MECS Blog

ICT at MECS

ICT at MECS

Thursday, 31 May 2018  | Mic - ICT Coordinator

Generation Z, the name that has been given to kids born between 1995 and 2009, are the largest generation ever, comprising around 20% of Australia’s population and almost 30% of the world’s population. Globally there are almost 2 billion of them. They are the first fully global generation, shaped in the 21st century, connected through digital devices, and engaged through social media. They have not known a time without the internet or mobile phones. They are a generation that is global, social, visual and technological.

At 5.1 billion searches per day, Google is the number one search engine, but with 4 billion YouTube searches a day, YouTube is a close number two. We have an emerging generation, many of whom are opting to watch a video summarising an issue rather than read an article discussing it. The times, they certainly are ‘a changin’.

We can’t ignore it but we are not going to embrace it without careful consideration!

Don’t succumb to technicism, where we start believing the lies that technology has an inevitable, unstoppable life of its own and there is nothing we can do about it. The internet provides unlimited information but it does not provide or teach wisdom.

We want our students to learn to use ICT wisely, efficiently, responsibly and with discernment. This wisdom and discernment only comes from a biblical foundation and through working with the redemptive power of Christ to transform the place that technology holds in (or over) our lives.

We aim to make ICT integral in our curriculum as much as possible, acknowledging that there is need to teach particular skills at different stages. While our children are very familiar with tech, they are not necessarily very skilled. This takes time to learn just like any other skill. We also want to harness their enthusiasm, develop perseverance, open their eyes to new ways of doing and thinking, and utilise technology to make learning a better experience for our students.

Here are some ways we are trying to do this across the school

3D design and printing with our new 3D printer

MP & SP Minecraft clubs

MS Term Tasters

The MS Wonder Days held this week

BYOD in Senior School

Schoolbox - our Learning management System (LMS) across the Secondary School

MS Lego club run by a student

Cybersafety events coming later in the term/year for MP & SP

Identifying and targeting ICT skills that need developing in different areas

Student ICT Agreements

In the next day or so, you will receive an email about this year’s agreement. Why do we send this to parents as well and ask you to be involved? In Narelle’s editorial about parent partnership last week, she mentioned, “We believe the Bible holds parents responsible for the Godly upbringing of their children. This upbringing is not to be outsourced to others ... The vision is for [teachers and staff] to assist parents in what God has called them to do. ... They are not contracted by parents but are in a covenant community with parents! ... the partnership is to do something radical. It is to educate children in the light of the good news about Jesus. Gospel education looks at the world and disciplines of knowledge through the lens of the Lordship of Jesus over ‘all things’ (Colossians 1).”

We acknowledge Christ as Lord over ALL things, and that includes technology. This is not just about parents ‘giving permission’ and signing the note; we want to involve you in the decisions about the education of your children and reassure you that they are being thought through.

We ask you to be involved in the ICT Agreement process so you can have a trigger for conversation and can help your children to understand their responsibilities and the part they have to play in the covenant relationship of being part of the MECS community. We want to ensure we are on the same page at home and at school.

Dr Joanne Orlando, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Western Sydney University and an expert on children and technology, suggests that:

“It’s important to be aware of what your children are doing online … [to be] talking about technology use openly in the family home, helping children talk about what they’re doing online, who they’re talking to and what they saw.”

God created us for relationship. Decide to develop family habits to build this into your day – it is so easy to gloss over making time for conversation in the rush of daily routines. Our example as parents is vital: model good friendship and relationships in the ‘real’ world, and how to develop hobbies and interests. Model self-control and good choices in your own use of social media. Social media is not all bad but you need to be informed and in control. Set boundaries with your children around usage, and talk about it with them. If we can’t model this for them, how will they learn balance for themselves? Protection is not a sign of mistrust.

MECS created a social media policy last year, which I wrote about back in a September 2017 newsletter. The way we relate to each other and conduct our relationships is so important and can be distorted by use of this media. This policy is now part of the ICT agreement so please go over it with your children, even those in the younger years (there is a child-friendly version).

Do you feel equipped to manage this? How about your own technology use? What impact is technology having in your own homes and lives? You can help your children use their devices and the internet safely by monitoring, protecting and teaching them, and by learning about the internet yourself, if you’re not familiar or comfortable with it.

Educate yourself. Become involved. It’s not easy but we are not alone. We are part of a great community here at MECS and also part of the wider body of Christ. Be encouraged! As we are reminded in Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Talk to your children, each other, or ask me any questions that you have. Let’s talk positively, constructively and faithfully together about how we can raise our children to live well, to live out shalom, in the world.

Some resources worth bookmarking

eSafety Commissioner: https://www.esafety.gov.au

Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org


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