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Maria's discussion posts

  • Maria 17 Oct 2013 8:10pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Our principals are pivotal in ensuring a focus on elearning for our students. I agree that they do not need to be the experts but I believe they do need a level of proficiency that sees them being able to participate with teachers and students.  A principal that is learning alongside their team will ensure sustainability.  One question to raise is the sustainability of elearning when a funded ICT contract is finished. I have seen the tempo slide and I think it can often be difficult to maintain the level of commitment. On the other hand I have also been fortunate to be involved with a very creative and committed B.o.T. who worked hard to provide a small but workable amount of laptops.  Our principal, along with the B.o.T. Prioritised elearning in the strategic plan with provisions to sustain it in the future.

    This year has taught me even more than ever that reluctant teachers need support and understanding. We have dedicated blocks of time within staff meetings in order for teachers to practise, try and learn in a friendly, supportive way.  This has been hugely beneficial and has then seen more vaue being placed in the classroom with elearning.  Just like our students, teachers learn at their pace and I believe we need to be just as inclusive with our team too.

  • Maria 02 Sep 2013 10:23pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Thanks Andrew, what an excellent re-working of drafting, in fact it turns it into the future focus document  that the  e-learning framework intends it to be.

  • Maria 02 Sep 2013 8:45pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

     

    I believe the question is the answer - for the principal to be active in the pursuit of technology.  It has been stated many times that a principal who shows that they are learners too, gain the respect and trust of their team.  In order to future proof our 21st Century learners we also need to be 21st Century thinkers.  We are personally living in a digital, technological world but we continue to have stumbling blocks in our schools. 

    The phases of the e-learning strategy framework provide a continuum on which to place your school.  This continuum can actually become a slide rule because the school leaders and the teachers within the school determine what phase they are operating at.  I reflect on a well-respected, digitally advanced school I visited a few years back.  The principal talked about the digital journey of the school.  He stressed the importance of keeping the strategic plan as a draft-working document because it was always evolving. The other factor that he couldn’t stress enough was having one person within your school being the only expert.  He experienced this first-hand when that ‘expert’ moved on from the school.  Essentially this meant the school community (at least for a short period) slid back on the continuum from an extending/empowering phase back to an emerging phase. 

    As a principal and leader it is your role to (as much as possible) safeguard your students’ learning by ensuring that all stakeholders have a role to play.  A principal who has their finger on the pulse and is an integral part of the learning will ensure that the school can not only identify which stage the school is operating at, but also involve the school community in the next steps needed to ensure future focus learning and a continual movement along the continuum. 

     

  • Maria 17 Jun 2013 9:03pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Phew! This is such a 'topical' discussion.  Over the past four to five years many schools started on ICT Cluster funded programmes.  I think it is important to move on after completing these, in respect of embedding e-learning in our classrooms to ensure that it is not an add-on.  With costs for e-learning expensive and as has already been stated, much inequity when it comes to school budgets, schools are always looking for a creative way to provide the e-learning requirements.  

    We have been successful with grants to gain things like data projectors, but we still could not find the funds to provide laptops for the classrooms.  After much community consultation we have set up a sponsorship programme funded by some of our families.  A couple of families have paid for a whole laptop but most have made a donation, or they 'donate' a monthly payment into the laptop fund.  We also got a grant for our C.O.W. to house the laptops.  

    An option that many schools use is the leasing programme.  I personally like the leasing programme - if they breakdown they will be fixed, they are upgraded every three years.  However, you can only lease ten percent of your operational grant.  We already lease our teacher's laptops and other equipment such as photocopier(s) also come under your lease agreement quota (provided you lease these items)  and leasing the laptops for our students would have put us over our quota.  

    In terms of B.Y.O.D. you have to ensure that your server and wireless can support this.  Up until recently that was the case for us.  Our server (I referred to it as the Flintstone server!) was struggling with our school computers.  We now have a new server and wireless routers that are better at allowing all computers online at once.  We are now going to trial B.Y.O.D. with our senior class.

    Below is the link to the mind boggling financial handbook:

    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/SchoolOperations/SchoolFinances/FinancialInformationForSchoolsHandbook.aspx

  • Maria 14 May 2013 9:50pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    I agree with all of the above comments.  An inspirational leader is the start of leading a team who is committed to the 21 Century Learner.  It is very easy to be side-tracked by all of the (available) bells and whistles but I think if we keep the learner at the heart of it we can see what is needed for our own schools.  The opportunities for reciprocity with e-learning is immense.  ICT can be a great leveller where students have the opportunity to be the expert and the teacher the learner.  

    As Yvette as already mentioned, Awhinatanga can also shine as part of the e-learning programme.  Our confident and enthusiastic teachers can guide and support their colleagues through (what can sometimes be) complex world of Web 2.0 tools and all of the gadgetry available.

    At a management and budgetary level there are other issues that sometimes seem more overwhelming than the ones experienced in the classroom.  Coming from a school with huge budgetary constraints saw us having to be creative.  I agree with previous comments about not always being successful with grants. We had to look beyond  grants and we reached out to our community (through our BoT) for sponsorship.  This has successful.  In order for this to happen we had to canvas our community.  We worked hard at educating them about the importance of e-learning.  We ran workshops and included them in ICT cluster events. Over time it gained momentum, because along with enthusiam we need dogged determination! 

    I think it would be interesting to see the outcomes of community consultation today around ICT and e-learning as opposed to five years ago.  Is our thinking moving as fast as technology or are we still seeing as much resistance to this area of learning?  Do our school visions match the teachers and community or do they fit with where our students are?

  • Maria 07 Jun 2011 5:27pm () in To blog or nor to blog?

    Thanks Tess and Emma for your excellent contributions to our new school teacher blog, and your points for Ainsley's discussion.  Ainsley, I believe the culture you have set within your classroom already encourages reflective learning and this is evident on your class blog.  You have moved through the novelty stage that is always evident with any new learning and now your class blog is the 'vehicle' for learning - with your students in the driver's seat.  There is no reason why (if that is what you want) homework cannot be done the same way.  You already have the processes in place - perhaps it is a next step? 

  • Maria 13 Jun 2011 11:49am () in What makes a good web 2.0 tool?

    What makes a good learning Web 2.0 tool?

  • Maria 23 Jun 2011 6:46pm () in What makes a good web 2.0 tool?

    I agree!  I also like it when the tool fits the thinking - I think Web 2.0 tools are evolving into purposeful vehicles that support and encourage further learning.