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How do you think our cluster project has gone?

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Started by Isaac Day 16 Nov 2011 9:11pm () Replies (20)

This one is a bit risky! Smile

How do you feel that our cluster has gone.  Reflecting back, what would you do differently, or like to see happen?  What would you try again?  Give us your reflections! Cool


  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 17 Nov 2011 11:18am ()

    In terms of growing our people and capabilities, I feel we have done well.  We have been able to run and manage our own mini projects and support the learning of our staff and schools within their own directions.  This has been a challenge, and I don't believe that we would have kept everyone happy.  This data indicates that maybe we have done ok.

  • Emma Watts (View all users posts) 17 Nov 2011 11:22pm ()

    I agree Isaac - in terms of growing people and capabilities our cluster model has been incredibly successful.  The opportunities that have been provided for both the lead teachers and the teachers across the cluster has been phenomenal - from key note speakers such as Derek Wenmouth, Mark Treadwell and Tony Ryan, possiblilties to attend national conferences, cluster wide techie sessions for teachers and students, cluster wide e-learning walkthroughs to taking part in cluster inititiatives suchs as Kids Can Film, Flick It On! and the Genius Cafe.

    The opportunities to grow leaders has been fantastic - we have been encouraged, supported and funded to present at regional and national conferences (ULearn, Curriculum Link, Learning@Schools).  We have been given guidance and funding to collaboratively develop and facilitate projects that use e-learning tools to share learning for both teachers and students within our cluster (Kids Can Film, Flick It On! and the Genius Cafe). Lead teachers have also been given opportunities to develop our own research projects (e-competencies).

    These opportunities have enabled many teachers (not just the lead and support lead e-learning teachers) to grow within in the cluster - once the ICT PD contract has ended the lead teachers, teachers & students will continue to be inspired by the intiatives started.  It has been amazing to see teachers & students grow in their use of e-learning.  The expertise has been grown in many and will have great potential to stay within the cluster.  Our next goal will be to sustain the momentum of these initiatives.  We will have to adapt/combine the projects and pass the leadership onto others.

    I have throughly enjoyed working in this cluster and even though I will be moving to a new school in another local cluster in February I look forward to collaborating with and extending the initiatives we have started on the Whakatu ICT PD contract. 

  • che luke (View all users posts) 17 Nov 2011 3:39pm ()

    I think team worked well together and the enthusiasm from individuals motiviated and encouraged each other.  

    The opportunities for all to share was terrific and the various approaches to sessions gave us an eclectic smorgasboard of information and opportunities to share back at our schools.

    I particularly enjoyed working with other lead teachers from across the cluster, learning and gleaning from their teaching and organising styles.  The opportunity to work like that seems rare when maybe it probably shouldn't be.

    I think there has been a wealth of knowledge shared both formaly and informaly.  From local cluster meetings to national conference trips it seems that social times are as important as the learning times for a team to be truely collaborative, successful and sustainable.

    The smaller groups for projects was terrific and a chance to explore some idea's in fields of interest was terrific.  I was pleased that the two groups did not join (although I think there is possibility of this in the future) because I think some of the intentions that were core to both teams success could have been 'lost in translation'.  As an example in the Genius Café we discussed a lot of ways the Genius Café could have looked and operated but when we referred back to the core national goals the Genius Café pratically shaped itself.

    The encouragement and opportunity to reflect on our progress has been terrific also.  Checking our steps as we went provided our own feed back and feed forward.  Just brilliant.

  • Anna Fitchett (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 11:31am ()

    I consider the last three years a success.  The Lead and Support teacher group grew together well and we all became comfortable sharing our ideas and thoughts with each other knowing that we all come from different places and experiences.  Having the opportunity to work with teachers from other schools was one of the biggest strengths of this process and as Che said, is something we should be doing more often as professionals.  

    Teachers within our cluster have changed the way they view the use of ICT in the classroom programme and are less afraid of it as a tool.  Conversations in our staff room about ICT/eLearning happen and reflect a new attitude to the importance of it.  Our staff are also willing to try new things without fear.  Ensuring the focus is on learning and outcomes for our students rather than ICT time is an ongoing challenge for some but continuing the conversations will further develop understanding.

    The biggest challenge coming out of the contract is continuing to maintain the work and progress of the last three years.  As lead teachers move on to new challenges, how do we maintain the connections between our schools?

    From a personal point of view this process has been excellent for my professional growth and leadership skills.  I have developed a new understadning and approach to teaching and learning in relation to my learning throughout the experiences the cluster has provided.

