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Jon Bowen's discussion posts

  • Jon Bowen 17 Nov 2013 11:00am () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Principal involvement can also come from direct involvement in ICT PD. We've written eLearning and Teaching as Inquiry into our appraisal process this year, as that is where we have had a 3 year focus on CPD. It's working, in terms of whole-school positive shift in both areas. There are always going to be staff with greater strengths in all areas of teaching and learning but the whole-staff focus, driven by the Principal and SLT has helped greatly.

    Staff with a previous 'no real need to change' approach to their teaching now have a CPD programme to support the necessary changes they need in order to meet appraisal goals. The goals are two-fold... one school goal, which must be related to a shift in teaching and learning for that teacher AND their students (the Inquiry model is used to identify the effectiveness of the change no matter what the change relates to - in our model this means some staff are Inquiring into the effectiveness of their Inquiry approach... a little confusing to explain but it works) ... the second goal is a 'personal goal' this identifies an area of personal development that needs to take place to facilitate the school goal being achieved. It may be reading-based, practical application, a new area of learning... the appraisal goal MUST relate to a change that the teacher is going to make... and must be signed off before the end of Term 1 by the appraiser as an appropriate shift for that member of staff.

    Sounds a little dictatorial but it's not - staff are empowered to make changes in areas that they identify. The only 'You must...' is the 'You must make a change'... nobody is perfect so we should all be able to make at least one positive shift every year.

  • Jon Bowen 17 Nov 2013 10:16am () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Prior to strategic planning is to have a vision beyond "technology is essential in the classroom to engage 21st Century learners"... WHY is it essential?... should be the question that's asked community-wide that would inform a vision...  

    The vision for ICT implementation and use could drop out of a community SWOT - led by the Principal or SLT... whoever leads it, the Principal needs to be engaged in the discussion at that early level. Key pillars of this vision and the strategic objectives that inform the strategic plan will also be formed - they always relate back to the vision. If they don't, what's the point?

    Ultimately the strategic plan for the use of technologies should be part of the school annual plan, which the BoT should be receiving reports about from the Principal... if it's in there accountability should also be there from the BoT - the Principal will be working with his/her team to implement the plan which is moving forward with the engagement of everyone in the community... I think the PTA are also supporting the plan with huge amounts of cash. ;-) - ideal world scenario!

    I guess the answer to the question is easy. The Principal is actively involved when there's an active and engaged full school community looking and planning ahead. I guess in some places there are active and engaged communities moving ahead despite the Principal... sad but true. 

  • Jon Bowen 17 Jun 2013 8:55am () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Great post Bill. Yes - the issue of equity is a huge one. We have a funding sub-committee from our BoT - they have considered every angle of funding for eLearning and many of the funds that have supplied regular donations (some considerable) for other things are  RELUCTANT for ICTs funding.

    Our BYOD programme has been exactly that - if you have one, bring it and we'll do everything possible to integrate it with our sysem to enable use of the suite of school-supported applications (Google Apps for Ed, MyPortfolio, Moodle) in our Network.

    Huge issues with this, in terms of technical work arounds, but it has been an enabler as students have been able to use most technologies that they have chosen to bring. We're currently employing some work-arounds for Android - we run a student proxy server for tracking of internet use (as we have an open-access policy to everything but the 'dark-side' of the internet) and some device instances of Android don't allow for manual proxy setting. Annoying but workable.

    In terms of other devices, for the last 2 years we've purchased staff laptops that have come off lease. Currently that gives us a pool of around 40 laptops that are school owned, and school insured that can be peppercorn leased ($1) to families with little or no access to a device. This is done via the Principal on a case-by-case basis. At the moment there has been little uptake on this, but this is largely due to the choice element of BYOD at the moment. It's worth looking into as staff laptops that have been looked after are still relatively new technology compared to that in many student homes for us.

    Connectivity at home is a whole other ball game. We haven't budgeted for paying for that. My thoughts are that if being connected is so important - the govt should get on the back of UFB and make it way more affordable. I think that's very unlikely but it's the only way that some of our families will have access to internet connectivity that is useful for elearning.

  • Jon Bowen 13 Jun 2013 4:33pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    The impacts on property, personnel and finance.... wow! Where do you start?

    I think I've said it before but the impacts in these three areas, while significant, can be accounted for in the school vision and perhaps taken into further consideration in the context of a vision for techology or elearning. This can start with a simple SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of moving in any particular direction. That's where we started and that included the SWOT for property, personnel and finance.

    Having said that, our perception of what would happen hasn't always come to pass in reality!

    For example, one perception that could have an effect on property and finance was the security implication for BYOD. We were planning device lockers to help with 'security'. This was going to be a relatively significant cost for us - almost the same cost as our wireless infrastructure! However, on developing the initial parts of the BYOD programme student feedback was such that we didn't go down this route. Their feedback was that young people carry their devices with them all the time and required only sufficient power points in rooms for charging - there has been no need for security lockers for devices/laptops. In the last 18 months we have only had one or two reported thefts/damage - neither would have been avoided by the locker purchase.

    In terms of personnel, the impact on time is significant. We have had a PLG/PLC programme going for the last 5-6 years. We gather as a staff from 2:45 on a Wednesday for a couple of hours. Within that we have Teaching as Inquiry, eLearning and Literacy breakout groups. This is a great resource in which our lead-team can develop a programme that assists staff to implement personal change that is then reflected in pedagogical change. Goals are set as part of these groups and each member of staff has their goal as part of the appraisal process. The goal has two parts - 1. A persoanl change that I am going to make and 2. A change I am making in my classroom. Goal outcomes are analysed using the Teaching as Inquiry model.

    While this is a great way to provide space for teachers to make change, it is not enough time to make the significant change that many of us need to make in the area of eLearning. This comes from staff commitment to 'play' with technology outside of these times. This includes playing during class and not being afraid to make the odd mistake in front of students. With eLearning, we can't expect to know it all before we present. At times, it needs to be learn as we go and learn from students. 

    We're privileged to be in an environement where good staff-student-family relationships exist. It means there are plenty of students to turn to as eLearning Angels!

    Time is our main factor. While we've been able to provide some time in PLCs, we could easily use 3 or 4 times that time in a productive way - it's just not possible. For that reason we're a baby-steps school. Making progress but in small steps, rather than giant leaps. For some that is frustrating, for others it still feels like giant leaps are being taken. Progress is the key and hopefully we're making some, in response to the eLearning Vision - which continues to be our reference point for decisions we make - it's been a key document in enabling us to take the steps that we have taken.

  • Jon Bowen 13 Jun 2013 3:39pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    We're looking into these guys https://myaccount.snap.net.nz/signup/school - a great deal... not as fast as some UFB providers but certainly fast enough for a heap of collaboration, BYO devices, and admin tasks to be going at once.

    We can't currently access their products in our region but they are available in the main centres I believe. JB.

  • Jon Bowen 07 May 2013 3:55pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Vision is important. It should start there. We created a sub-group of staff, students and community members to discuss eLearning as a follow on from the school Vision process.

    This resulted in the eLearning Vision being drafted... It's here if you're interested. It's a working document that we look to when making decisions around anything to do with technology and eLearning.

    St Peter's eLearning Vision

    Ongoing support of the Principal and SLT has been essential in being able to make progress... alongside a willingness to have a go, learng from our mistakes and learn from the successes and trials that we discover through being open to the brilliant work that has been done elsewhere.