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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]


  • Yvette Moorhouse (View all users posts) 10 May 2013 9:35pm ()

    I was thinking about the leadership capabilities you would need to lead this...  Definitely this is where Ako comes to mind: being a learner too - being actively involved.  It also helps to have current research to support what you are trying to drive.  Awhinatanga - being supportive, look for ways you can support.  The important part that leapt out to me was, like previously mentioned, developing a shared understanding and vision - not just buy and use but how is this equipment gong to be used, and in what places will it be used?  How would it look here at our school?  Making all this connect back to your vision.  Ensuring it is part of all professional learning and expectations of school - and this is ongoing so that it becomes sustained/embedded.

  • Marcel Kuijpers (View all users posts) 13 May 2013 11:32am ()

    I totally agree with the concept of a vision. We have been lucky that as a school we have been granted Professional Development by the Ministry. Alot of the time for this PD has so far been spent on coming up with a team as well as a long term plan for as has already been mentioned, there is no point in just pruchasing the technology without a focus. While opinions within the team and staff will always vary, it was unanimous that a shared vision needed to be decided upon and drawn up well before any further movement was made. The team was also crucial in its make up, as it is clear that to truly embed an initiative within a school, you need the work shared by a few so that with inevitable staff changes, all of the efforts are not lost when someone moves to another school or job.

    Our principal would be the first to acknowledge that he is not that great when it comes to technology, but he has clearly understood the need for our school to have e-Learning as a focus and as such has allowed others with expertise and passion to lead and motivate the school. While this will take some time with such a large staff, the fact that our principal is continually discussing technology and e-Learning with the staff and also showing a real interest in bettering their understanding is certainly helping the process and culture change. The times ahead are very exciting for our school in terms of technology as we work towards ultra fast broadband in a couple of months and with that, the likely onset of more students bringing and using their own devices purposefully.

  • Maria (View all users posts) 14 May 2013 9:50pm ()

    I agree with all of the above comments.  An inspirational leader is the start of leading a team who is committed to the 21 Century Learner.  It is very easy to be side-tracked by all of the (available) bells and whistles but I think if we keep the learner at the heart of it we can see what is needed for our own schools.  The opportunities for reciprocity with e-learning is immense.  ICT can be a great leveller where students have the opportunity to be the expert and the teacher the learner.  

    As Yvette as already mentioned, Awhinatanga can also shine as part of the e-learning programme.  Our confident and enthusiastic teachers can guide and support their colleagues through (what can sometimes be) complex world of Web 2.0 tools and all of the gadgetry available.

    At a management and budgetary level there are other issues that sometimes seem more overwhelming than the ones experienced in the classroom.  Coming from a school with huge budgetary constraints saw us having to be creative.  I agree with previous comments about not always being successful with grants. We had to look beyond  grants and we reached out to our community (through our BoT) for sponsorship.  This has successful.  In order for this to happen we had to canvas our community.  We worked hard at educating them about the importance of e-learning.  We ran workshops and included them in ICT cluster events. Over time it gained momentum, because along with enthusiam we need dogged determination! 

    I think it would be interesting to see the outcomes of community consultation today around ICT and e-learning as opposed to five years ago.  Is our thinking moving as fast as technology or are we still seeing as much resistance to this area of learning?  Do our school visions match the teachers and community or do they fit with where our students are?

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 15 May 2013 3:12pm ()

    Some wonderful posts coming through that show real commitment to thinking strategically around what it means to be a leader. You have to make a multitude of resourcing decisisons around e-learning, a potentially expensive and sometime challenging area for whole school development. Thanks to those who have shared their own school's work or readings to explore:)

    Lined up - suspension bridgeFor school leaders, the key to resourcing strategically is to secure and locate resources "that are aligned to pedagogical purposes" (BES: Leadership, p. 41). Powerful leaders use

    1. clear criteria aligned to a vision and ensure
    2. sustained funding for the priority areas (this is the tricky one for e-learning;). The plan lines up with the philosophy.

