ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award (ASG NEiTA)
A teacher who describes children as ‘digital natives’ and is passionate about integrating ICT to engage, motivate and enhance 21st Century learners will receive an ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award (ASG NEiTA) on February 16 at a presentation ceremony in Melbourne.
“Students today are digital natives, they have been born into a highly technological world. They inhabit, navigate and communicate within a society which is both technologically and information-rich. I see ICT as one of many tools for learning and not something to be taught in isolation. I love seeing teachers come on board with embedding technology in their classrooms.”
Athena Hammond is the ICT co-ordinator and lead teacher at Alawa Primary School in the Northern Territory. Almost 25 percent of students are Indigenous and another quarter speak English as a Second Language/Dialect. Athena will join 11 other outstanding educators from across Australia in receiving the top awards.
Selected from around 1450 nominations in 2017, the 12 national award recipients will be honoured for their inspiring and innovative contribution to teaching. Now in its 23rd year, the ASG NEiTA awards have contributed more than $1 million in professional development grants to outstanding teachers in Australia and New Zealand.
The ICT team leader and instructional coach says she’s stepped out of her comfort zone since joining the school.
“By immersing myself in an environment which encourages growth, change and innovation, this has made the last four years of my career extremely rewarding.
“As technology has grown I have grown with it and I’ve had the opportunity to share innovative practice and showcase effective strategies, software and applications, mentoring staff as they build their knowledge and competence in integrating ICT into their lessons.
“I am an advocate for Google Classroom, multi devices and the power of using different apps with the classroom environment. As a school we will strive to expose students to skills needed to prepare them with knowledge for the future.”
Athena also mentors students who form a student leadership group called Tech Ninjas. Together they create, communicate and collaborate on 21st Century ICT skills.
Athena was nominated by a parent whose son is ‘lucky enough’ to be on the team.
“Athena prepares for and runs this group, provides breakfast and washes their Tech Ninja shirts each week. These students are given opportunities and responsibilities to improve their own IT skills as well as help and support and classmates and staff at the school. My son loves this and is very proud to be part of the team.”
She also introduced the Meaningful Maths program, adopting new teaching strategies and adopting a whole school approach.
“It did take a significant rethinking for students and parents to get them fully immersed in the program as it was a big change to how maths was taught especially with a focus on problem solving, using hands-on resources and student voice. “
Through her leadership students have improved their NAPLAN Numeracy results by 20 percent. Athena says the Meaningful Maths program has helped close the gap between the national NAPLAN mean and the mean for students at the school.”
Athena has taken the success of the program, leading professional development sessions to new teachers and schools across a network of 15 schools throughout Darwin and Katherine.