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Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

Started by Karen Spencer 03 Apr 2013 2:49pm () Replies (168)

Kia ora koutou, talofa lava and welcome...

interconnected woven circlesThis kōrero invites you to think about those leadership skills and understandings which might be important when planning to resource e-learning in your school. We have all heard stories of schools investing heavily in technologies first and then deciding afterwards how they will be useful...or inviting students to bring in their own devices before considering how this might support the curriculum.

We know that e-learning is driven by curriculum and pedagogy - so what does this mean for leaders who need to grow a kete of services and technologies to support this in their school? 


Some resources to kick start this mahi...


From Enabling e-Learning Leadership, Dr Cheryl Doig outlines the change process and explains how to sustain change. As you watch, ask yourself what kind of leadership capabilities would be needed to do this and how does this relate to resourcing?

[Link to video with transcript]


Our key questions...

  • How might principals grow their capacity to lead the resourcing of e-learning?

  • How might your decisions about school resourcing of e-learning impact on property, personnel or finance?

Cool WEBINAR: You can access the webinar recording for this kōrero via this link

[Image credit: CC Hazel Owen]


  • sarahd (View all users posts) 05 May 2013 5:23pm ()

    I wanted to record a few intial thoughts from reading through the above links.

    E-learning driven by curriculum and pedagogy means leaders need to grow a kete of services and technologies to support this in their schools. The kete might look like:

    • a  vision around improving student achievement - moving from’ teaching and learning about ICT to teaching and learning with, and through, ICT with the aim of improving student achievement’ (sorry I can’t find/remember who wrote this).
    • an e-learning strategy that has a match through and with,  the school charter goals, annual school-wide strategy, the policies and practices related to diverse learner needs (target student groups), financial plans – infrastructure, resources, budgets (short term, mid and long term), professional learning and development needs, classroom planning and implementation.
    • plans within the school for increased demand for on-line education-related content and services among schools as broadband is rolled out around the country.  (2016 is the Governments goal for this roll out). Policies around managing children/staff safety in an online environment, for identifying appropriate educational content, and for integration into class learning.
    • to develop reflection and review cycles to teacher learning and appraisal to sustain successful e-learning leadership

    This identifies a few tools which school leaders might have in their kete.

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 05 May 2013 6:03pm ()

    Great kete content Sarah.

    In reading your vision around improving student achievement, I think about the 2003 Digital Horizons: Learning through ICT: a strategy for schools. It was within this policy that we saw a marked change in perspectives, a major 'rethink' was needed and this policy kick-started the notion of learning about ICTs, learning with ICTs, and learning through ICTs. From these three key areas seven goals and initiatves were created, and here we saw the introcution of TKI, VLN, LeadSpace for leaders, WickED, CANZ (computers in homes) Maori resourcing, digitization of content through National library etc. We've seen quite a lot of literature since, outlining the move away from the skills about an ICT tool, and focus on the how they're being used.

    Derek Wenmoth (eLearnings: Implementing a National Strategy for ICT in Education 1998 -2010, 2010). shares an interesting vision reflecting the future of schools. Moving beyond our 'connected' status within schools, he outlines 'networked' schools, whereby learning takes place across time and places, supported by schools interconnected and offering differing learning opportunities. A student can be at one school, and link in real time to something that is happening in another location, at their chosing, because it is avaiable. Working interconnectedly, not independently ... pretty interesting challenges lay ahead for leaders, aspiring leaders, and educators. Pretty exciting times lie ahead for students and life long learners ....

    The latest Education and Science Committe Report (2012) published 48 recommendations that need serious consideration and action to move NZ forward into a 21st C model of learning and teaching across sectors and life long learning.  Noted is the need for leadership within schools to be firmly developed, and for current heads to be supported more, through development of eLearning leaders, fully supported by PD, release etc. Country-wide leaders developed and employed to support schools in this area more fully was another recommendation. It is a daunting and overwhelming task for some of our current heads in schools, to undertake what we all know is essential.  A subsequent press release by Nikki Kay Associate minister of Ed, April 10 (www.beehive.govt.nz) indicate that Govt is sitting up and taking note, and indications are that there will be some concrete outcomes in the nearer future - watch this space!

    Your encouragement and suggestions for leaders' kete is great ... hopefully Govt will support by funding leadership development in this area.



  • Kathy Lauridsen (View all users posts) 05 May 2013 6:21pm ()

    How do Principals/Leaders ensure their elearning is sustainable?  Just a few thoughts...

    *  ensure elearning purchases and PD is embedded in the strategic plan

    *  Ensure you have an inspirational teacher (or yourself) who can drive this in the school

    *  Keep up to date with the new elearning tools, ideas which is displayed throughout various websites.

    image  image

  • Arna Rose (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2013 1:44pm ()

    Tena Koe e hoa!

