It now seems a lifetime ago (mid-2015) when we made the above expectation & encouragement public. On doing so, the statements were met with a mixture of excitement, fear and to be honest, a fair degree of scepticism by the Aorere College community.
Now in February 2016, only the excitement exists and arguably continues to grow and evolve, as students, teachers & parents become more comfortable and understanding of our school's digital transformation.
On the first day our Year 9 students graced our campus, I was amazed at how competent and confident these young men and women were in a digital context. Part of the induction day involved every Year 9 student present creating their school network, Google and Wi-Fi profile and being briefed on digital citizenship. By mid-morning, this part of the day nicknamed "Google Sessions" became so popular that those students who had not yet had their turn could barely wait.
What was also so pleasing about the first week back at Aorere from a digital perspective was the enthusiasm of the teaching staff. Whether it was during our whole school Digital professional learning sessions, during our Digital Learning PLG session or most importantly in the classroom, teachers were being great role models in implementing school-wide expectations re Google Classroom & Google Drive.
And the Wi-Fi held!!!!!! Through-out the week, there was always the occasional lag but the school's considerable 2015 investments (Fortigate, 60 new WAPs, seven external WAPs outside, and UFB) paid off big-time.
As the image below indicates, we needed to have reliable and fast internet to ensure that teachers could have confidence in delivering on-line content and activities.
Two classroom experiences reinforced the power of modern learning. In visiting one of the school inaugural Year 10 Robotics lessons, I was blown away by how adept technically the male and female students were and also how focused and collaborative they were over the double-period.
Then on Thursday, I had my first double-period with my Year 11s. Suffice to say, the lesson activity of them completing a one-minute wevideo introducing themselves made the time fly. What was even more impressive was how quick a number of students discovered the play version of the wevideo app and proceeded to make high-quality videos on their phones and submit them to our Google Classroom.
The week closed off with students going home at 2.20pm Friday and teachers as learners in their chosen professional learning group. In a sweltering staffroom, approximately 50 teachers (over half the staff) were brilliant in their contributions and engagement in the Digital Learning option with many staying on task even well after the accepted leaving time.
What a week indeed for Aorere Digital and what's even cooler is we're just getting started. Roll on Week 2!