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SMART CLASSROOMS - Computer age comes to Coen

MARCH 2009

A small Far North Queensland school isn't letting its remote location stop it from incorporating information and communication technology (ICT) into its classroom.

Certified...Coen State School principal Emma Toombs with teachers Rachel Black, Tamara Gibson and Amanda Cotter.

In fact, staff from Coen State School are so dedicated to the technology cause that all four teachers have completed the first level of the Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework.

Coen State School is located in a remote Indigenous community on Cape York.

Principal Emma Toombs said it was important for teachers at the school to know how to integrate ICT into their lessons.

'All of our kids are Indigenous and only one family up here has a computer at home,' Ms Toombs said.

'It's our job as teachers to vary delivery in the classroom and engage the kids - that includes exposing them to technology.'

The school's teachers have earned their ICT certificate, one of three levels of the Smart Classrooms framework.

The certificate encourages teachers to use ICT to enhance their students' learning experiences.

'All the teachers are really proud of their achievements but I think they are more excited about the fact we did it together,' Ms Toombs said.

'I will be encouraging all my teachers to complete the second level of the framework this year.'

Theresa Feletar is an eLearning in Indigenous Communities project officer. She said Coen State School deserved to be congratulated for achieving 100 per cent certification.

'It's a pretty big thing, especially for a school that is so isolated,' Ms Feletar said.

'They got right behind the idea of ICT and they didn't miss one practice session with me.'

And it's of little surprise considering the changes Ms Toombs and her team have noticed in their students' behaviour since ICT was more fully integrated at the school.

'It's not only a really effective way of teaching but it's also great when it comes to dealing with behavioural management issues,' Ms Toombs said.