Reflections on the use of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in a secondary science program

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In 2009 Stephen Seddon was Science Coordinator at Noble Park Secondary College, in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. In 2010 he is Head of Junior School (Years 7-9) at the College. At the end of 2009 he was interviewed by Keith Redman, Editor of ANSN E-News. This Snapshot is based upon that interview and subsequent conversations.

About the school
Noble Park Secondary College is a school of around 650 students, located in a multicultural outer suburb of Melbourne. High proportions of the students are from non-English speaking and/or low socio-economic status backgrounds. Many are refugees, from a wide range of countries and cultures – most recently including cohorts of arrivals from Sudan and Afghanistan – some of whom have had little or no previous schooling.

Apart from their time in our ESL program these students are integrated in mainstream classes. In a typical science class, for example, the teacher will have some recent arrivals who are struggling with English as a new second language, studying a common topic alongside students with English as their first language, whose levels of achievement will vary from “average” to well above the standards expected at their chronological age.

Working with classes that are both multi-cultural and highly variable in terms of student achievement levels, the key is to focus on task differentiation, based on individual learning needs and personalised curriculum. Teachers need to know and be able to use the full range of resources and technologies to their best effect, to support that personalised curriculum and ensure the best possible outcome for each individual.
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