Film shows laptops central to learning

The latest instalment of a film project following the technological journey of students at two NSW high schools highlights the central role laptops play in their day-to-day learning.

4Up is the story of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) program in NSW through the eyes of a group of students who were among the first to receive a laptop in Year 9.

The students - at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School and Denison Secondary College, Bathurst High Campus - are now starting senior school as they enter Year 11 and move towards more independent learning.

Meeting student needs

4Up shows how the technology has enabled schools to meet individual students' needs far more effectively and how schools have evolved into dynamic student-centred places.

Dianne Marshall, program director of the DER-NSW, said the access and mobility of the laptops had been a clear success of the program.

"Students are able to take the laptops with them wherever they go," she said.

"They are no longer restricted by not being able to access information when they are not at school, or having to share the family computer. Innovative programs on the laptop have improved learning outcomes, with many lessons now paperless.

"Students now can't imagine their lives without technology, whether in or out of school."

"My laptop is my life"

Her belief is backed by student comments throughout the video that include statements such as: "My laptop is my life"; "With technology, kids my age ... without it you're lost"; and "If I don't have my phone or my laptop or even my social network, I feel really disconnected from everyone else; I feel I'm missing a part of me."

Relieving principal at Denison Secondary College, Bathurst High campus, Gaye Dunshea, likened the DER-NSW laptop program to a successful relationship.

 "We're now into that phase of really getting to know what the laptops are capable of, what we can do in classrooms with the laptops, what sort of structures we need in the school to support students so that they're useful and valued and an important part of students' lives," Ms Dunshea said.

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