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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]

Replies

  • Tina Heaps (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2013 1:47pm ()

    Principals need to have some understanding around the e-learning platform they are promoting in their school.  They also need to understand their teachers professional learning needs in this area and have a clear vision of e-learning and how they plan to utilise it in meaningful learning experiences that will raise student achievement.  This process needs to be evaluated and change over time (just like e-learning).......it is an infinite process that does and will continue to grow and develop.

  • Ian Dickinson (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 8:36pm ()

    Hi Tina- this is a good point- it's very easy to get caught up with trends and fads. Much of the principles we are striving to keep in terms of e-learning can be applied equally to teachers and students. Collaboration, communication, openess, efficiency, portability, cost-effectiveness, simplicity are some words we are striving to put into action through a few simple practices, and enable teachers to keep pace with the students. We have used Google extensively with much of what we do- with both student and teachers. Mail, eportfolios, blogging, software for word processing and data handling, web-browsing, forms for self and peer assessment etc- it's pretty much endless. But what we do for students, we also do ourselves- our mail, minutes and agendas, staff eportfolios, calendars and shared resources for teachers are now also on the same platform- our daily interactions and infrastructure are performed in the same way that we expect our students to learn, which means PD with teachers kills the proverbial 2 birds. We are aiming for our students to use devices in the same way we do as teachers, and we have a platform so flexible, that the students bring in their rapidly evolving knowledge of the latest applications and software, and this interconnects with Google wonderfully. Teacher Dashboard then sits atop this system and provides teachers with a simple way of monitoring the actions and interactions of the students. It's very simple and effective- it's flexible and grows with our needs, and will provide us with an element of future-proofing that the fads and fashions don't.

    I think what frustrates teachers is the lack of strategic planning and the chopping and changing that takes place- how often do you hear the sentiment 'I just get used to *** and then we have to change it and get used to ***' The value of a good elearning/ICT strategic plan is immense- avoiding the minutii and aligning the goals in this area to the wider goals of the school- we're writing ours at the moment, and there may be some arguments ahead, but we'll come up with something that will be a bit of a challenge, and a little controversial. Going away as a senior staff to see some innovative practices in other schools was a good idea.

  • Jess Ward (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 10:46am ()

    Hi Ian

    I've been following this thread with interest and a little anxiety.  There is so much I want to accomplish in my school with regard to elearning, so it's empowering to read other peoples' experiences and see their questions are similar to mine.  It is a great relief to know I'm not alone and it's inspiring to see the passion I have reflected in others. 

    I agree it's very easy to get caught up with trends and fads. As the person in charge of making ICT decisions (though I have an ICT team and consult widely), it can be daunting choosing which path to take, which product to buy etc... I have found using the E-learning Framework, to develop our own Digital Strategy, great for keeping me focussed and on track.  I also contacted the Principal of the local college 85% of our Year 8's go to and we have shared our Digital Strategy documents and thoughts.  This has helped both schools greatly and ensured there are consistent threads in our plans.

     

  • Hadleigh Benson (View all users posts) 26 Sep 2014 1:39pm ()

    I don't agree entirely about principals understanding e-learning, but I do believe they need to have trust and faith in those that do. They also need to voice their encouragement and endorsement for the e-learning leaders....

  • Caroline Bush (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 10:14am ()

    Some queries/questions around the question posed by Karen on how might your decisions about school resourcing of e-learning impact on property, personnel or finance? It has been my experience coming into the newly created role of Director of e-Learning this year that I have had to deal with lots of the technical 'stuff' which was never my forte, but has proved to be a steep, yet enjoyable learning curve (anyone need to know about servers, sound systems, and what all those cables do...?) Now that I have got my head around some of the more urgent needs and requirements I now after some information on ISPs. We are a school of about 220 learners that was until recently using an ISP that provided us with a monthly 30GB plan (seriously - I kid you not) given that my home plan is 500GB I'm wondering if anyone would mind sharing their research around ISP's for schools. I am currently working on changing the mindset of the school from buying the 'stuff' to providing capacity for the learners to bring theirs, so we need way more than 30GB. All information gratefully received.

