Extra Credits rounds up the latest stories on innovative educational endeavors coming from other parts of Microsoft and the world. Today’s entry comes from Bentley Park College, a state college facing a low socio-economic index in Cairns, Queensland, but now reaping the benefits of reorienting its culture around technological excellence.
Over the course of six years, Bentley Park saw that embedding technology and enrolling students in Microsoft Imagine Academy courses ultimately improved learning outcomes. Overall education certificate attainment for students, key in obtaining employment later, sat at 55 percent in 2011. Today, the college reports, attainment has risen to 100 percent.
In 2011, our school decided to focus more resources on establishing a culture of excellence in technology and demonstrating the connection between improved student learning and our own improved practice with ICT. The goal was to be able to offer Bentley Park College students career options that would assist all students completing high school with a QCE and either get them into further education or employment. Through Certificate courses students would be able to attain QCE points and through qualified PD our teaching staff would be able to support our students in using the needed technology.
We decided to focus on certificates that would not only help our students attaining points for their QCE but also help them develop skills that made them employable after high school. Apart from setting up Cisco and VET certification courses, we decided to utilise the opportunities involved in being part of the Microsoft Imagine Academy. The focus was to enroll students in the Year 10 Cisco ITE course, Year 10, 11 and 12 Microsoft MOS certification courses, Year 11 and 12 Cisco CCNA subject, and Year 11 and 12 Cert I IDMT, Cert II IDMT and Cert IV IDM courses.