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Whakatu Schools's blogs

  • Below are some exerpts from some of our communication with cluster principals around our project.  I have included these with their permission as I feel that it is important to not how we have felt about the project and what directions the schools are now heading in, thanks to the learning that this project allowed us to explore.

    First up our principals noted that:

    The impact of the cluster on the development of integrated elearning at Nayland primary has been significant. It has given our staff and students the ability to learn new skills and ideas, to implement these across the curriculum and to engage more effectively with or families and whanau.  The on-going professional development, including strategic plan development has resulted in purposeful and authentic learning experiences for children.
    The strategic plan has led to strong rational being applied when purchasing equipment.
    We have very good cohesion across the school and the sharing of good practice happens each week so staff are learning from each other. (Nayland)

    Improved collegiality of cluster schools professionally.
    Broke down barriers/misconceptions between primary/intermediate
    improved awareness of students learning across a range of age groups in relation to ICT
    Created a PLD model that continue to be sustained beyond ICT
    Added diversity of opportunity for students to access eg flick it on etc etc when they may have never tried these interests (Broadgreen)

    Stoke School not only grew as a school community but as a cluster, national and global community. The 3year ICT contract opened the virtual door for all of our teachers, students and community into the opportunities in our world around us. Our communication has improved 10 fold as we now share online documents, diaries, planning and agendas in an immediate real time environment. The conversations that have developed around  Teaching as Inquiry have been amazing and not just within our school but within our cluster, our teachers have explored the classrooms of colleagues for the first time even though they have taught alongside each other for years, teachers have explored other schools for the first time even though they have been part of the same community. After the first year or two I don’t think we all knew how far we had come but now when we are sharing articles, accessing information and reflecting collaboratively there is sly smile upon our faces as we are empowered due to the tools, inspiration and collegiality we received as part of the ICT contract. Teachers had a chance to explore personal interest areas in depth and leaders were developed and born within our schools, experts started emerging and this helped us all jump on the bus and travel together. The community got in behind the school and I am sure the number of ipad sales went up as a result of our integration and use. Our school curriculum has now been totally revamped and I believe this contract was the catalyst for a new and improved school based curriculum.
    The challenge is to continue the development and build on the collaborative frameworks we put in place, we know we have moved along way forward so the momentum is there. Kia tu tonu. (Stoke School)

    The cluster contract developed the confidence of most of our staff to integrate ICT as a tool. Students confirmed this by reporting the use of computers and other technologies are used very often in their learning.  Sharing of practice and growth continues amongst staff through after school professional development.  The students are keen to be the 'experts' and teachers have felt confident to give the students more responsibility and opportunity for leadership.  (Birchwood)

    This contract was enormously powerful for us, it allowed us to collaborate, share and learn in ways that made us consider the needs of our learners.  We developed a reviewed and renewed purpose and vision for the school and this was well balanced with effective learning lenses which have underpinned everything that we do. (Enner Glynn)

    Principals also noted that the work around digital citizenship lead to:

    A greater awareness for staff students and parents of digital citizenship and it’s impact on learning. Our school cyber safety policies and procedures have also been updated as a result. (Nayland)

    This work alloed us to focus on what we wanted for our kids and look beyond the specifics into a vision for how he wanted our kids to act in all environments, not just digitally.  Our model is aligned to our principles and is very effective. (Enner Glynn)

    In terms of curriculum:

    Staff awareness of how eLearning can support student learning is much stronger. Elearning tools used for realistic integration of curriculum.
    Greater emphasis on inquiry learning as we know understand how to use elearning to support this and we have more equipment to support learning.
    Nayland Curriculum now includes a section on elearning and how this will be implemented school wide.
    School elearning strategic plan developed and implemented giving staff clear pathways and processes to support learning. (Nayland)
    Our curriculum development is ongoing, but this development gave us the power to rething our curriculum paradigms and try to move them out of the stone age! :-)  Curriculum is now more responsive and allows for authentic learning through inquiry and doing.  As our vision says, it allows us to ensure 'active learning' takes place. (Enner Glynn)