    Blessings

    Caro

  • Anjela Webster (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 1:08pm ()

    Hi Caroline,

    We had the same situation, and are now with a company called 'NOW NZ'  a local HB co. and we have 100 GB v's the old Telecom ridiculous cap.  It is incredulous that there are caps on schools by these large ISP.  Our data rolls over, so we get to add on GB if we've been light on a month.  

    Hope this helps .. in that there has to be some local providers who can out do the monopolies if they're not prepared to look after your school.

    :)

  • Caroline Bush (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 3:52pm ()

    Thanks Anjela

    Totally worth looking into local companies and not something I'd thought about

    Blessings

    Caro

  • clarkl (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 6:21pm ()

    I have gained a great deal of insight from this korero and appreciate the thoughts and ideas you have all given.  I am excited about what the future hold for our young people and am very keen to develop my young learners into 21st Century leaders of learning.  What an exciting time in education.  It is however hard to encourage change within a school as many are fearful of alllowing young people to lead their learning.  Now I feel its time to upskill.

  • Ian Dickinson (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 7:13pm ()

    I feel that your comment about the wider issue of embracing change is absolutely spot-on. How many colleagues, either past or present feel threatened by turning over some element of control to the learners in their classrooms? The deficit model of I know everything and I'm going to transmit it to you at the pace I choose is very frustrating- switching the models of our teachers and utilising the strengths of those early adopters (including the digital natives in our rooms) and 'tekkies' on our teaching teams can be a better approach than the top down model of professional development. It is exciting, it is a challenge, and we can't hold back the tide- best to be on the crest of the wave than underneath it!

  • Helen H (View all users posts) 16 Jun 2013 4:18pm ()

    I have been reading this korero with great interest.  We are also lucky to have a principal who is on board with elearning, as well as an IT coordinator who is as passionate about elearning as I am about chocolate!!! (That’s A LOT!!!)  It has been a real journey forward over the last 3 years in this area - a massive learning curve for all the teachers at the school, and for some it was HUGE!! It may help to look at what we did to try and encourage those who are a little fearful about change.

    Year 1 ICT focus group was established.  Our ICT strategic and action plan was created.  It spanned the next 3 years.  Ideas and playing (the sandpit year) was the focus for this first year and if you had an interest you followed it with the support of the focus group – there was no forcing at this stage but the expectation was there for everyone to start the thought processes and to have a go at things.  Year 2 ICT focus group grew and the expections for all teachers grew too.  elearning was attached to our appraisal system.  There were expectations for all teachers to keep a google doc about how elearning was being used and how it increased the engagement of students in various areas of learning.  In a way this forced everyone to get on board although the seed had been planted and this was a way to see it come to fruitition.  Year 3 is this year the focus group has grown more and interested teachers have joined it.  Also this year another key person is getting trained on all the techie help side of things so we are trying to grow the capacity of others to lead in this ever changing area. For the teachers - the expectation is still there to use elearning to motivate and engage our students. 

    I guess the point of all this is to show our journey so far and also to say that the principal does not have to know everything but have some key people around them and to show support in what the teachers are doing.  And also the growing and utilisation of the new skills that teachers had and continue to acquire along the journey to help others was really amazing to see.  The question now is - how can we keep the motivation up for teachers to continue to use and upskill in the elearning tools without having the pressure to have to report on it in their appraisal and how can we do this in a sustainable way?

