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Harnessing Technology to Unlock Educational Potential at Australian International School

While curriculums have evolved and learning philosophies have progressed, the biggest changes in education in recent decades involve technology.

 Parents who handwrote essays and used library card catalogs to perform research are now sending their children to schools supplied with computers and tablets that grant access to artificial intelligence (AI) alongside the limitless powers of the World Wide Web. Schools today must decide how best to harness the great potential offered by these technologies while mitigating inherent dangers.

Australian International School Saigon can attest to the importance of embracing technology in the classroom where it enhances and accelerates learning. The school has taken measures to provide students with state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Last year, this included the construction of their auditorium’s state-of-the-art LED display and sound system, and new purpose-built Media Centre that allows students to experience technology in their lessons via devices for Computer Science; keyboards and programs for Music Technology and 3-D printers for Design Technology and Visual Art.

With an Open Day approaching on March 23, it is the perfect time for parents and families to learn more about the ways technology are enhancing learning at AIS.

Artificial Intelligence’s Wide-Reaching Impact

AIS Saigon’s Secondary Principal, Ben Armstrong, recognizes the potential for AI to disrupt every sector of society, and education is no exception. When used wisely, AI can help personalize and enrich the learning experience of students. For example, it can make creating material specific to individual learner profiles and needs much easier. He explained, “We use Century AI software to individualize student learning in Math, Science and English… the AI software tailors the difficulty of questions based on the students' understanding of previous tasks completed.” AI’s capacity to quickly adjust and adapt lessons also makes it easier for teachers to tailor material for individual student's needs, “so every student in a class is stretched to the upper limits of their capabilities,” he says.

Children learn in unique ways, and instead of a ‘one size fits all approach,’ Generative AI helps teachers better support students with different learning styles. Whisper, for example, is an app that allows students to turn speech to text and thus plays to student strengths. Meanwhile, chatGPT supports the initial stages of research and streamlines holistic, inquiry-based learning methods.

Familiar Technologies Flourish

While AI may be the newest and most exciting technology empowering student learning at AIS, there are many other more familiar devices and programs maximizing learning potential as well. Because AIS is a Microsoft school, students become familiar with programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This helps them prepare for post-graduation experiences, as the programs are standard in universities and workplaces around the world.

Technology also plays an important role at AIS beyond the classroom. As previously mentioned, the new, robustly-equipped Media Centre allows members of arts and music clubs to cultivate creativity while experiencing the digital tools that musicians, painters, dancers and designers rely on in the real world. Meanwhile, the school has been able to introduce and grow technology-dependent extracurriculars such as a coding club, STEAM activities and Robofox Science experiments.

Safe Use of Technology and Parental Involvement

Alongside the many benefits of technology in classrooms exist some risks. From cyberbullying, to easy access to mature material, to difficulties discerning fact from fiction, irresponsible internet and program use can cause significant harm. Thus, AIS invited Jonathan Taylor, a global expert on online safety, to lead multi-day workshops for parents, students and staff to educate them about responsible internet activity and introduce important guidelines and behavior. Taylor’s regular pastoral lessons focus on digital footprints and remaining safe online.

Many parents are concerned about the total time their children spend behind a screen, especially as schools increasingly adopt technology. Recognizing the importance of time offline to develop interpersonal relationships and healthy connections with reality, AIS “ensures that some classes are ‘tech-free zones’ so that students are still practicing their handwriting, and the soft skills that are so important to their development, such as teamwork, communication and reading non-verbal cues in conversation,” Amstrong explains.

Parents are involved in discussions about online safety so they can help promote responsible technology use at home. They also benefit from technology’s ability to connect them to the school and their children’s education. For example, Primary School teachers use SeeSaw to post text, photos and videos of the day's activities to share with families. Extracurricular activities, such as the recent AISA Games are also streamed online so family members around the world can watch. Such communication allows parents to have a more active role in their children’s day and better visibility of their learning progress.

The Future on Display at Australian International School

Technology is certain to play an increasingly important role in the years to come, and so it is important to learn how to use the programs and devices available now, as well as how to adapt to the ones that will soon arrive. Amstrong says AIS does this “by fully embracing new technologies and implementing them into our daily routines.”

The best way to witness this embrace and implementation at AIS is to join the Open Day on March 23 at 9am. Parents and prospective students will have opportunities to experience the new Media Centre in action as well as observe students completing experimental work, making use of data collection technology in the science lab, musical performances that rely on new technologies, as well as ask questions of the leadership team. The day promises a glimpse into the future of technology in education and how each child can benefit from it.

Attendees to AIS Saigon’s Open Day on March 23 will have opportunities to learn about the 100% scholarships available for students from grade 7 to grade 11 and discounts of up to VND 16,300,000. Application fees are waived for those in attendance. Register here.



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