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Bacchus Marsh Grammar e-News
Issue 9  |  13 April 2016
Featured Story

I would like to welcome all families to the commencement of Term 2 and hope that you have all had a restful break. Over the break there was significant press on the role of computers in classrooms, following one high performing school in NSW decision to remove mobile computing devices until the end of Year 10.

Whilst I feel this move to be somewhat extreme, the move is not without thought or indeed some sensible academic backing. IT in classrooms is but another tool to enable good teaching to occur. Technology in and of itself does not improve student learning outcomes. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest if it is used incorrectly it can have a negative effect. Computers like calculators before them and “rods” before that are tools that help students grasp ideas or remove some of the mundane aspects of tasks to make teaching of complex ideas move efficient or practical. Anyone old enough to have been at school “pre-calculators” would remember that a large slab of Year 8 Mathematics involved learning how to navigate a book of logtables so that complex calculations could be done with some speed. All of this became unnecessary or simplified dramatically with the arrival of the calculator. One of the major concerns in relation to the introduction of computing into schools has been that to justify the expense of equipment schools and teachers have been under some pressure to use technology, even when it has been of limited or no benefit.

When this school went through the process two years of making decisions about I.T. it was well aware of these concerns. In this sense the choice of the Chromebook was a considered one and the basic sense of the decision is becoming more apparent. Chromebooks are powerful enough to do virtually any I.T function that school students may need to do. In the few areas this is not the case specialist equipment has been provided. Whilst not inexpensive, the Chromebook is available at a price that requires no one (school or teacher) to use IT for the sake of it; if it is not going to in some way improve classroom efficiency.

I feel that in the Chromebook we have had a remarkably smooth roll out of a major initiative, that is increasingly being shown to enable schools to provide I.T. when needed at the right price. The benefits of this decision both in terms of cost savings and educational outcomes are becoming more apparent every day.


Andrew A. Neal


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