  • Kathryn Carey (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 6:22pm ()

    Really enjoyed reading the discussions so far.  Dr Cheryl Doig summed it up to well in her interview.  It is important that principals commit to e-learning through the strategic plan.  There is a commitment and ownership that is required.  Not only does the resourcing need to cover the purchase of ITC equipment but the implementation and drive for change is vital.  PD to sustain the resourcing of ITC is vital.  Structures and dialogue of the vision of the school need to be clear to staff, board, students and the community.  You need to plan for the “dip” that is part of the expected progress.  Staff need to be part-of PD, an expectation is set that your school has to ITC.  The need for the implementation is based on student achievement and making a commitment to sustain this includes keep records of this change and the impact on the learners.  Students need to be involved at a capacity which truly utilises the ITC platform that your school has focussed on.  To promote “life-long” learners it is important that we equip our students.  The Government has made a commitment to get high-speed broadband into areas which will also help to implement this successfully.  Not only does the school need to commit  resourcing for purchasing the equipment, following up with PD, but also maintaining it which has an impact on property, personnel and finance.

  • Caroline Bush (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 9:14pm ()

    Some great points and questions being raised in this korero, now for my two cents worth… with a view to providing and resourcing e-Learning in our schools I believe that today’s children need more than a basic education, they need the ability to deal with ever increasing complexities in our connected world. We need to create inclusive educational solutions that address all sections of society and help transform them. In order to achieve this in a digital environment one of my favourite educationalists Dr. Sugata Mitra proposed the following hypothesis: 

    The acquisition of skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance. 

     Having followed Dr. Mitra’s philosophies for some time I have been inspired to create and live by, the mantra “Step away from the learner” It is my experience both in my classroom and after much robust discussion with my PLN,  that what seems to be required to engage and enhance blended e-learning in our NZ context is to provide the learner with either the capacity to bring their device of choice or to provide them with the device and the capacity to experiment with and use it.

     Agreed, this is an overly simplified model but I believe significant changes in learning could take place if and when we step away from being overly involved and micro-managing learning and instead work towards providing robust infrastructure and opportunities for our learners to truly own their learning, after all, isn’t significant learning what we’re all about?

    Blessings all

    Caro

  • Ian Dickinson (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 9:28pm ()

    Caroline- I like what you've said- sometimes, we get bogged down trying to keep pace with every small innovation and development. I haven't had any formal ICT training, but I'd give myself a solid 7/10 in terms of my understanding, application and synthesising my understandings in order to engage and extend learners- I guess your words and quotes resonated somewhat.

  • Steve Beck (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 11:41am ()

    The budgeting for and financing of E-Learning in school is potentially a black hole, a never ending vortex, money cobbling, out of control monster.

    Any decisions made should not be made lightly and in isolation. Be aware of what is happening around you, what other schools are doing, what issues others have solved and what can be provided at a reduced or collective cost. Collective decision making across schools can have a mutually beneficial effect for all. We should not be trying to reinvent the wheel and caution should be taken around simply jumping on the next band wagon.

    Even before this the school must have in place a clear E-learning strategic plan that must be led from the top down. The Principal and senior management must take a lead within the implementation and direction of the plan. A clear focus must be maintained around improving pedagogical practice and student outcomes. It is about providing the best tool for the job not developing practice to fit the tool. E-learning should not be about replicating current practise but improving and enhancing opportunities and learning.

    There is a fine balance to be maintained with ensuring core infrastructure is robust, reliable and flexible enough to meet the changing e-learning environment. Concepts around ubiquity, BYOD, ultra fast broadband and cloud computing also throw up a lot of questions around e-learning expenditure and to what extent does the school now need to supply the end point devices and key infrastructure. Where now is the money be best spent, and how much can we save?

  • Shanthan Naidu (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 12:28pm ()

    The principal in communication with staff - throuh meetings, surveys and regular discussions needs to be aware of teacher practice and evolving nature of technology. Student voice is important in the process as  they are digitally skilled and aware of how to use a variety of software etc. The principal will need tpo re-visit his/her vision and purpose for e-learning. Review infastructure and in consultation with staff, community, BOT recognise the need of how to best to resource the school. 

