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Yolanda East's discussion posts

  • Yolanda East 09 Sep 2013 9:24pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    How true it is that we get the right types of PLD in place for all our staff. It takes a wise principal to ensure that all staff can access PLD bearing in mind the differing range of expertise amongst staff at any school. The challenge is keeping that PLD going, so that even once an ICT contract has finished staff can continue to up skill so that they and their students become confident 21st Century learners. Principals need to regularly communicate with staff about their ICT needs and embed this yearly into the strategic plan now and into the future. It will need to be at the forefront of all learning.

  • Yolanda East 26 Jun 2013 7:35am () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Hi Trina

    thank you for your comments, it is good to hear what is happening in other schools. I agree it is so important to find out what support staff need so that they feel confident with e-learning 'tools'. This has to be driven from the top. The principal has a responsibility to best decide how to grow this capacity in others through effective PD whether it be through the internal expertise of others or from experts who are brought in to the school.

    We too have an ICT lead team, however since finishing our 3 year ICT contract we seem to always be focusing on something else. ICT seems to be a little on the back burner.

    I agree too that it is such a waste if 'tools' are simply gathering dust in the classroom. I think we could do more as a school to use our students to lead ICT in various classrooms - that would be a great idea. At the moment we only have one teacher who has moved to more of a digital classroom and he's our lead teacher. Sadly once these students leave his class they don't continue wth the same opportunities / experiences. I'm sure this will change as we continue to embrace technology.

  • Yolanda East 24 Jun 2013 11:25am () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    I really enjoyed the Stephen Heppell videos on schools of the future as mentioned on page 6 of module 2. Easy to understand and follow. I have summarised some key thoughts from the videos:

    Schools of the future

    • No school is the same
    • No teacher has to known more than their students we are all learners
    • Schools of the future will be different
    • Every school has its own solutions we will all be swapping and exchanging what does and doesn’t work
    • The school of the future is the planet

     21st C learning

    • 21st century learners need to be ambitious and collaborative
    • Embrace the idea of working with others
    • Students must see themselves as learners
    • Students have an entitlement to a broad portfolio of learning
    • Let our students be imaginative and creative
    • Be agile enough to keep up with new learning and technology – if not we’ll have classrooms full of disengaged learners
    • Our job is to run ahead of our learners and knock down the barriers so that our learners can go as fast as they can

     How do we teach in new learning spaces?

    • Gather ideas from colleagues and other schools – talking to students to see what helps them – what works for them?
    • Try new ideas – create an agile space, how might I teach in that space? Work as a team talk to others who have worked in a space like it
    • Dialogue is key to all of this – teachers are expected to use their professional judgment on doing it better – discover what works
    • Reach out to other places pinch what they are doing and build your own local recipe
    • Keep the menu fresh
    • Keep changing

    Possible futures

    • Kids like to work with each other  - sense of immersion
    • Schools online can go anywhere
    • We have a global curricular, not national
    • Kids want to connect it’s a natural part of their everyday life e.g. they want to be able to skype in the classroom
    • We will have multiple models of provision for education (our old models won’t survive)
    • Our assumptions about who provides and pays for things will go
    • Online you keep meeting surprises
    • Technology lets us fly a bit nearer the edge
    • Schools of the future will have to astonish kids or else they won’t astonish us or be prepared for the unknown
    • If we don’t do it the kids will go somewhere else
  • Yolanda East 24 Jun 2013 10:59am () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Hi Chris

    I do have some reservations myself around what is seen as the traditional computer suite. Like you our school has a suite with 18 computers in it. We continue to use it in a timetabled fashion and teachers visit the suite either weekly for half a block or fortnightly for a whole block. There are some who then book the suite for every other available session in order to do 'mathletics'.

    My concern is that by having a suite we somehow fail to see the benefits of ICT as a tool to enhance learning. Rather it is still used by some as a fill in, or as a way to teach a few, somewhat basic, computer skills. This has a purpose - students of course needs to be ICT literate but if we are not careful we single out ICT as a separate subject when actually it should cross over into everything we do. Across the school we haven't identified clearly what skills we ought to teach or how we cater for our gifted ICT students who often know far more than the teacher.

    I guess some important decisions and questions have to be asked and made over resourcing. Previous board members agreed to invest heavily a few years ago in the building of our suite - so rather than review its best use we seem to simply justify that it is best used 'traditionally' as so much money was invested in this e-learning space.

    Several teachers have suggested that they would actually love to see the computers redistributed amongst the classrooms where they see that they could be best used as a tool to enhance learning. Computer suites almost seem old hat I guess and I tend to agree. I would rather have the additional technology there on a daily basis in my classroom at the children's finger-tips.

    It can be a hard decision for principals to make or maybe change when resourcing and budgeting has been allocated in a certain way if pressures to keep something a certain way by the board or community are so strong.

