recording, on one small device which I can take anywhere."
Corrie also believes that because iPads are considered more reasonably priced than laptops, that this may just sway Principals and ICT Leaders to choose iPads for their school’s 1-to-1 learning device.
Visit Corey's blog at http://manorlakesvicipadtrial.global2.vic.edu.au/
"We have definitely seen a positive shift in student learning, especially within our cohort of, usually, disengaged boys. We now have greater engagement within all Year 5 classes and we have the iPads to thank for that," MLC teacher.