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Christine MacDonald's discussion posts

  • Christine MacDonald 19 Oct 2016 8:07pm () in Enabling e-learning forum: Look how far we've come | NAPP Kōrero 14 2016

    As a result of engaging in NAPP/EEL conversations online, I can now apply leadership thinking and strategies that are well researched and relevant to many situations at school as well as other areas of my life.    

    The NAPP programme has enabled me think differently - I am viewing things through a different lens (as Kane and Rachel noted) and this makes me consider and problem solve differently not just thinking as a teacher what would I do, but also as a leader what are my options and what could I or should I do? 

    Using the e-learning platforms has opened my eyes to a new way of learning and working.  No longer am I stuck in my own little intranet at school but now I can reach others in similar roles and share ideas and thoughts and ask and answer questions.  This is new to me and I like it. 

    In the past, I have been in management of both small and large groups in a large corporate organisation with a big budget.  The leadership skills I learned back then are still relevant today, however, schools are different to corporate companies.  From my readings both on and off-line I have become aware of how important coaching and reflecting is in guiding and leading a school into the 21st century.  From the PLGs and the on-line support, I have found being a coach and being coached has really made me think about my own leadership and coaching of others, as well as what I can learn from others by being coached.  The reciprocity of coaching really opened my eyes to how valuable it is for both parties. 

    I do believe it is important for all of us to take time to sit back and smell the roses!  As leaders we are so busy we seldom get time to sit back and reflect on what is going on as well as where we are going.  With NAPP I have made time for personal reflection on how I am doing leading staff in my inquiry, as well as how things are going in the classroom as well as at home.  Reflection also helps me think before I act or speak. 

    My inquiry has been about leading staff in e-learning.  This has meant that I have had to research, plan and develop a programme to coach staff in how to manage e-learning in class.  I have definitely grown as a coach and am guiding staff through a very interesting, complex and changing area.  It’s challenging as it really has pushed my knowledge and skills in IT as well as leadership but it’s been enjoyable too.  

    Prior to starting our NAPP programme, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to developing relational trust in an organisation.  During the year I have become aware of the importance of relational trust with staff to get them on board with my inquiry.  I have realised how important trust is in helping to build capacity in others as well as growing the school as a whole.  With trust, people are more willing to do things as well as take responsibility.  With trust, leaders are able to delegate with the understanding that things will get done.  With trust, we move forwards together.

    I am currently utilising the opportunities in my school for leadership but would like to go further. My principal has resigned and this is an opportunity for me to step up (if I am successful in my application!). I currently lead many areas (in our small school of 4 teachers) including Religious Studies, PB4L, Literacy and e-learning and believe that I have the potential to lead our school further especially along the e-learning pathway.

    I have learned a lot from the NAPP programme this year and would like to thank everyone for their contributions and wish you well in applying for principal positions in the future.  Kia ora.  

  • Christine MacDonald 02 Jul 2016 1:26pm () in FORUM: New technologies and collaborative processes | An Enabling e-Learning event

    Hi there, it’s been interesting to read your comments Carol, about having a collaborative environment in schools where the student, parent community and staff are all consulted and involved as well making this equitable for all and inclusive of all types of learners.  We have started on this road!

    I’m in a small school (year 1-6) with 4 teachers and around 85 children. We are a low tech school with plans to develop our e-learning for both students and teachers.  In the past our strategy for accessing ICT for students was to seek grants from the community and we were successful with some of these and have purchased some 4 laptops (now over 7 years old) and 15 netbooks (around 4 years old) and 5 i-pads (1 year old).  These have been useful devices for our school and have been mainly used for researching, presenting and publishing work but some are getting old and slow.   

    As a school we are planning to integrate more learning using ICT as we are aware that our approach in the past has been piecemeal.  Last year we trained and encouraged our staff members to starting using Google docs (which is used some of the time). We have continued to consult with staff and are keeping in mind the need to upskill most of our staff to move into a more fluid and seamless learning environment.  We are currently consulting and collaborating with the school community about what their ideas and views are on their children using ICT for learning and have had 2 meetings so far to discuss this.   As Carol said, “Using new technologies to support the “collaboration process encompass the learner, school staff and the community”.  We are trying to do this as it is really important to get the buy-in from all who will be affected by the change.

    Last year, I trialled BYOD in my class with a group of children with learning differences.  This was successful and these children were able to access the curriculum and made progress in their learning.  This year I don’t have those students and am aware that they are continuing to use their own and school devices for learning.  Feedback from parents in this trial indicated that they are keen for their children to learn using both BYOD and school devices as they could see what was being learned as well as their child’s confidence had grown and impacted positively on their learning.

    I’m not in a position to answer your questions Carol or Hannah, but I do have some of my own. My questions are these, what PD have other schools utilised for staff development to help migrate staff from traditional learning environments to modern ILEs?   What other advice would you give us as a small school moving on this future-focused learning journey?   

  • Christine MacDonald 14 Feb 2016 12:03pm () in FORUM: One word to define your school | An Enabling e-Learning event (11 Feb - 3 Mar 2016)

    Adaptive.

    Our school is focused on offering opportunities for differentiated learning for students hence our teaching practices are adaptive to suit student learning needs.