Bastow Changemakers

Innovation; News; Technology
Bronwyn Joyce, teacher at Liddiard Road Primary School, Traralgon

ICT and globalising the classroom

Bronwyn Joyce in IndiaWhen Bronwyn Joyce looks back over the past 18 months, she can’t quite believe what she, her school and her students have achieved. In 2013, Bronwyn not only found herself presenting to 5000 people at an educational workshop in India, but she also travelled to China and presented at the iEARN Global Education Conference in Qatar - all a very long way from the small primary school in regional Traralgon where she teaches.

“It has been a whirlwind 18 months, but it has been very, very rewarding!” says Bronwyn.

These “life-changing experiences” all started when Bronwyn became interested in globalising education and using ICT to engage children in the classroom.

“I think learning about the world through ICT brings some fun into learning,” says Bronwyn. “I also think that ICT and globalising classrooms should not be an add-on, but rather be integrated throughout the curriculum.”

So after polishing up her own ICT skills, she started using the computer more with her students, including introducing them to blogging.

“And that’s when I really started seeing the difference it was making to the kids - being in a low socioeconomic area, a lot of them simply don’t know much about the world.”

It was at this point that Bronwyn knew she was onto something, but she was unsure how to take the next step, in particular, how to communicate her vision to other staff at the school.

And then a co-worker suggested that Bronwyn enrol in the Bastow Changemakers course, and as it turns out, this was exactly what she needed to put her ideas into action. The course gave her the inspiration, knowledge and connections to empower her to implement change.

“For me the Bastow course really built my confidence - just by actually meeting with other educators and listening to the stories really ignited an excitement within me to share my knowledge with others.”

With her newfound confidence, Bronwyn encouraged other teachers in her year level to start up blogs in their classrooms, and her plan to have all the teachers blogging in a year, happened in just six months.

“And then I won a scholarship to go to Qatar, and from there I ended up in India working with teachers to implement exactly the change project that I was doing in my school.”

For Bronwyn, the Bastow course taught her how “to break the project down to make it achievable” and that if you want to initiate change “… you need to be able to see that it is sustainable and that it is within reach for people to actually achieve it themselves”. This is especially the case for ICT as many teachers don’t recognise the potential of new technologies for their own teaching and students’ learning.

What Bronwyn will do next is anyone’s guess, but if her achievements over the past year are any indication, the sky’s the limit.

“All these successes are well above the expectations I had when I began the project,” says Bronwyn. “Just in the last three weeks my students have been facilitating their first official global project, and networks of educators are now even asking me for PD on blogging and Web 2.0 – 12 months ago this was unimaginable!”

For further information on the Bastow Changemakers course, please visit the Bastow website at: www.bastow.vic.edu.au/courses/bastow-changemakers