By Ellen Richards

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For the second consecutive year, leading education software providers, Schoolbox and Digistorm Education, have partnered to bring you the innovative-schools-2016-report.

It is great to see, that again this year, many of the schools showcased are both Schoolbox and Digistorm clients, who are leading the charge in transforming Australia’s educational framework.

The second annual report showcases 40 schools who are ‘Change Merchants’ that are pushing the boundaries and demonstrating leadership in change. They introduced an innovative edge in everything they do, from pedagogy to technology and all aspects of K–12 education.

We note the focus on technology which continues to prove its ability to drive improvements in student outcomes while supporting schools to move away from traditional methods.

Technology presents real challenges for educators and only those prepared to embrace change, embody innovation in a variety of forms and try new approaches to teaching and learning, will shape the educational landscape of the future. Schools are being challenged to review the impact and use of new technologies and at the same time improving how parents engage throughout their child’s learning journey.

With Schoolbox Founder and Director Sean Richards, we discussed the breadth of innovation that exists in the K–12 space and how technology is setting up students for success.

Innovative schools: Setting up students for success.

Technology has proven it can make a significant impact in the way students participate in learning. The education sector is deep within a shift away from traditional learning settings, where knowledge was dictated and consumed. Schoolbox Founder and Director Sean Richards agrees.

“Students will learn more collaboratively, mimicking future work environments. This shift means that the knowledge required for success in the future transcends skills-based competencies and instead focuses on building attributes that encourage students to be dynamic and adaptable in rapidly changing working environments.”

“Technology is an enabler to shape capabilities in communication, creativity and collaboration; where the classroom becomes a place of connecting to and the sharing of knowledge and teachers move away from being lecturers, to acting as mentors. It is this understanding of the future of the classroom that guides the Schoolbox purpose and product,” says Richards.

Virtual school environments need to embrace all aspects of a student’s life at school and their learning journey, and actively enhance engagement with the school’s wider community to bring the most value. When a technology platform such as Schoolbox becomes a fundamental part of a school’s culture, the inherent advantages become apparent. But whether that is integrating and connecting with other systems, external learning content or the wider school community, in the end, it all comes down to learning outcomes.

Our focus is to recognise innovative educators who use technology to improve teaching and learning outcomes. We view technology as a key to innovation, giving schools the power to measure and monitor performance and continuously improve. Innovative schools will embrace technology to support students in becoming engaged, self-aware and reflective learners and provide them with the best opportunity to be successful now and in the future.

We extend our congratulations to these clients and all the entrants that made this year’s Innovative Schools list – well done!

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We encourage all schools to continue to share initiatives and reflect on the stories about educators and their big ideas for change and innovation through technology. A big thank you to The Educator for pushing the education industry forward and for the opportunity for Schoolbox and Digistorm to be a major contributor to this initiative.