    I'm sure we have all appreciated the way in which those of you posting so far have covered some of the really 'big ideas' around strong leadership in this area. Together you have already touched on:

    • the importance of focusing on the 'why' and vision, 
    • embedding e-learning in plans and curriculum, 
    • being open with staff and sustaining the learning beyond one keen individual or champion
    • having shared leadership, 
    • connecting to others, linking to experts, keeping up to date, 
    • leaders as learners, 
    • being community-minded, working with whānau

    This video from Enabling e-Learning/CORE shows Tony Gilbert (DP at Greenbay High School) talking about the importance of staying focused on a plan driven by a clear vision and direction. He touches on staffing, learning, and purchasing: 



    I guess a big question for me is: how does a leader make sure that their e-learning resourcing plan (or any plan, for that matter) is driven by knowledge about effective pedagogy? Thoughts?

    Image credit: CC Colin-47

  • lsmith (View all users posts) 20 May 2013 2:47pm ()

    Kia ora Karen,

    I have just read through the thread so far, was drafting my reply in my head as a read and thinking of the quote you have used from the BES above.  This piece of text is really significant for me. e-learning is not a standalone subject - it MUST be seamlessly embedded within, across and between all curriculum areas... and beyond.  When I say 'seamlessly embedded' I am meaning that it is so much a part of what we do around here that you hardly notice it at all.  So to the question: How might principals grow their capacity to lead the resourcing of e-learning?

    Principals need to grow their capacity to lead the resourcing of learning.  I can't wait until we drop the 'e'! Principals need to have an ever increasing knowledge of effective pedagogy and resource strategically in relation to this. 

    In response to the question you raise: How does a leader make sure that their e-learning resourcing plan (or any plan, for that matter) is driven by knowledge about effective pedagogy? Thoughts?

    Education professionals in NZ have access to many resources that provide guidance and support with effective pedagogy.  The BES series is excellent, the NZC is very clear about effective pedagogy, supporting documents in different curriculum areas (e.g. Effective Literacy Practice) also give clear messages, and let's not forget fantastic web sources such as the enabling elearning leadership community!

    I expect myself as a leader to 'walk the talk' and to BE a 21C learner.  We are after all 13 years into this century now!  Being a 21C learner means that I use ICTs and digital tools to do the '3 C's' - Communicate, Collaborate and Create.  I am continously challenged in the use of new tools or new ways to achieve new things, and I certainly don't get it all nailed straight away (or even want to in some cases!), but I am willing to have a go in both my professional and personal worlds.  This is my way of 'keeping it real' ... I think about what is happening in the 'real world' (the world our learners exisit in outside of school), what are the 'real world' demands and opportunities that are learners have, and then I can align strategic planning decisions with this, the vision, and what is believed about effective pedagogy... a little triangulation!

  • Andrew de Wit (View all users posts) 17 May 2013 10:43am ()

    Having been the passionate teacher/ IT person in a number of schools, I have noted the difference that a connected Principal can make. One who keeps up to date, experiments with new technology, models use of technology themselves, creates a vision and climate in the school or e-learning and develops staff and leadership in the school  is well o the path to sustainable growth and true 21st Century learning.

    Staff need to see their principal capably embracing e-learning and new technologies themselves. Either leading themselves or supporting closely another (DP or similar), creates a stong impression of the importance of e-learning.

    Unfortunately I also think a Principal especially in a small school needs a lot of technical nouse or a strong network around them to enable them to make good decisions when it comes to pruchasing hardware, PD and the going BYOD. A fault of the last few years is the big "technical" decisions some of us have had to make with little guidence and relying on experts from IT companies. I have seen alot of schools sign up for very expensive support and hardware because it takes those decisions away.

    I would hope to have a BOT supportive and also knowledgeable.  

    So my kete would also include:

    • Confident, connected IT user
    • A good understanding of current technology trends
    • A good network of knowledgeable people to draw on
    • Ability to model good IT practise.


  • Jody Koro Walters (View all users posts) 20 May 2013 1:44pm ()

    Kia ora Andrew,

    what you have listed in your kete sounds alot like what our principal has in his kete. I am fortunate to be working alongside a principal who embraces current and future possibilities in respect of e-learning. Leadership around e-learning I have observed at our school is as you have described, confident and connected. We do not always get things right and some past follies need to be addressed however owning where we are at and being excited about the possibilities is empowering.

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 17 May 2013 3:16pm ()

    Leadership is paramount. Throughout the threads this is apparent, and many of the contributors are leaders of eLearning in their kura/contexts - big paki paki for the efforts we're all making, because our students are the recipients of anything that we achieve on their behalf.

