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Technology puts Tailem Bend students on a fast track to jobs in the 2030s
Tailem Bend Primary School has become the only one in South Australia selected for the Datacom Beacon School Project.
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Years from now, when employers are hiring for the jobs of the future, a lot of ex-Tailem Bend Primary School students will find themselves at the top of the pile.
That’s the hope of the architects of the Datacom Beacon School Project, launched at the school on Wednesday night.
Tailem Bend is the only school in South Australia – and was just the second in the nation – selected for the $500,000 program, which integrates technology into every part of the curriculum.
Principal Travis Schenke predicted it would be a game-changer for students and the community.
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“Today we stand at the beginning of a new era … where technology is seamlessly integrated into our classrooms, where knowledge is at our fingertips and where boundaries of traditional education are pushed,” he said.
“The Beacon School Project will equip us with the tools, resources and expertise to ensure that our students are at the forefront of this education revolution.”
He invited students to let the project ignite their imaginations, deepen their understanding of the world and fuel their aspirations for the future.
“Your potential is boundless, and this project will serve as a catalyst for your success,” he said.
Every student in the school has already been provided with his or her own Chromebook computer.
Two teachers, Julie Schutz and Rebekah Richter, worked through the last holidays to earn certification as level one Google educators; all of their colleagues will eventually do the same training.
Over the coming months, students will benefit from expert visits and excursions, and staff will get continued professional development and opportunities to collaborate with educators around the world.
The school will also be part of a world-first study, with Curtin University, which will attempt to measure their growing ability to collaborate, communicate, create, think critically, develop digital literacy, innovate, learn, organise and solve problems.
Datacom’s Greg Furlong said the skills students were developing would prepare them to work in the information economy in the 2030s.
“We dearly hope your children will have an unfair advantage in the job market they move into in 10 or 15 years’ time,” he said.
“If your children get these soft skills and they’re five per cent better than any other candidate, that’s enough to get them that job – and I’m saying that as a hiring manager.
“It does count for a lot.”
On Wednesday night, students showed their families some of the things they had already learned since the project started.
Some shifted coloured squares around a grid on a smart board to make music, while others showed off place-based quizzes with photos and interactive maps on Google Earth.
Another highlight was a prize giveaway: one student won her own Chromebook, while another won an “engineer for a day” experience at Google’s office in Sydney.
Wednesday’s night’s launch had been a long time coming.
The project was originally scheduled to start in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic quickly got in the way.
Teachers were able to start incorporating some of the technology into their lessons last year.
More information: datacom.com.
Disclosure: Murray Bridge News was the recipient of funding through a separate grant program with connections to Google; click here for more information.