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Beyond the ICT PD contract - what does sustainability look like?

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Started by Tessa Gray 27 Mar 2012 11:06am () Replies (5)

This is the final year of the ICT PD project as we know it. Each year we have asked schools to consider what key lessons have been learned and how might these findings drive sustainability? Some guiding questions could include:

• What has worked well on the ICT PD contract?
• What do we want to sustain beyond the contract?
• What are the barriers?
• How can we overcome these barriers?

What is your school doing now to address sustainability of e-learning (beyond the contract)? We'd love to hear from you Smile


  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2012 5:16pm ()

    imageA few years ago, the school I was working in, got to the end of the 3 year ICTPD contract and got hit really hard by the reality of "what next?"

    At the time I remember feeling quite indignant and a little dispondant, that as the end of the contract loomed, my school was only just beginning to come on board. In year 3, all those things that we had been nurturing or more like pushing up hill, just began to find a bit of momentum.

    So how to hold fast to the ground that has been made in order to keep taking steps forward.

    1. If you have created an online shared space for your staff, give someone responsibility and some release time to continue to facilitate it. Without someone breathing behind it, it will most probably die.
    2. Build the use of e-learning explicitly into your strategic planning. For example, if you are developing your curriculum, capture photos and video clips of learners learning and teachers teaching. Often we assume we are talking about the same thing when we use teacher speak, especially around assessment. But when you share clips, just with another colleague, there can be some great revelations.
    3. At the end of contract, share with your local community what you have doing and ask them their vision for next steps and how they would like to be involved.
    4. If you were the lead teacher or cluster facilitator, keep those relationships going with inspiring others. Use the VLN and other communities to keep yourself connected.


    Image credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by mikebaird

  • Tamara Bell  (View all users posts) 29 Mar 2012 9:34pm ()

    Great conversation, relevant to so many clusters and schools every year! I fully tautoko all of the suggestions above from Chrissie! Laughing

    I have been thinking of a response from my own experiences of being a lead teacher of ICT in my school and also from being a BeL national facilitator working with several clusters.  I too remember being stressed at the thought of finishing our 3 year cluster and perhaps no longer having specific release, PD or support to continue our elearning journey.  One of the reasons for this was our cluster had become too reliant on our cluster facilitator to lead our learning, which caused panic at the thought of 'being left on our own!'

    I believe it is the facilitators responsibility to urge the cluster in their final year (if not before) to take ownership of their learning, their vision and their plan for the future and to point them in the right directions for where/who they can tap into to get support e.g. the VLN! (amongst many other places).  Supporting a cluster to make decisions about their PD needs and elearning future while helping them to build capability within their own staff in the final year, if not before,  leads to sustainability.  

    Slowly pulling out the 'experts' and building up those teachers and leaders in the kura with the drive, skills and vision for continuing their elearning journey is crucial to ensuring success beyond the end of the contract.

  • Jo (View all users posts) 30 Mar 2012 8:09am ()


    I think we must remember that ICT is a tool (essential tool!) in education.  This year is our first year as a school and cluster after the ICT contract. What are we doing?

    Continuing to work as a cluster! There are ten primary schools in our cluster who, for the most part, feed into the local intermediate and then college. Everybody came on board for the ICT cluster and the principals decided to keep the key teacher meeting etc going.  But what in? Well the intermediate identified numeracy as a area that "needed some attention" based on year 7 data. So this year the key teachers are numeracy leaders. ICT? Our shared cluster wiki continues - with that is a link to the new numeracy wiki that will have all information and links for rich numeracy tasks (of course using ICT).

    Yesterday we had our first meeting for this year. We introduced the wiki, watched our own videos of gloss testing and moderated them for the lead teachers to go back and share to their schools.

    VLN? I'm a watcher - and continue to get email updates and filter what is relevant to our school or cluster. Other ICT leaders (most not getting units now) from last year do a similar job. It's like running a sporting team I guess. Any questions about what we are doing please let me know. This is led from the top but we should not be hearing that this sustainability is impossible!


  • Diane Mills (View all users posts) 30 Mar 2012 9:20am ()

    Sustaining momentum at the end of an ICT PD contract is a challenge that faces all clusters.  At the end of the contract, time allowances, facilitators, accountability can all disappear and suddenly schools are left to make their own next steps.  For me, leadership is crucial and Jo has touched on this point when he commented that the principals in their cluster made the decision to keep key teacher meetings going.  Tamara so rightly points out that reliance on external facilitators throughout the full 3 years can put schools at a disadvantage, with no sense of ownership. I agree with Chrissie too that e-Learning needs to be factored into strategic planning and what better place to start than by using the E-Learning Planning Framework to ascertain the ‘where are we now?” and ‘where do we want to go” and this to be done with community input.  Of course the next step is the ‘how are we going to get there?’ and certainly support via professional learning communities face to face and online via the VLN and through other online means is crucial.  Not to be forgotten of course is that it is e-learning for a purpose and that purpose is to lift student achievement, motivate disengaged students and to create lifelong learning opportunities for all,- staff and students.  In order to do this a regular cycle of reflection needs to be built into programs to consider whether actions are meeting these needs.

    So my top drivers for sustainability beyond the contract would be:

    • Leaders committed to keeping the momentum going
    • Strategic planning that involves all stakeholders  - use the ELPF
    • Contextualised solutions – what e-learning works in our school/cluster to lift achievement?
    • Professional learning communities/clusters to provide support face to face and online
    • Reflection points along the way – with opportunities to show and tell, celebrate and to consider is this ‘doing what we thought it would?’
    • And finally evidence – ‘How do we know we are there?’

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