Global Innovation Awards 2017: Winner

Category: Writing with Integrity | Secondary Education | Australia and New Zealand

Alarna Priestley

Alarna Priestley

Head of Department (Acting) English: Noosa District State High School, Australia

“I just feel like everyone needs to be able to have the ability to express an idea that comes from them, from their own brain, from their own heart.”

“I think that no matter what pathway you take in life, you need to know how to write,” explains Alarna Priestley, English Head of Department (Acting) Head of Curriculum – Literacy Coach at Noosa District State High School. Her school in Queensland has been using Turnitin to help its students improve standards of writing for the past four years.

Noosa’s Turnitin journey is a path well trodden. The school first used the software to detect unoriginal work, moved onto deliver feedback, and are now branching out to experiment with a peer review project. Priestley said: “We asked Year 11 and 12 students to upload a paragraph of their essay into Turnitin. We then anonymously sent these snippets to other students, with guided questions to help them give each other peer feedback. They were really honest and able to give quite objective and beneficial feedback. It is increasing the rigour of our student work, which makes our lives much better.”

This peer feedback project only involved senior students this year. However, Priestley has just held a masterclass – co-hosted with other staff members Greg Wilson (who Alarna describes as the ICT brains behind the way we are using it) and M’Leea Collins – to share their work with Turnitin across the school to encourage wider adoption of this approach to improve writing and student outcomes. Priestley said: “I just feel like everyone needs to be able to have the ability to express an idea that comes from them, from their own brain, from their own heart.”

Go back to see all of our winners and honorable mentions.