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 11:51am ()

    Great posting Anna.  I would agree that the same has happened for us... eLearning is more accepted as part of what we do... not an unwanted extra! Laughing

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 11:37am ()

    I agree Emma.  Walkthroughs, conferences and shares (Tony Ryan, Dorothy Burt, Rachel Boyd, Derek Wenmouth, Mark Treadwell) for our teachers, plus Kids Can Film, Flick it On and Genius Cafe... when you look back at it - there really have been a lot of opportunities for people.  Leadership support has been provided through Curriculum Link and reorganising our shares to work with lead teachers and principals.  I believe that this was effective and I personally gained a great deal from this.

    It would be interesting to see what our colleagues think. Laughing


  • Kathe Tawhiwhirangi (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 11:38am ()

    Risky? Not at all! :-) Some great feedback in here from the LT team. Yet again, you as a cluster are modelling your courageous-ness in sharing in a transparent and very public forum, your thoughts on the last 3 years. This is yet another 'resource' that you have unwittingly (or not!) provided for others to view and consider possibilities for themselves either in a cluster, or not, to operate :-)

    Great work Whakatu :-)

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 11:50am ()

    Cheers Kathe!  Laughing

    It puts it out there... I hope the 'public forum' part will still enable us still to be completely (and constructively) honest.

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 1:06pm ()

    Just a quick post to commend you all on reflecting in a way that allows the rest of us to learn from you - not only from what you did this year, but on the way that you are choosing to share that learning.

    Thank you.


    Karen M

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2011 10:04am ()

    Thanks Karen.

    My only hope is for honest thoughts on this post, so we can use the insights to continue to grow the group and the cluster.  Hopefully it is of some use to others. 


  • Paul Drummond (View all users posts) 18 Nov 2011 4:38pm ()

    The major successes have been: firstly the fundamental shift for many teachers around why and how we teach, and secondly living a model of connected adult learners.

    E-learning fits alongside  pedagogical belief underpinned by student control of learning, a 21st century curriculum, inquiry, and high student engagement. The foundation work with Tony and the curriculum conferences was critical. Regular challenges to teacher world views through the contract were successful for most. 

    The other major benefit has been the connection between schools and the collaboration of teachers. The opening of classroom doors to colleagues is the most obvious example and illustrates a shift in understanding of what effective PD can be. Making that connection in a cyber way in an authentic way is work in progress for some of us!  

    The legacy will be a continuation of cluster collaboration and elearning initiatives ably led by a able group of teachers. Thank-you.       

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2011 10:07am ()

    Cheers Paul.

    Your school's support has been fantastic... Laughing

    Glad to know it has been a good contract for growing your team too.  It has been the same for us, initially the pedagogy word (the 'P' word as it became known) was actually gaining momentum, and more importantly, some 'meaning' in our growth.

    Enjoyed your comments. Laughing

  • DaveP (View all users posts) 19 Nov 2011 9:26pm ()

    Being a recent arrival to the Nelson teaching scene I have found the cluster to be a fantastic and supportive way of very quickly getting to know other teachers and getting to see what's going on inside their classes and schools (thanks so much to all the teachers involved for this!)  This would have been much more difficult and taken a lot longer without the sharing that the cluster has enabled and promoted.  I have enjoyed being part of the film festival (twice) and the flick it on project....It was great to see how the kids and teachers got stuck in, supported each other, developed and shared their skills...and at the end of it all even managed to produce something that both they, and student's parents, were proud of.  It certainly had its stressful and difficult moments but most worthwhile things do.  I would like to see the walkthroughs continue and i like the idea that was raised about possibly giving teachers a 'heads-up' ahead of time as to what might be going on so they can see if there is something specific that they are keen to go and see.  For me an important part of this whole thing is a pleasing shift in people's way of thinking of ICT as a tool to be used across all areas rather than just a seperate thing to be done during a certain time slot during the week.

  • Andrew (View all users posts) 20 Nov 2011 10:43pm ()

    Many great comments.

    Many good people.

    I too have enjoyed being a part of the Lead teacher group and have learnt many things along the way. Upskilling in the web2 world; Listening to and meeting great thinkers/speakers (and then realising that we have them here, around us all the time); watching people take on leadership roles and presenter roles. Noticing that people in the group have done things that fly in the face of the conventional; that they have stood their ground against the naysayers or the simply scared or the mainstream thought. They are also prepared to continue this work. That will be in part at least because there has been leadership and support for difference.

    There are also certainly people who have not been part of the lead teacher group who would have much to contribute to the wider ICT development. We will need to work to bring them together.

    Reflecting back, I think we had good numbers involved at the first ULearn which provided an impetus that lasted throughout the 3 years. We listened speakers of reknown. We were prepared to try what we tried. We did well. ... I know that others at Stoke School have moved along the pathway and are more prepared to try things out. We have had a good outcome.

  • Isaac Day (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2011 10:09am ()

    Anyone keen to suggest something we could do differently?

    • Facilitation?
    • Professional Learning Opportunities?
    • Lead Teacher Model?

    What would you definitely do again?  or, like to see happen in the next year?

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