    Ae e tautoko ana tenei whakatakotoranga.

    I attended the workshop at the National Hui on elearning and google apps which I must say was very informative and allowed for our Kura to follow steps to move forward with the elearning movement. i.e.

    Our process for our school and The Principal and Deputy Principal was to -

    - Contact the Google Facilitator for Blended Learning to come to our school.

    - As whole staff PD Survey about Blended Learning

    - As part of our strategic vision secure 3, 5, 10 year plan i.e. internet accessibility, speed and effectiveness, infrastructure, updating equipment, resources and PD and Funding.

    - Survey for Students on "Blended learning/ E learning.

    - Community vision for e-learning.

    - Collate information, based on data, identify needs and strenghts, gaps analysis.

  • Arna Rose (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2013 2:23pm ()

    To also add to this

    - identiy who on staff is the most compotent in ICT, along with your Admin Office and Principal, train them up firstly in the elearning/ digital learning/ blended learning.

    - Allow them the teacher time and facilitator access to get a grasp of elearning, how to facilitate it, who are the expert or contact course people for the school.

    - Introduce as one of the focus for Appraisal.

  • Lavinia Sekona-Vimahi (View all users posts) 08 Jul 2013 3:12am ()

    The principal & Senior Leadership team definitely has to be the drivers of this.  Scout the staff and see who may be the 'experts' or inspirational teachers are that can also drive it.

    Apps and tools are always changing so one needs to be 'up to date'.

    Allocation for Professional Development and budgets for ICT as this can be expensive.  BYOD is a fabulous idea too.

  • Tara Kanji (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2013 9:37pm ()

    I agree that SLT should assist with driving this but I also believe that the expertise lies with others too. Aligning to ones strategic vision enables the  e- discussions to come to fruition. As for BYOD, I suggest the common understanding of the how it improves student learning in  the 21st Century needs  be at fore ore of this discussion. NetSafe have some interesting points to raise about this. We  probaby all agree that burying ones head in the sand isnt a useful approach to issues around technologies.

  • Yvette Moorhouse (View all users posts) 05 May 2013 8:28pm ()

    Kathy - loved the pics :-) I agree you definitely need an inspirational teacher to lead this otherwise it will (and does all too often) falls flat. We all know when a motivated and enthusiastic person leads something that enthusiasm becomes contagious to all – great hook to hooking others in.  Especially when they see all the fantastic learning that others are doing. I guess when you have no one stepping up to lead then it does become a problem.  What to do then???  As we all can logically see it is the way of learning and we do all need to embrace it and have a go – despite how ‘scary or foreign’ it may seem. 

    Including it in the strategic plan - as a target would help ensuring that it does become embedded. 

    When the budget is being drawn up money needs to be allocated to Professional Learning and also to acquiring/maintaining equipment.  I am not sure if the government has taken into account the costs of all this - especially when you look at how hard it is for smaller schools with a much smaller budget.  Where else to get money/funding from?  Grants? - can't always rely on these though.


  • Leigh Perry (View all users posts) 26 May 2013 3:42pm ()

    Yvette - I agree about the budget & having to take into account all costs, and the ongoing costs.  Technology is changing almost daily.  What is new today is (almost) old next week!  Teachers and students soon get frustrated with old & out of dated equipment.  And also as you mention money for PD is a must.  As teachers we must now how to use the technology ourselves as well as teaching students how to use it (although many students can be more knowable than teachers).

    The biggest battle we had at school was with staff who had been teaching for many years and trying to get them 'committed' to this new way/vision.  Sometimes all the enthusiasm is not enough against those dragging the chain.  It did take me a long time to get my head around it & to see it as the way forward & to actually understand that I need to teach students for their future, not my past.  Yes "scary & foreign", but if little constant steps, then everything should fall into place.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 07 May 2013 9:36am ()

    Yvette, Kathy, Anjela and Sarah - thanks so much to all of you for jumping into this kōrero to get the ball rolling. Already you have provided a really helpful overview of the kinds of 'big picture' resourcing decisions and beyond-school contexts that a leader might need to be thinking about, such as developing vision, strategic direction and resourcing the plan, such as funding professional learning.

    I'd be interested to hear from you, and others, about what kinds of skills and capabilities a leader might need to have to make resourcing decisions related to e-learning.

    Kathy raised the question of having an inspirational staff member in support which made me ponder: to what extent does the principal need to have expertise to help guide decision-making in this area, do you think? Are there some aspects that you might need to have a firmer grip on than others? The video from Cheryl Doig in this thread might indicate some ideas here.

