Ormiston College QLD win Award for Innovation

Brisbane-based independent school triumphs over more than 50 nominations to land the inaugural Computelec/ELH Award for Innovation

Ormiston College in Brisbane’s south-eastern suburbs has been announced as the inaugural winner of the Computelec/Expanding Learning Horizons (ELH) Award for Innovation, defeating two other finalists and a total of over 50 nominations to take out the $5000 first prize.

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Presented at ELH SchoolTech 2014, Australia’s premier annual education technology conference held this year in Lorne, Victoria from 17-19 August, the Award for Innovation exists to celebrate and reward outstanding technology innovation in school environments.

It serves to motivate innovation in schools and to inspire continual improvement of education outcomes through the use of technology. Nominations were judged based on a broad array of criteria including Student Achievement Outcomes, Leadership, Curriculum Adherence and Digital Content as well as Innovation in Infrastructure including hardware, software, networks and tech support.

Ormiston College beat fellow-finalists, St Catherine’s School in Waverley (Sydney) and St Mary’s Primary School in Warner’s Bay (NSW) for the outstanding strategy, development and delivery of its “Blended Learning Environment”.

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Judges comments in relation to the winner said that; “Ormiston had best demonstrated exceptional use of resources to support and develop 21st century education capabilities. Their commitment to innovation is embedded in everything they do. This is the manifestation of a clear vision for enhanced teaching and learning with improved student outcomes at its core.”

In presenting the award for the first time, conference host and Founding Director of ideasLAB, Bruce Dixon said: “We were overwhelmed with the response to this award and have been inspired to grow the concept by the quality of submissions we received.

“There were a large number of outstanding nominations and it was a very difficult task for the esteemed judging panel to finalise the winner but in the end they surmised that the Ormiston submission best met the defined criteria for assessment.”

Ormiston College’s Principal, Brett Webster was thrilled to accept the award. He offered high praise to the school’s Learning Innovation Leadership Committee, headed by Dean of eLearning, Tamara Sullivan for the way they have used technology at Ormiston to deliver better teaching and learning outcomes as well as to engage the entire school community.

“We have a strong focus on fostering collaborative learning at Ormiston so that students are actively engaged in exchanging, debating and negotiating ideas with their peers,” Webster said. “Effective use of cutting edge technology facilitates this while encouraging the teaching staff to embrace a culture of innovation provides the opportunity for students to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop their critical thinking skills.

“We are delighted to win this award and would like to thank Computelec and Expanding Learning Horizons for the opportunity to receive this recognition. We are just one school in many that are doing some amazing things around the country in terms of 21st century learning and innovation.”

Webster said the $5000 prize-money will be used to extend professional development opportunities for staff. “Our biggest challenge is to continue empowering our staff to go new places and do new things. To take some risks to see what can happen,” Webster said.

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“We will use the prize-money to add to the pool we have for teaching and technology staff to attend conferences and seminars where new ideas are discussed.”

Following the strong endorsement of the awards concept by the education community, plans are well underway for next year’s Awards for Innovation with the likelihood of multiple categories and increased prize-money. Keep an eye on Computelec’s website (www.computelec.com.au) for details.

Computelec continues to be the only IT services provider in Australia that focuses exclusively on the education vertical.