Editor's Note: Today’s guest author is Geeta Ajetrao, the Head Teacher of Digital Learning at Arthur Phillip High School (APHS). Geeta helped guide the successful adoption of technology at APHS and is currently responsible for implementing the school’s digital policies and overseeing digital curriculum.

At Arthur Phillip High School a public secondary school in Parramatta, Australia, we educate 1,500 students in grades 7-12. They come from 65 different countries, and over 90 percent of them speak a language other than English at home. Recognised for our long-standing commitment to digital education, administrators and teachers at Arthur Phillip wanted to make teaching and learning more fluid by improving and enhancing our ever  expanding digital education structure.
Our school first embraced digital education five years ago when the Australian Government's Digital Education Revolution (DER) provided all high school students in grades 9-12 with laptops. To build on this, our teachers designed interactive wikis hosted on school servers so students could communicate with them and other students. When our wiki environment exceeded the capacity of the school servers and DER was discontinued, we needed to find a cost-effective solution that would let our students continue to benefit from digital learning.

One hundred Chromebooks were purchased for a pilot group of students and teachers to test out Google Apps for Education, and both students and teachers alike were enthusiastic about them. Our teachers said Google Drive “made it easy for them to plan interactive lessons,” which would keep the students engaged for an entire period. In Ancient Egypt history class, students start up their Chromebooks in no time - unlike their old laptops. Students can navigate to the site their teacher created to watch and discuss a YouTube video or annotate a map in Google Maps. Chromebooks have created student-centred lessons, allowing students to move at their own pace as teachers provide them with immediate feedback.

Today over 600 of our students in grades 7-9 currently have Chromebooks, and in three years they will be available to every student. Our students now feel more empowered and confident in their abilities. This is especially true for our NSEB (Non English Speaking Background) students whose language literacy skills have improved since we started using Chromebooks in the classroom. Students get customised lessons based on their strengths, and allow teachers to provide them with resources, so they can improve.

Since we introduced a digital learning environment, suspensions have decreased by 50 percent, and attendance has risen significantly. What I’ve noticed most is that the school has a calmer vibe--more students are engaged and excited about their lessons, rather than being bored or distracted. Chromebooks have changed the way our students think about learning. Most importantly, they know it doesn’t have to stop once they leave the classroom.