    Keen to hear your thoughts (when you have got past the hurly-burly of the start of term!:)

  • dianewiechern (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 10:18am ()

    There is such a temptation for schools to  rush to  jump onto  the bandwagon of having the same gadgetry as the school down the road, and in the past, too often ICT within a school context has been like a veneer of makeup, slapped onto  the regular learning programme, of course with the best of intentions. The "why are we doing this" is so  important, as we see and hear in so  much of the literature available around elearning. The challenge is to  make haste, quickly, but strategically, and in a way that grabs teachers deeply. If it's being "done" right, surely learning won't look the same, and the shape of learning within our schools will reflect that pedagogical shift. I  thought this blog reflected this quite well. For me, we have local principals meeting about BYOD, I  have a school unit holder for ICT, and my inquiry is around how to  strategically support sustained changes and development towards effective elearning/blended learning. Definitely some challenges in there. And vision, definitely. A core group of "evangelists" from whom others cath the spark, absolutely. And always making sure that we're asking the "why"? Bottom line - what's in this for our kids and their learning?


  • Janet McCarroll (View all users posts) 25 Sep 2013 2:28pm ()

    Karen, I believe that it is vital for a Leader to be intune and aware of the 'Global Big Picture'. Mega trends that will effect out learners in their future. Leaders must keep abreast and be well informed of global trends in education and well beyond into commerce, media, communications, financial to name a few areas and the mega trends that occur following a catalyst event, e.g. the GFC in 2008 and the impact of these events for education. This awareness will certainly increase 'big picture' thinking, which is a vital skill for an educational leader. This relates at classroom level to rich, relevant and connected learning. What are the big questions/concepts that have relevance to drive the curriculum in your school?  Pedagogy and needs based learning are the drivers for innovation and therefore resourcing in schools. Charles Leadbetter in his YouTube 'Education in the Slums' examples how these mega trends should inform resourcing 'big picture' decision making. 


  • Sharleen Nathan (View all users posts) 07 Oct 2013 2:40pm ()

    Kia ora koutou,

    I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments.  I agree that whoever is in charge of implementing elearning needs to inspiring and knowledgeable of how elearning can benefit student outcomes.  They must also have good leadership skills and be able to build elearning capability within middle management as I believe middle management will be key to driving elearning/blended learning effectively within their subject areas (coming from a large secondary school perspective).

    I enjoyed watching the video above and totally agree with stripping down key questions and creating lots of dialogue with staff; such as, 'why elearning?'; 'what is elearning?'; 'what is the nature of the world we are preparing our students for?'; 'what are the benefits for our students?'  and then looking at the possibilities elearnng can offer and what it might look like at your particular school.  If your school does not have an elearning vision, tied in with the wider school vision, this is a perfect opportunity to involve the staff.

    If there is already someone capable of leading elearning in your school and biggest resource will be time; time for staff to contemplate and explore the above questions; time to look at possibilities and best practice; time for the staff to set themselves elearning goals for the year.

    I imagine that most principals are knowlegdeable of the benefits that elearning provides; I know that elearning is a key aspect in many of principals conferences now but that doesn't necessarily mean that principals will be the best person to lead elearning in their school.  As long as the principal fully supports the change (and is committed to resourcing it) and has an understanding of the benefits and 'why' the change is necessary.

  • Jacqueline Hill (View all users posts) 07 May 2013 10:31am ()

    This is great reading - thanks, it is thought provokng!

    My initial thoughts are that the Principal doesn't necessarily need the expertise but must be open and willing to allow those with the expertise (or enthusiasm!) to lead. And obviously be supportive too. Where the Principal is needed - aside from budget / resourcing etc. - , in my view, is in developping the whole school 'vision' and staff 'buy-in'. As Yvette said, there needs to be an acceptance of the 'scary' but a willingness to still have a go!

    As to the skills and capabilities needed to make resourcing decisions around e-learning... taking calculated risks, be forward looking, discussing, sharing, overcoming the fears, accepting that it isn't something for the 'too hard basket', being open to leadership from teachers and maybe even students!

    Look forward to hearing others' views


  • Debbie Sorensen (View all users posts) 08 May 2013 10:01pm ()

    Great eLearning Vision, Jon. Thank you for sharing that with us. I also agree with your last statement about learning from your mistakes... I think that it is important for all staff to 'play' to learn and not be scared to ask the 'experts' in their school for help when exploring eLearning.

    eLearning is one area where  'leader as a learner' comes into play. I don't know how often now I have learned a skill or tool in elearning through a child!

    In our school we have provided 'itip' sessions for our staff to have regular PD (especially around blogging). This is an hour one afternoon a week session on a new tool that someone in the school is a 'master' of and someone who is willing to share/teach their knowledge of that particular tool to others. This has helped to keep elearning sustainable and it is where we (all staff) can go as learners to support each other in new learning that can then be transferred into the classroom.

