Rural school breaks digital divide
KILCUMMIN State School is not letting its rural location stand in the way of becoming a leader in digital education.
Located about three hours west of Mackay, Kilcummin's entire student community comprises farming families. Its distance from towns means many of these families experience diminished technology and quality internet in their day-to-day life.
Limited access to internet and technology can often put rural schools on the back foot when it comes to using technology in core curriculum subjects, such as maths.
When Bryce Morrice became principal of the school in September 2018, he was determined to shake things up and move his students away from outdated methods of teaching and towards engaging in exciting ways of learning.
One area of the curriculum Mr Morrice wanted to focus on in particular was maths.
He was aware student enrolment in maths and science subjects in tertiary education had hit an all-time low in 2017 and he wanted Kilcummin students to be part of the shift in changing this.
Part of Mr Morrice's mission has included the introduction of the digital maths resource Matific.
Matific uses innovative game-based learning through a software program, designed by education professors and curriculum experts, which features engaging situations for children.
Content can be downloaded once to an iPad and requires low internet bandwidth, which allows for faster access and play time for students.
Mr Morrice said he had seen a strong shift in the way his students were engaging with maths since Matific was implemented to the maths curriculum.
"It's a fantastic application that has changed the way we deliver and teach maths," Mr Morrice said.
"It's an excellent resource that allows children to manipulate strategies and theories digitally in ways they could not do on paper.
"I have always had good maths data, as I personally enjoy teaching the subject. But the integration of Matific becomes exciting for me when I visit the lower years' classrooms. I love seeing young students engaging with activities that have been 'gamified'.
"It excites me when I think of how in years' time, these children have progressed into my upper years' classroom, I know they will have an underlying understanding of the fundamentals from participating and actively engaging digitally with maths."