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This week the Junior School hosted the Parent iPad Forum for parents of Years 3 to 6. It was wonderful seeing new and familiar faces among those parents attending, who are keen to find out how they can best support their child’s digital learning. The parent narrative has long since shifted from why we are having 1:1 devices in school to how we can best prepare children for a digital future yet unknown. At the forum we discussed the controversy around ChatGPT (Artificial Intelligence), which featured in national news at the beginning of the year. While several states have banned the use of this AI in public schooling, South Australian schools and universities, to their credit, have decided to embrace this technology.

Our Ignatian imagination calls us to engage in an ongoing conversation in the better service of our mission, which is reflected in renewal and innovation in our school. This improvement encompasses the evolving pedagogical practices and digital technologies that can potentially transform our students and their engagement in society for the years ahead. Pope Francis once challenged the Jesuits in an address at the canonisation of Peter Fabre. We might do well to ask ourselves the same questions. Do we have great visions and desires? Are we risking anything? Are we flying high? Or are we mediocre … contented with programs that don’t address the needs of students today?

I can think of many genuine examples in which the school is ‘flying high’, including Year 1 students engaged with 3-D printing, Year 3 students working with the latest educational robotics programs, flexible learning arrangements catering for readiness of learning, and Maths and Literacy programs providing analytical data of student progress that informs our teaching. There are so many ways our wonderful staff are redefining the learning, challenging and building the agency of our students. And it shows.

Yet, as hard as we work at evolving our practices, we know our work is never done.

Renewal is an ongoing task in educational work. We need to go a step ahead of what we know and imagine today. Our educational models need to prepare young people for the future.

(The Rio Papers, International Congress for Education Delegates, Rio de Janeiro, 2017)

Nic Boys
Head of Junior School

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