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Expanding the spectrum of engagement

By Isabella Wood on 19 June 2020Partner School StoriesUKstaffroomNSWstaffroom

An Atomi partner school story: Hennessy Catholic College.

The challenge

Continuing a strong history of academic excellence and online education, Hennessy Catholic College sought an engaging revision tool for its senior students. A regional college with a state of the art campus, the school strives to maintain a strong focus on enhancing learning through technology. While its use within the school would soon grow, Atomi was predominantly brought on board to support Year 12 students in their preparation for the HSC trial exams.

Strategy

Atomi was initially implemented as a revision tool across the board for senior students. Hennessy Catholic College doesn’t mandate a particular pedagogy or teaching style for their staff. Rather, departments and teachers are encouraged to use a select set of education platforms as they see fit. Thanks to Atomi’s flexibility to integrate with the school's familiar platforms, like Google Classroom, Hennessy soon came to integrate Atomi into pedagogical practices beyond simply outside of revision, meaning that the spectrum of engagement began to expand. Atomi soon integrated seamlessly with the different operations of each subject department and classroom. While the school still implements Atomi as a revision technique to encourage students to engage in active learning, now the majority of teachers have adopted a flipped or blended approach to its implementation.

Flipping their approach has allowed many Hennessy teachers to introduce new concepts before students step inside the classroom. This way they can cover more ground on each syllabus point upfront, with students arriving in class, prepared to work on higher-order skills or more difficult concepts. By turning to Atomi to cover concepts outside of class time, the valuable face-to-face time has been freed up for teachers to work with students on mastering application of skills and concepts

It provides our students with additional resources to deepen their knowledge base around core concepts.
Patricia Stadtmiller, English Leader

When looking to bring some variety into their lessons, many teachers opt for a blended approach by going through Atomi content in class. This can range from establishing the topics about to be covered using digital content and videos, all the way to breaking down the Atomi practice questions in class discussions.

Impact

In order to gauge the impact of Atomi at Hennessy Catholic College, the school turned to its students.

This is the best thing our school has ever had. It’s our saving grace. Atomi explains topics really easily and the practice HSC question instructions are really helpful. It makes a difference to how I study because I can write my notes as I watch it—being able to stop it and also get the script is useful too. The quizzes are helpful and I know I am better at multiple choice questions because of this.
Year 12 students Ella, Bronte, Rose and Tahlia.

99% of students surveyed after the trial wanted to keep Atomi, with 96% saying they used it regularly in their study. Over 95% of students thought that Atomi improved their trial results, a finding backed up by their teachers.

In 2019 students who used Atomi as a tool to refresh and study for the HSC had stronger results than students who did not.
Marianne McLachlan, Visual Arts teacher and CAPA Leader

While the statistics behind student engagement are impressive, the real impact for teachers comes from knowing that they are cultivating learners who are consistently engaged and curious, both inside the classroom and in their independent study. While students benefit from the sense of accountability and achievement progressing through Atomi content affords them, teachers can rely on an extensive library of additional resources.

Using Atomi has meant we have been able to provide a valuable learning tool for some subjects that do not have many online resources available. In the remote learning world, this has been incredibly invaluable. Furthermore, the short clips are easily accessible by students of all abilities and the feature to be able to stop and take notes only enhances their understanding of the content. The quizzes are fabulous for staff to assess student understanding and to monitor how regularly they are revising the content.
Sharon Hibbert, Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning

Such are these resources that Andrew Fouracre, an Advanced and Extension Maths teacher, went so far as to call them “a blessing”. Embraced by teachers and students alike, Atomi’s partnership with Hennessy Catholic College continues to foster forward-thinking pedagogies in remote NSW.


  • School type: Systemic Catholic Secondary School
  • Established: 2000
  • Students: 478
  • Teaching staff: 45

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