    When it comes to Leadership, some thoughts from the leadership group include:

    The “Lead teacher” model has developed the knowledge and capability of lead teachers. They now willingly lead staff workshops and do presentations at conferences, sharing their knowledge and their learning journey related to the implementation of elearning school wide.  (Nayland)
    Having a wider leadership group was great for us, because this learning has gone beyond one or two people and has allowed a broader base of knowledge and understanding to develop.  It is pleasing to know that this group still collaborate and we have continued to work on projects such as 'kids can' and 'genius' together.  (Enner Glynn)

    In terms of participation of family/whānau...

    Greater input from parents on class blogs
    elearning activities form part of our parent information evenings in literacy and maths held each year.
    Transition to school blog used at our New Entrant parent meetings and these parents comment on how helpful it is and a good reference for them.  (Nayland)

    We have engaged our parents in our knowledgeNET and safety sessions around digital citizenship.  This is the easiest way in for us, as this is something that piques the interest of our famiies and get them engaged.  Many like the security of our own 'social learning network' and that the kids are engaged in the environment but are also safe in it.  (Enner Glynn)

    We also have some thoughts form our group on the sharing that went on.

    Some teachers lead sessions at the regional cluster meetings
    Examples of elearning at Nayland Primary was used on the MOE video to support the Learning Without Limits nationwide seminars. Following these seminars we have received enquiries from other schools about our plans and budgets which we have shared.
    Two teachers are presenting at the ULearn conference this year
    Staff from schools in Rotorua, Seatoun School and have visited Nayland to see what we do.  (Nayland)

    While are staff are not as active on the VLN they have been heavily involved with our KN and also sharing learning through walkthroughs and the increasing number of visitors we are getting as we try to bring everything together.  Consistency is a challenge but things are becommming more contagious.  (Enner Glynn)

    As you can see there are a variety of great outcomes from this project and as we continue to work together (Yes - we are ALL still working closely together! Cool) we hope to continue to grow these areas and support our growth with quality eLearning practice.

    • Public

    Google Time

    By Isaac Day

    This is from the Wonderful Miss Rogers in our school and how Tony Ryan's visit inspired her class into some creativity time!


    It is a great read!


  • Once again we have involved John Parsons in sharing his wisdom with teaching young children to learn to protect their own identity and that of others when entering the world of social media.

    John ran a session for parents where he outlined issues around young people's social media behaviour effecting their future job prospects.  John also showed a photo of a young drunk person who had collapsed and explained that the 'victims' of the posting of this image was not just the young person identified in the image - it was also the boy who took the photo who is now socially isolated, shunned or even assaulted by family of the girl who's image was posted.  John has been teaching our kids to help people in these situations, not take a photo of them!  Despite all of the privacy requirements on Facebook and sites such as twitter and myspace, if someone posts a compromising image of you, that information is immediately accessible in some way (i.e. you have no control over their privacy settings and who that image may be passed on to or where you may not be tagged, but still recognised).  John introduced us to terms such as 'hawking' (where a criminal uses the internet to 'hawk' for crimes, i.e. finding who to burgle or stalk etc) and scrubbing images before posting them (taking out any detail that may identify you to prospective 'nasties').

    John was resolute about the value of the tool, but stressed the importance of teaching children from a young age to learn to protect their identities and insist that people explain why they are taking a photo of them and what it will be used for.  He promotes discussion in the home around what is safe and not safe and if they see someone compromised, rather than taking a photo, they look at how they could help that person.  The question starters for the parents were thought provoking and valuable.

    Next year, John is running his protection of identity programme with all of the year 4-6 students at Enner Glynn School.




  • This is our digital story for the Kids Can Film Festival.

    Our Brief was changes, we had a day and a half to do some learning around this with our kids, so it was a very focussed time!

    Tongue out

    THere were seven 5 and six year olds, some have only been at school for 2 Terms!

