Dragging the digital chain

planning the pedagogical and digital direction of Oakhill College

Shani Hartley, Melissa Carson, Nick Cook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


Oakhill College is a private Catholic secondary school in suburban Castle Hill, part of the Sydney greater metropolitan area. It has 1700 students, all boys, other than 240 girls in Years 11 and 12. Oakhill College is steeped in tradition and breaking from a traditional model of teaching has been a challenge.

When the Australian Government introduced the Digital Education Revolution initiative in 2009 the college embraced the opportunity to purchase 1000 webbooks stored in charging trolleys within classrooms. Essentially, they failed. Android Tablets started being issued to students on a 1:1 basis in 2012, also with little success.

The main obstacle to including technology in the classroom was the lack of pedagogical change. The majority of teachers and leaders continued to focus on control of the classroom as their paramount concern.

In 2013 the Innovative Learning Team (ILT) was formed, with one of its main tasks to plan the future direction of the school in terms of student-centred learning and the technology to support it. The research involved visiting other schools, literature review, auditing current school infrastructure and surveying the school community.

The ILT recommended pedagogical change at Oakhill to be driven by (1) a clear message and modelling of good practice from the Principal and his leadership team (2) tapping into an existing grassroots movement of innovative pedagogy to help facilitate personalised professional development across all staff and (3) changing the physical structure of classrooms to enable more modern pedagogical practices of connected and collaborative student-centred learning to occur more easily.

Early stages of implementation have shown this has been an effective strategy so far, although stronger resistance than expected by some have resulted in some mandatory requirements being set.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICERI2013 : 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings
Place of PublicationValencia, Spain
PublisherInternational Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
ISBN (Print)9788461638475
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (6th : 2013) - Seville, Spain
Duration: 18 Nov 201320 Nov 2013
Conference number: 6th

Publication series

NameICERI Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2340-1095


ConferenceInternational Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (6th : 2013)
Abbreviated titleICERI


  • pedagogy
  • technology
  • infrastructure

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