    We have also found that the drive for eLearning in our school has come from a passionate teacher who loves all aspects of ICT and the impact that it has on student engagement and children's motivation for learning. Our Principal has seen these benefits of eLearning in our school along with the BOT and they have ensured that ICT is embedded throughout our Strategic Plan and Charter.  A budget is available for repairs/infrustracture/cords/cables/memory cards... (to ensure that learning can take place as we have two fully digital classrooms and four rooms with BYOD)

    Our student council have been known to hold fund raisers in the school for ICT equipment that they feel is important for their learning especially when equipment 'goes missing'- Student Voice comes through strongly when children value the tools they use for learning.

  • Sharleen Nathan (View all users posts) 07 Oct 2013 2:54pm ()

    I like that itip idea... really relevant; so much easier if it has been proven in the classroom!

  • Geoff Childs (View all users posts) 08 Oct 2013 11:20am ()

    I agree Sharleen, and given that time is always an issue (maybe there is always enough time it's just that we struggle to decide how best to spend the time we have??) and that for schools and teachers getting some quick technology runs on the board can helpthem get over the hurdle of learning a qhole ot of new processess and what Fullan calls the "implementation dip"

  • Ra Ellingham (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 2:47pm ()

    Having to be the person with the responsibility to creating a sustainable vision for elearning in the school is huge. Currently we are lucky enough to have a the input of an ICT industry professional. Our understanding of how systems function and therefore the choices we need to make around access have changed becuase of this. Having access to information and a level of understanding that far outstrips even those on staff who are very enthusisastic and pedagogically knowledgable has been beneficial. By combining theses areas of expertise we are able to plan for a future where we are in control of the steps we take, not reacting to the changes as they happen.

    Business make use of this knid of expertise. We're lucky that at the moment we are getting a lot of input for very little. There must be ways to encourage this kind of interaction without it costing schools.

  • Heather Harper (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 3:40pm ()

    I so agree Ra. I have a technician that comes once a week for a 3 hours do to sort out and manage all the network and servers tech issues. I am always running past him ideas, getting feedback and just discussing with him, getting his opinion from a tech perspective. This has been really good when discussing server upgrade, infrastructure purchases,' is this going to work with that?".. How can we..? He is full of ideas, speaks to me in laymans language and is honest. This helps us heaps in making informed decisions on what direction to go in.

  • Heather Harper (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 3:40pm ()

    I so agree Ra. I have a technician that comes once a week for a 3 hours do to sort out and manage all the network and servers tech issues. I am always running past him ideas, getting feedback and just discussing with him, getting his opinion from a tech perspective. This has been really good when discussing server upgrade, infrastructure purchases,' is this going to work with that?".. How can we..? He is full of ideas, speaks to me in laymans language and is honest. This helps us heaps in making informed decisions on what direction to go in.

  • sarahd (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 9:54pm ()

    I think it's worrying when we rely on one passionate individual to drive an area in schools - my question is how do you embed this enthusiasm so that if this person left/didn't turn up tomorrow the vision is still running with staff in place and on the chalk face?

    Also, outside expertise is great for technical structure components however those decisions about servers vs operating in the cloud vs other options can only be best understood by the people within the environment who both best know the curricular expectation and also the students learning needs. I would also argue that when you're paying for one person (service provider/company) they'll be, to some degree still focused on their business opportunity. Those big picture discussions about the physical setup from external experts cost a considerable amount of money and in reality may be outside the on-going cost structure of a number of schools. These are the decisions that have to be made.

    A Principal grows their capacity to lead the resourcing of e-learning by keeping up to date with changes in technology, growing the skills and expertise of a number of staff, including student and whanau voice in developing the resources, and budgeting sufficiently to both maintain any currently appropriate technology but also keeping abreast with technology in education to the point that they can develop the next step alongside their staff and students.  Possible impacts on property means that as a school develops and redevelops the class enviornment the implications of technology growth,  the wiring and wireless components, need to be incoporated into building structures. Impacts on personnel mean that as part of apprasial Principals would be looking for the use of e-learning in the class and curriculum development. Additionally it may come that Principals look for a higher level of expertise in new staff and an improvement in current staff. And the overall financial implications include professional development, infrastructure and hardware as well as maintenance and development.

  • dianewiechern (View all users posts) 10 May 2013 2:54pm ()


    This is an interesting link for princpals and boards around future focus, and how much we need to  understand. As some comments have said here, it can come down to  the expertise on the BOT at the time for some schools. How to  make sure all schools have equity in expertise and advice?

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.