    Our Big understanding was:

    That people change over time

    Our Context was:

    Seasons (The kids came up with this - They used iMindMap to build some ideas around changes and this theme was prevalent)

    Our 'Provocative Questions were:

    Do people only change physically over time?

    If we change as the seasons change can we change the seasons?  (We didn't have enough time to tease this one out further)

    The entire movie was created on the iPad 2.  We collected our ideas using iMindmap and storyboarded our movie in comic life.  We editing photos using the free PhotoShop Express App, We made the music in GaragBand and we mixed the final movie in iMovie for the iPad.

    Enjoy their story. (This is not a 'Narrative', but a digital story completed by 5 and 6 Year olds)

    Kids Can Film Festival


  • What do you make of this... I think it is hilarious!


    "...The ipad has been useful during our lunchtime guitar lessons
    Here someone plays a chord and then we try t play it on our real guitars.  It is so much fun and we have to learn to listen to the note so that we can make it..."

  • The VLN Challenge for Lead and Support Teachers is...

    - Get 3 of your teachers 'evangelical' about the VLN.  Get them on there and get them sharing.

    - Not only on the VLN, but sharing consistently.

    Promote and engage.... Share your success and failures.


  • Okay

    Only 9 responses, but it seems people enjoyed what he had to say.







  • Andrew, please add to this blog.


    Tony met with a team of seven staff.  This team included senior management and three classroom teachers.  Our focus was developing our Term 1/2 unit plan on Energy.  The goal was to add  ‘zing, edge, crack, snap and pop’ to engage our students in this topic.  

    We were using a planning template that was new to our school.  It was developed during our curriculum focus last year.

    During our session we focused on developing our understanding of good inquiry (both teacher and student), questioning (intellectual rigor/the rubber band), coding, reflection and how to use a range of different thinking tools/strategies to promote discussion.  We also explored a range of web based tools/resources (intel framework/webquests) and the use of google applications/search tools.

    Discussion around our inquiry model has led us to rethink our current model and investigate others for our school.  This process will also allow time for teachers to develop their understanding of the process, try a class led inquiry and for the school to create the model collaboratively based on our experiences.

    Next steps for our school:

    • Reflect on current practice - inquiry model (looking at Tony Ryan’s inquiry questions), engaging students in the first 2 minutes, student voice supporting/guiding planning  
    • Modifying our planning format
    • Effective use of classroom strategies - model these for other staff and use in our practice
    • Explore effective questioning to prompt higher level thinking - Use of coding - demanding more from our teachers and students
    • Investigate different thinking tools to integrate into our inquiry 

    • Public

    Tony's Visit to NCA

    By Chris



    March 16, 2011 by Chris   Comments (0)

    At NCA we had the awesome opportunity to have Tony Ryan with us for an afternoon. I was excited as it was probably one of the few times we have had this type of calibre in our school. I released the Senior management team to talk with him.

    THe purpose of his vist to us was to look at our newly implemented curriculum that was a result of LOADS of hard work and talking by all!

    Tony then talked through some coaching of difficult discussions that would come up as a result of the curriculum. He gave us all the opportunity to practice with each other, there were 4 of us, and since this time it has been used on several occaisions! Not just on difficult discussions.

    The questions that he taught us to use are:

    What do you need to achieve?

    What is presently happening?

    What could you do?

    What will you do?

    How and when will you do it?

    How will you keep this going?


    He also went through some of the self talk that teachers go through. The first question that they often ask is, Whats In It For Me (WIIFM). This was discussed at length and I have thought about this, especially around the building that we want to commence here.

    So what for NCA as a result of the visit from Tony!

    Through discussion we have decided that we are going to use the coaching model when talking with staff. We are also going to encourage staff to not let others put 'their' monkeys (issues) on our backs, rather use the coaching model.

    We have also begun reflecting on the best way to ensure that the NCA curriculum is followed and implemented. We do have reflective questions throughout our curriculum and it will be the SMT's responsibility to follow this up.

    All in all, it was a great time! The areas learnt we see having a direct influence on effective taching and learning