  • Yolanda East 09 Jun 2013 8:52am () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Nathan and Rox I completely hear what you are highlighting around the issues that arise for principals in making decisions as to how they will finance e-learning. We had a SNUP upgrade about a year ago now, yet we still encounter problems regularly with all students being able to access the Internet in our computer suite where we have about 20 computers. It can be very frustrating. We have soaring internet bills as teachers are now using ‘Mathletics’ as part of their maths tumbles / activities, so in classes daily students are using 3 ipads and at least 2 computers in every classroom, and our computer suite is booked for every block and at lunchtimes.  As a school we haven't suddenly acquired extra money to fund our growing Internet bills. We desperately need faster broadband. We now use 'Assembly' too as our school management system. It can be a challenge for teachers trying to log onto this site in the mornings and afternoons just to take the roll!

    As yet we haven't gone down the BOY devices route yet would like to explore this option further. Currently our SNUP wouldn't cope. However on this thought. I was wondering whether in terms of helping to finance having a device for every student if any school has gone down the leasing route to provide a device for every child. I remember seeing a couple of stalls at a conference two years ago where companies offered to lease devices such as laptops to students. This meant that families paid a small fee each month / week to fund the device but had the reassurance that if anything went wrong the company took care of all repairs and maintenance. Also families had the option to then purchase the device at the end of two years at a heavily reduced rate. It was a way of making devices more accessible to our families who would struggle to buy a device for their children to use at school. I'd be interested if anyone is using a company they would recommend ... or equally if there were any thoughts around the pitfalls of doing this in primary schools?

  • Yolanda East 05 Jun 2013 6:41pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Sadly I missed the webinar however I am really enjoying reading the insightful comments by so many of you in this forum. Thank you for all the comments so far. They have made me reflect upon what has happened in my own school particularly over the last three years and how ICT is being used to enhance learning.

    At My school we have been lucky enough to have been part of a 3 year ICT contract from 2010 through to 2012. Our Principle led the project and worked hard to drive its effectiveness across a cluster of local schools. What helped to inspire and motivate others was the passion of the Principal to be a learner. He hasn’t claimed to know it all and has actively drawn upon the expertise and knowledge of others. It has been a journey upon which we have all embarked together. As a staff we have differing levels of expertise and some have needed more support and guidance than others. Taking time to talk to staff about how they saw they could best develop their own skills in using ICT as a tool in the classroom, was especially a vital part of the contract in it’s first year.  Staff had to feel that they were and still are a vital part of the consultation process.

    Our ICT focus was linked to our appraisal process. This meant that teachers also had to take responsibility for using ICT in ways that would enhance learning. While our Principal and ICT Lead Teachers worked hard to provide quality PD based around what teachers requested, every member of staff had to show the quality of ‘ako’ and recognise themselves as a learner. If they didn’t they could easily be left behind.

    As a school we worked together to identify the types of technologies we wanted to introduce. School fundraisers have been at the root of how we raised funds to buy what we needed. We have a strong PTA group to thank for all their hard work in this area alongside a supportive BOT who recognised the need to promote the e-earning vision of the school. The school initially invested a lot of money on ‘mimio’, so our first priority was based around up skilling staff in the use of interactive whiteboards so that we could in turn transfer these skills to students so that they too could use the mimio as tool in the classroom.

    PD was provided through the provision of what we called ‘Techie Brekkies’. (A great way to run PD and have breakfast at the same time!) We ran several throughout our contract and these were mostly lead by the lCT team or Lainey Mills who supported us with the use of mimio.

    Staff meetings and cluster meetings were timetabled to ensure that ICT had a focus that took priority.

    Three years on we have a mimio in every classroom, at least two computers and 3 ipads. This will be added to this year with the further purchase of ipads or a class computer as requested by each class teacher. We are also lucky enough to have a computer suite.

    The next steps in our e-learning journey are now probably the most challenging. Where to next now that the contract has finished?– How do we maintain the quality use of digital devices and e – learning? How do we move all classes forward? How do we ensure equity of access to resources? How do we continue to promote e-learning so that teachers and students don’t get left behind but rather feel connected to the world through technology? How do we budget for growing internet/e-learning costs?

    Leaders need to:

    • Keep focused on e-learning recognising its key role as we move through the 21st Century - we can't afford to get left behind!
    • Utilisise the skills of teachers who can lead and promote an effective e-learning environment so that they can continue to lead and guide others.
    • Continue to consult with staff and community groups – have open learning conversations about where to next?
    • Plan strategically in terms of funding, budgeting and resourcing.
    • Explore ways to develop modern learning environments that promote e-learning.
    • Learn from the experiences of other schools.
    • Grow and learn together - each one must see themselve as a learner in the field of ICT / e-learning.
    • Promote a comittment by all to use ICT to enance learning and outcomes for all students.