Catholic Education Western Australia’s digital transformation

31 March 2017

Microsoft Managing Director, Steven Worrall, with CEWA Executive Director Dr Tim McDonald.


It has been said many times that children are the future. But if we are to give them the best chance at success, we need to prepare them for a future that only slightly resembles our present.

His Holiness Pope Francis said “The internet offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace and Catholic educators have a responsibility to follow Pope Francis’ lead by constantly challenging and improving.

Catholic education in Western Australia has entered a new era. It is being radicalised in a most exciting, profound and thoughtful way. Through the LEADing Lights digital transformation, CEWA is meeting the challenges and changes of society, the Church, family structure, schools, staff, students and communities.

We are the State’s second largest education provider, teaching 80,000 young people at 163 Catholic schools throughout Western Australia. Their education focuses on the development of the whole person – intellectual, spiritual, social, physical and emotional.

CEWA is committed to creating a culture where curiosity prevails and is doing so in a number of inventive ways including partnering with world-leaders in innovation, including industry, researchers, educators, curriculum makers and high level influencers.

Key to our success and future as a global trend setter in education, we are collaborating with Microsoft to create a landmark cloud-based digital ecosystem intended to transform education across the State. Our new LEADing Lights platform will provide a single digital space to enable communication, collaboration and education conversations in ways that transform learning.

A world-first, revolutionary system based on passion for education, research and consultation, LEADing Lights uses technology to rethink teaching and learning as a whole to better prepare students to be competitive in modern society.
We are customising Microsoft’s latest technology for the CEWA community, by connecting for the first time Office 365, Dynamics CRM and AX, and the Claned learning platform. By harnessing the power of advanced analytics, measures of progress, cognitive services and intelligent agents – students, teachers and families will have better in-the-moment data and insights to progress learning for all.

LEADing Lights will meet the contemporary educational needs of students and will align Catholic schools with the demands of a rapidly changing, globalised educational landscape.
CEWA is leading the world by developing a truly end-to-end student-centered integrated system to optimise personal teaching and learning.

LEADing Lights will deliver an equitable and accessible learning solution for all CEWA families, providing a rich repository of learning tools; supporting flexible collaboration and communication within communities; and delivering transparency and real time insights for parents and principals.

Drawing on international examples of evidence-based best practice in education and pedagogy, the initiative leverages Microsoft’s trusted cloud and software services to deliver anywhere, anytime access for students and teachers.

Research is fundamental to the ongoing success of the new platform and CEWA has engaged with Microsoft Learning in a three-year global partnership that adds data science expertise to support detailed and dynamic learning. This will ultimately lead to better designed education products for students everywhere.

When I began my role as CEWA’s Executive Director, I wanted teachers to create learning environments where all young people have a sense they belong, that they feel they have talent, experience some empowerment in their lives and the opportunity to give back and be generous to others. I also wanted Catholic education to differentiate itself not only in its Catholic identity and in its opportunity to develop people’s faith but competitively against any other education system in the world. LEADing Lights is, in all circumstances, making this a reality.

Dr Tim McDonald
Executive Director of Catholic Education Western Australia

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