The Digital Sandpit at Meredith Primary School

The Digital Sandpit at Meredith Primary School

This week, I was fortunate enough to visit Meredith Primary School where Year 6 teacher, Ben Gallagher, is running a program he has called the Digital Sandpit.

As the name suggests, it is a “sandpit” approach to the use of technology, giving students a variety of experiences with digital devices.

Students are organised into groups and, each day when they arrive at school, have different activities to participate in.  Some activities are quite structured (eg: Mathletics on a laptop computer or Brain Training on a Nintendo DSi) whilst others are less structured.

Activities are centred around the use of a variety of devices such as gaming consoles (eg: Kinect Sensor Camera with the Xbox and the Nintendo Wii), hand held devices (eg: the Nintendo DSi and the iPod touch) and mobile devices (eg: the iPad and laptop computer).

What struck me immediately was how happy and enthusiastic the students were as they started their school day.  It was evident that the first 20 minutes spent on these activities really set the positive tone for the rest of the day.  Ben explained how the introduction of the program was having a positive influence across the curriculum, with the Digital Sandpit activities being used as a basis for Literacy and Numeracy.  The program has been extended to the Year 5 class and there are hopes to extend it to other year levels, depending on funding.

Meredith Primary School is also very close to completing an impressive refurbishment and I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour by their principal.  The learning spaces are open, flexible and inviting with beautiful decking areas leading to the playground.

As I left the school, I was surprised to see that I had only been there for an hour as I had got so much out of the short visit!

Ben was a presenter at this year’s ICTEV Conference and you can click here to view his presentation, The Digital Sandpit, exploring and learning through technology.

Special thanks to Ben for being so welcoming and the friendly staff and students at Meredith Primary School.

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