    Creating a blog/wiki or Google Doc that is exclusively for the ICT/elearning leaders in your school, providing readings, videos etc, recommended by members of the team is a good way of developing specific online PD support, and points of discussion within the team, relevant to your specific context.  Like a focused internal VLN just for your group. This is in our kete. 

    Pedagogy is key for me - without it I think teaching is a rote experience that we deliver from established patterns (which can be years old). This doesn't mean throw out good practice and processes that are years old, but reflect on how teaching is happening (with any ICT tool) , what are the outcomes showing, and why might this be so. The technical 'how to' can come from anywhere ... but the why should be thought through, and certainly combined with input from students.  It's their learning after all.  Great new Sir Ken Robinson TED talk out..


  • Rob Cavanagh (View all users posts) 18 May 2013 9:34am ()

    There have been a lot of discussion in this forum about ensuring a clear and sustainable vision for elearning. Derek Wenmouth made a great point in his hui keynote that struck home for me when he spoke about all of the students we teach being born after the invention of the world wide web. He also noted that many of us are still treating aspects of elearning as if they are new and unique, when our students may have been using the same tools for years. There was also a lot of discussion about student voice and agency at the hui. These are things that school leaders need to consider when developing an ICT vision. These themes from the hui have given me the challenge of ensuring that this is happening within my school vision.


    As far as resourcing goes I agree with a lot of other posts which talk about the big decisions that school leaders have to make without much guidance or support. A lot of decisions around resourcing involve making a choice based on multiple pathways with multiple outcomes. A lot of these pathways involve different organisations and individuals competing for business which can impact on the decision making process. Sure there is unbiased support out there e.g. enabling e-learning, Chch’s GCSN, but there is still a big sense of the unknown when decisions around the resourcing of elearning are concerned. At my school we have learned some lessons the hard way when investing in ICT tools without a clear vision, buy in from the staff, and proper support/training. The biggest success around resourcing in our school of late has been the leasing of iPads. The reason I believe they have been so successful is because they serve as a vehicle to implement our schools growing philosophy of 'personalised learning'. As many others have a stated a key role for a principal is ensuring they have that blue thinking hat on at all times by making sure that ICT procurement is not a knee jerk reaction to the latest gadgets or gizmos, but linked to a strategic vision influenced by student voice.

  • Linda Baran (View all users posts) 20 May 2013 9:35pm ()

    I agree with you Rob about the importance of student voice in e-learning. I'm not sure if this is pedagogically sound, but often the students can drive the direction that the e-learning can take. Feedback can be very useful and guide future decisions (iPods vs iPads etc) and things that adults find challenging (reading iPod screens) may not bother students at all. Also students can upskill in new learning environments that we can find challenging (e-portfolios for example). There can be polar opposite opinions between students and teachers in almost every aspect of e-learning so we must listen to the students to help our future planning - after all, who is the e-learning for?  

  • Paul Tyson (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2013 1:25pm ()

    Love your work Rob! I would be very interested in what your 'personalised learning' looks like and if you have considered the use of BYOD at your school or whether the leasing of iPads is the first step in trialling students increased access to technology. A number of teaches want their students to be able to use their own devices, some have iPhones! However, we are extremely slow at initiating the discussions around the pedagogy and policies to ensure appropriate guidelines are in place, security of these devices, what support we can provide, and what types of devices are able to provide the programmes/ apps we may wish to use. Certainly BYOD could save a school money, provided the use of them were clear and purposeful. We too, have wasted money on IT suites and PCs that weren't used well to now slowly replacing old PCs in our 'COWS' with macbooks which over time will provide greater reliability. So, slowly but surely we are thinking more about what we are buying rather than just buying it. In saying that a digital camera would go down a treat for each class rather than buying 10-20 iPads which we are not really sure who will use them or how. What does our parent community think? What expectations do they have for their childs use of technology at school? How many students could bring their own device? I totally agree about links to charter/ strategic plan and to have a ICT group set up within the school to help drive change and keep up the momentum. The prinicpal needs to ensure finances allow for IT equipment to be kept updated and renewed over a 2-3 yr period. Where does that money come from? Depends on the priorities set down and agreed on. The ability to fundraise could also be an issue. IT COULD BE a focus every year as it is always changing but their are also other areas that need PD and investment. Students are coming to us with many knowning more than we do- the two main limitations seem to be money and knowing what to do with it! Challenging yet exciting times!

