Bowraville Central School Acting Deputy Principal Kerry Kete was recently invited to co-present a webinar for 'Read and Write for Google' to teachers across Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Greg O’Connor, Manager of Texthelp, Gai Cross, Assistant Principal Learning and Support North Coast and Vanna Blucher, Hobsonville High School in New Zealand, were co-presenters.
Bowraville Central School is well known for its innovative teaching practices. Kerry is no stranger to sharing the great things that happen at her school on the big stage, she has twice presented projects as a keynote speaker at the State Literacy conference in Sydney and also been featured as the case study in regional and state wide training courses such as ‘Improving Literacy through project based learning’ and ‘Differentiation in the classroom’.
Kerry said it was great to be given the opportunity to showcase some of the great work being done in our school.
"Being a small school we know our students learning strengths and weaknesses really well and are always keen to try different ways to support students to achieve their potential. It is fantastic that we receive recognition and are able to share our practices."
Kerry has always been passionate about supporting every student to reach their potential and has led several whole-school literacy projects over her nine years.
Often asked "why literacy?" and her reply is because "literacy underpins workplace participation, we want to support students to move into the workforce and succeed in whatever they do."
Kerry has also led another project at BCS using 'Read and Write for Google' to improve the Literacy skills of students which was very successful. This project was chosen as the case study for the Department of Education ‘Personalised Learning’ training course offered to all teachers in NSW.
'Read and Write for Google' is a toolbar that overlays whatever a student has on their computer screen. It offers students a suite of literacy support tools such as 'read to me', 'simplify the text on this page', 'define this word' and 'predictive text'.
The toolbar facilitates personalised learning as students have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. Different students choose to use different tools, depending on what works for them.
Kerry says “using the toolbar provides students with the individual support they need to succeed in the classroom, not only do they gain independence and confidence but their literacy skills show a steady improvement”.
Their literacy progress was tracked over a year using a variety of measurements and some of this data was shared during the webinar which ‘went to air’ February 25.
All participants in the teachers’ webinar had very positive feedback.
One commented… "I was present at the webinar this afternoon - what a fabulous project at Bowraville Central School!....very interesting process and clearly made an impact on the students and their access to the curriculum."
The other case study presented during the webinar was Hobsonville High School in New Zealand. It was great to see what other schools do with 'Read and Write for Google' in their context.
The next big project Kerry is working on with all the staff at BCS is creating a quality learning culture from Kindergarten to Year 12 to improve students writing skills.
It is early days yet for this collaborative learning process, but hopefully this time next year she will be reporting on the student growth and improvement in writing.