I had the great pleasure of launching the Delany Connective at Delany College, Granville last Wednesday. The Delany Connective is a contemporary approach to schooling aimed at fostering the deeper knowledge and skills (cognitive and non-cognitive) necessary in today’s world. Students have access to contemporary tools within a contemporary and collaborative learning environment.
Delany staff identified an urgent need to provide a relevant and quality learning experience for students entering high school. What makes this different is the partnership with Telstra and Cisco to deliver a connected learning environment. The partnership with industry extends beyond an investment in technology – it is an investment in learners and teachers.
Speaking at the launch, Brendan Riley, Group Executive of Global Enterprise and Services from Telstra said the 4cs that underpin the Delany Connective: communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration were the skills that Telstra also values. So much so that Telstra re-crafted its vision statement to a ‘brilliantly connected future for everyone.’
At the heart of the Connective is a curriculum framework called the Learning Wheel developed by our teaching educator, Dr Miranda Jefferson. The wheel describes the qualities learners need in today’s world to maximise their learning. It is expressed on the wheel as cognitive (communication, critical thinking, creativity), intra-personal (grit, curiosity, focus) and inter-personal (empathy, influence and collaboration). Students are encouraged to assess how they are progressing and then take greater ownership of their learning.
The launch was a great success but for me the real stars were the parents. Each spoke about their child becoming more confident as individuals and more engaged as learners. As one mother said, her son was now driving his own learning. When I asked these parents how they would know the initiative was working, they said their children were going to school excited and coming home happy.
Parents can be our harshest critics but these parents weren’t talking from a script, they were speaking from the heart. One of the most encouraging stories was a Year 7 student with significant learning disabilities who spent much of their primary schooling feeling isolated and disengaged. His mother told me that not only does he see himself as a valued member of the learning community but for the first time in his life, he’s proud of his achievements.
It’s important to remember this is the start of a very long journey for the Delany school community but I know with their passion and commitment we can look forward to sharing more of these stories.