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Connect with our communities with - and about - ICTs

How does your school talk with and involve its community of families and whānau? There will, no doubt, be a range of ways that you inform, discuss and share the learning in your school, from newsletters to parents' evenings.

  • To what extent are you able to extend these conversations using technologies? Why would you?
  • And to what extent do you also need to deliberately involve your community when you talk about how we can use ICTs for learning?

This forum aims to explore ways to make connections with your community using different technologies, and the benefits provided by these connections. Commentators include: Moana Timoko, Janelle Riki and Togi Lemanu (National Blended e-Learning facilitators for Māori and Pasifika).

Until then, check out this snapshot from Enabling e-Learning, in which Principal Dave McShane, teacher Susan Lee, and kaumatua from Te Kura o Kutarere discuss how technologies have helped to engage the local community to support and share students' learning.

Source: Enabling e-Learning: Leadership - Beyond the Classroom


  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2012 2:49pm ()

    Kia ora koutou, ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou. He uri au o Tainui waka, Tainui iwi hoki. Nō Whaingaroa au, e noho manene ana au i raro i te aroha o Te Waipounamu, Ngāi Tahu whānui.  He kaimahi au i te tīma Māori o te rōpū Blended e-Learning.  Nei rā te mihi matakuikui ki a koutou katoa.

    Q.  Do schools reflect their communities or do communities reflect their local school?

    I'm not sure if there is a right or wrong answer to this question, I think it depends on the lens you look through. Or perhaps it's not the right question we should be asking of ourselves!  Ka hoki mai au ki tēnei pātai ākuanei.

    Many schools are challenging themselves to engage better, more appropriately and more meaningfully with their whānau and wider community.  I think that for every community this looks different because each community has it's own unique needs, capabilities and educational aspirations for their tamariki.  So perhaps the place to start is to get to know your whānau and community.  Get out into the community and find out about them, their lives, their work, the local history, the places, the iwi and hapū, the whakapapa of your place and of your people.  If you want to know how to engage more effectively, get out there and learn about the people and the place that give life to your kura.  This means engaging face to face, going to local celebrations, talking to people, visiting marae and significant places, forming personal and meaningful relationships with whānau and members of the community.  In the forefront of your mind should always be the question, how can we best work together to support your child's success?

    Engaging face to face is critical to forming sucessful relationships with Māori whānau however once relationships are formed, engaging with whānau through other means, such as in a virtual sense, can be another successful way to ensure those relationships are positive and collaborative.

    It is important to know that just like in maths and reading, your whānau want to know about how they can support their child's learning in their use of technology to support their learning.  This means educating your whānau and community about technology, how it is being used to support teaching and learning programmes and why it is being used in the ways that it is.

    Secondly it is important to engage with your whānau and wider community through the use of technologies.  This may be in the form of text messages, emails, skype, blogs, websites, e-portfolios, twitter, facebook etc.

    Many schools I work with have many whānau who do not have access to computers or internet access.  This can be a challenge for schools to overcome but it is not a challenge schools should bow down to.  In communities where the use of, or access to, technology is limited, schools should see this as a great opportunity to bring the community into the school!  Provide a space for whānau and community members to have access to computers, have community evenings where tamariki can bring in their whānau and share their learning with them on the computer.  Have whānau workshops on how to use and access the school's website or even just to share general computer skills.  These workshops could be led by your students!  Open the doors to your kura and invite your whānau in so that their tamariki can share with them the world of technology that they live and work in.

    Whānau of Māori tamariki have very clear aspirations for their tamariki and their input and support is vital to achieving educational success.  Engage with whānau about what they would like to be able to see, hear, contribute to, comment on and participate in, in regards to their child's learning.  Formulate a plan about how the school can achieve this and then look for technologies that can support your vision and meet the needs of the whānau, the wider community, the school and the tamaiti.

    Returning to my earlier question: do schools reflect their communities or do communities reflect their local school?  I think it's a reciprocal relationship, each depends on a positive and collaborative relationship with the other.  Schools are part of the community and the community is part of the school.  For our tamariki to grow, shine and stand tall, schools and communities must work in partnership with the needs of the tamaiti at the centre of all that they do.  

    Ko koe ki tēnā, ko ahau ki tēnei kīwai o te kete.  You at that, and me at this handle of the kete.

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2012 5:04pm ()

    Kia ora Valay, I agree, difficult conversations with students are always delivered and received more positively when a meaningful realtionsip has been formed prior.  Also tautoko the need for teachers to engage with whānau about positive issues and also celebrations of achievments and steps forward! Kia ora!

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2012 5:05pm ()

    Having been priveleged enough to be present at a recent fono to engage with Pasifika fanau, I saw forst hand the powerful and positive impact it had on the schools involved and the fanau that came along.  It's a fantastic place to start!

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2012 5:07pm ()

    Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou! WOW it sounds like your school is doing fabulous stuff to engage with your whānau and wider community! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us all Valay!

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2012 5:08pm ()

    I LOVE the idea of the meat packs! How clever of you! Great to hear great stories of success Glen, ngā mihi!

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 12 Sep 2012 5:10pm ()

    Yes agree Togi, it is vital for us as educators to involve whānau in decision making and also educate our communities about technologies as well.  Maybe a Social Media evening in the hall with whānau and children to share the Social Media world!

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2012 1:01pm ()

    Kia ora Valay, I did check out Jone's blog and left a wee comment - what a great bog!  The digital signboard is fantastic! Does it have capability for short video clips with sound to be played or just still images?  I was thinking that you could have different children greeting people to the school in different languages! If it can just display still images, what a great way to showcase examples of students work and photographs of happenings around the school.

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 13 Sep 2012 1:02pm ()

    WOW Diane, what a great idea, thanks for sharing!  How did this school overcome any students that did not have internet access at home or a computer they can access?

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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.