The GETT Centre was established more than 30 years ago to help people with a disability further their education and employment. Although that philosophy still runs deep through the GETT Centre today, we have developed ourselves into so much more. The GETT Centre is situated in state of the art facilities in Traralgon where we have access to some of the latest technologies from smartboards to Playstation 3’s.
The GETT Centre has evolved and undergone significant growth over the past four years, moving from primarily having a focus on training young people with a disability and running a Disability Employment Service to catering for all young people within the community who are disengaged from education and require additional assistance with their literacy, numeracy and life skills. This involves setting up and delivering programs on behalf of schools and community groups as well as breaking down the boundaries on what education looks like to most. Much of the learning now done at the GETT Centre takes place either connected to the world through our expanding range of engaging gizmo’s and gadgets or through being out and about in the community performing tasks as work groups, volunteering and doing an assortment of fundraising and community minded activities.
Sometime ago as a unit we started to contemplate how we might be able to use Web 2.0 technologies and gaming devices for engaging our students in an educational context. Through some trial and error we have slowly implemented the following changes:
- The use of online social networking
- Students have access to a Playstation 3 with both educational and recreational games
- The development of a student breakout area with fun and stimulating card and board games as well as an outdoor basketball ring to let off some steam
- The computer lab has been replaced with a mobile laptop cart that turns any and all classrooms into computer labs.
These subtle strategies have helped us to develop a culture of using technology to engage our students. Our process and practices along with technology are always evolving however we pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge and firmly believe that if a device out there can make a student’s life easier then we are happy to give it a go and give them the opportunity to engage and to be educated.
This Partnership for Participation project is a wonderful opportunity to explore the use of mobile devices for the testing of and building of literacy and numeracy skills for this complex cohort.
Team Leader – GETT Centre