  • Jody Koro Walters (View all users posts) 20 May 2013 2:25pm ()

    Kia ora Karen,

    in repsonse to your big question "how does a leader make sure that their e-learning resourcing plan (or any plan, for that matter) is driven by knowledge of effective pedagogy can I share what I have noticed in our school.

    Our principal is deliberate and genuine in his approach to building a culture of trust. As this trust has improved over recent years across the school the benefits of the improved culture are becoming apparent. There has been an alignment of key directions and actions contained in documents like the charter that have brought clarity and defined purpose from a BOT level and into the classroom. Key approaches such as Teaching as Inquiry and Appraisal for Learning are no longer emergent but rather fast becoming established ways of doing(pedagogical leadership). The learnings and ways of doing from Te Kotahitanga are obvious in our school. Our principal continues to be well read and connected to recent theory and is savvy at translating and co-constructing what that means for our students, families and staff. 

    The relationship to resource planning connected to knowledge about effective pedagogy is that when trust is high classrooms are open, learning is visible, challenge is agreed or disagreed upon without loss of personal integrity, values are clear and understood and are matched by actions. Effective pedagogy becomes the hinge that allows the doors of e-learning and every other key action we carry out in our school to swing wide open revealing meaningful, deep authentic learning for all.  

    Enough said for now:)  

  • Graham Young (View all users posts) 21 May 2013 9:42am ()

    kia ora Jody

    like you contribution to the korero, ....but this is not the first time i have heard you talk about 'deliberate acts of leadership' by you principal and of the important role he has in deep authentic learning for all. it must be good for you to be able to observe all of this as you reflect on your own leadership development. so what have you learned about empowering others? how would you make deliberate acts of leadership that distributes leadership in a way that grows capability whilst keeping the direction of the school aligined to the vision? do such delib erate acts by a leader manifest themself in some visible way? or is there an inherent tension between a deliberate act of leadership and distributing leadership??

  • Linda Baran (View all users posts) 20 May 2013 9:24pm ()

    I think from my experience with e-learning (one-to-one laptop programme in Year 7&8) the challenges of resourcing stem from the number of quite different facets involved. Firstly the hardware required - laptops, iPads, iPods and the huge amount of time making decisions regarding which ones to buy (or lease for laptops). Then the infrastructure required. There is nothing more frustrating than having the right gear, a great focus on web 2.0/3.0 software and then an unreliable internet connection. Good servers, networking etc cost decent money. Then, the qualified IT staff to keep everything running. Teachers do not have 3 years of tertiary training to prepare them for the skills they need to keep an IT-intense school running. At the minimum a part-time IT person is required.  Then ... the key component is keen staff who are prepared to upskill, risk-take and keep up-to-date with IT skills and, more importantly, e-learning pedagogy. 

    Written in one place, it almost seems impossible as a budget challenge and a 'leading change' challenge but I don't think we have any choice. This is the way forward and the strategic plan needs to support e-learning as a priority. This is so difficult because each aspect carries a significant expense (not to mention the changes in physical environment required). BYOD may help the budget burden to some extent, but all other support would need to be in place.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 22 May 2013 2:05pm ()

    Some more thoughtful and reflective comments emerging this week and I thank you all for your consideration and willingness to share your thinking so openly in this forum.


    NAPP/Enabling e-Learning webinar : 29 May


    First of all, a wee reminder: The webinar that accompanies this forum is scheduled for 29 May (next week) at 3.45pm. We already have nearly 40 folk signed up to come along and Karen Morgan and Tania Savage are raring to go! Why not join us if you haven't already registered? 

    Across this week's posts, there have been several references to balancing differing demands, staying focused on the vision and pedagogy, the value of a leader staying on top of technology and being connected - and the role of students in this mahi. Graham asked us to consider what we might see when we talk about these different capabilities of leadership being in play, particularly in relation to passing the oars of the waka to others while keeping a strong hand on the tiller;)

    A real challenge. 


    What might it look like?


    storytellingIn the webinar, we'll be hearing from two school leaders as they tell us about their e-learning journey and the wero of keeping decisions in the line of sight of the vision.

    It would be good to try some storytelling over the next week or so, of examples of how you, or leaders you have observed, have aligned resourcing with the vision and pedagogy in the school's curriculum.

    What did it look like? feel like? what happened?

    How were you or others empowered to play their part?

    And what can we learn from your stories?


    [Image credit: CC Local Studies NSW]

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

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