Jeppe’s declared intention to teach our boys 21st Century skills and prepare them for the world they are going into has taken a big step forward this year with the introduction of a weekly lesson for the grade 9s entitled RBS IT Skills.
“It’s basically a 21st Century Skills preparation programme,” said Mr Rob Faltermeier, the school’s ITC and Innovation director. “We aren’t teaching computer literacy or device competency, the boys can generally operate the machinery. Instead, it’s about how to behave in the online space. It’s about how to use the cloud to best benefit, about digital literacy and netiquette, and how to use the social media responsibly.”
The curriculum that’s being taught has been designed in collaboration between Mr Faltermeier and the IT staff, Ms Steph Craig and Mr Brandon Holtz. “It’s not prescriptive, nor is it examinable, but everything we do will be in pursuit of those 21st Century Skills, including critical thinking; creativity; collaboration and communication,” Mr Faltermeieir said.
There will be an element of basic coding involved, but that’s not the main focus. “We will teach some of the basic building blocks required to write a programme, explained the school’s coding expert, Ms Craig, but that’s mainly to introduce them to systematic thinking and to finding solutions.”
Jeppe is well on the way to becoming a Google School and many of the Google Education resources will be used during the course.
“We will use them to introduce the boys to compute skills that are useful for practical applications like budgeting, project management, compiling CVs and even website design,” Faltermeier said.
The school is already using Google Chromebooks in teaching, with more devices on order, and the machines in the computer centre are also used, so there is enough hardware available to keep the boys fully involved.
“The idea is be topical, dealing with issues that are happening now. I’m pretty sure that what we are doing is unique in state schools. It’s very much the direction in which the school is going,” Faltermeier concluded.