|| Digital Resources
A specific example of differentiation and support: Mathematics
The CD of digital resources have been shown to be a valuable support for student indpendent learning.
We had an incident at home last night where Abigail came out of her bedroom from doing her homework and she said oh I didn’t understand something and I said can I help you and she said oh no, I looked up one of those help programmes, DVD’s on the computer and it showed me how to work through this, it was a mathematical equation or something, some formula and it was there, step by step, how to with images and I sorted it out myself. It’s brilliant, I mean I couldn’t have helped her anyway I took one look at it and my eyes glazed over so it was brilliant, it’s like having a teacher there. (Parents focus group, Presbyterian Ladies' College)
The below image shows a webpage from the mathematics resource CD, which incorporates five videoclips each demonstrating one problem-solving strategy.
We also have the animated maths dictionary, which is, you can go on it on your laptop and if there’s a sum and you don’t know what one means about the mathematical term, you just type it in and it gives a detailed explanation, and it even shows it in this, on the animated maths dictionary. (Students focus group, Presbyterian Ladies' College)
For mathematics, the CD resource package has the added use of giving parents the opportunity to view the video clips of related ways of doing mathematics, which can be different from the ways of doing similar mathematics at a timer when the parents were students themselves. The mathematics package also features an animated dictionary.
We also encourage our parents to watch that because often they will teach. They can get the answer but they teach it in the method that is not the current way of doing things and, as we all know with Maths, most of the marks go towards the process rather than the fact that, you know, they’ve actually go the right result. So it really has helped our parents to ensure that they teach it correctly at home. We encourage our parents to teach and support us here, as long as they’re teaching it the way we want them to teach it. (Teacher, Presbyterian Ladies' College)
Pedagogical underpinnings: Preparing students for life in the future
Another pedagogical underpinning of the production of the CD resource package for the school's students arises from the school's recognition that the students need to learn how to manage information and how to use technology ethically.
What motivates me to engage with learning technologies is knowing that our students live in a very different world from the world in which I grew up in. We know they are going to engage with technology, that they live in a world that is driven by technology and so to not prepare them for that world is a failure of the educational system. There are so many aspects to that from the ethical use of technology through to ensuring that our students today know how to access information. We know that knowledge is increasing at such an exponential rate, that our students cannot possibly master all the knowledge or to have contemporary knowledge to be taught contemporary knowledge. But it's there at their fingertips, so what we have to do is to ensure that they know how to access it, that they are critical thinkers, that they are able to analyse and synthesise the information that is available to them. What is available to young people today is through the World Wide Web and so I think that it's not an option, we need to engage with the technologies to prepare our students for the 21st century. (Principal, Presbyterian Ladies' College)