    A review of teaching spaces needs to occur in ragrds to layout,IT infastructure, desks, chairs, e-learning spaces. Recognsing key staff that are able to effectively integrate e-learning into their programme. These teachers need to model these practics and share them on a regular basis. As your infastructure and technologilcal capabaility evolves so does your school, staff and overall teaching and learning philosophy. 

  • Shanthan Naidu (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 12:28pm ()

    The principal in communication with staff - throuh meetings, surveys and regular discussions needs to be aware of teacher practice and evolving nature of technology. Student voice is important in the process as  they are digitally skilled and aware of how to use a variety of software etc. The principal will need tpo re-visit his/her vision and purpose for e-learning. Review infastructure and in consultation with staff, community, BOT recognise the need of how to best to resource the school. 

    A review of teaching spaces needs to occur in ragrds to layout,IT infastructure, desks, chairs, e-learning spaces. Recognsing key staff that are able to effectively integrate e-learning into their programme. These teachers need to model these practics and share them on a regular basis. As your infastructure and technologilcal capabaility evolves so does your school, staff and overall teaching and learning philosophy. 

  • Shanthan Naidu (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 12:29pm ()

    The principal in communication with staff - throuh meetings, surveys and regular discussions needs to be aware of teacher practice and evolving nature of technology. Student voice is important in the process as  they are digitally skilled and aware of how to use a variety of software etc. The principal will need tpo re-visit his/her vision and purpose for e-learning. Review infastructure and in consultation with staff, community, BOT recognise the need of how to best to resource the school. 

    A review of teaching spaces needs to occur in ragrds to layout,IT infastructure, desks, chairs, e-learning spaces. Recognsing key staff that are able to effectively integrate e-learning into their programme. These teachers need to model these practics and share them on a regular basis. As your infastructure and technologilcal capabaility evolves so does your school, staff and overall teaching and learning philosophy. 

  • Annette Herbert (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 2:25pm ()

    A well written refelction Shanthan. Inivetably this does rely on awareness and 'push' from the principal and BOT. I am lucky in the sense that top management at my school are fully on board with the implementation and integration of e-learning tools.

    # years ago I oversaw the implemtntation of a really cool e-learning tool that saw staff/students and some families excited about being able to track teaching and learning on line - from school and at home. Was was really great about this was that it created a drive for teachers to have a focus while utilising their ICT time. The main barrier we had was parents and caregivers taking an active role in this way of reflecting on the learning process. I attended PD on this and tried to put strategies in place to overcome their views or challenges as they saw them. These mostly included:

    • Not having access to internet at home
    • Their children spending 'even more' time on the computer
    • Not having enough time in their busy lives to check and make comment in their child's e-learning journals

    I made a computer (with internet access) available for parents to access at school where they could timetable a session. I encouraged the students to show their parents when completing homework so that families could work in collaboration with their students 'quality time'. I also held parent/caregiver PD sessions after school where they could attend and I worked with them on how to use the programme. None of what I did seemed to work... We had decreasing numbers of parents accessing their child's work online.

    Any ideas on how to gain full parental support and engagement in the areas of e-learning?

    The programme we were using is now not being used by my school - however we are moving to another programme/web based tool with the same purpose. I really want this type of teaching and learning to have a full home/school link.

  • Helen Hardwick (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 1:21pm ()

    I have been thinking about all of this and in the context of my own experiences in my school. We tend to rely on one DP who has many strengths in the regards to IT and we have one part time staff member. It doesnt seem to be sufficent as the DP's sole job is obviusly not to provide and buy all of the ICT gadgets etc. It seems he often does this in isolation.  So through this experience there is no doubt that a Principal must grow capacity in this area.   We use outside experts to advise in terms of technical things, wireless etc But as this should be centred around the student and learning it needs to supported by teachers keen to look at teaching practices and beliefs - key to the vision.  Another of my DP's sent me this link, we are currently looking to undertake a curriculum review and in several meetings we have the discussed the "bigger picture" and the ducks in rows stuff. This link from core education got me thinking about all of the things we need to have in place and the questions we need to think about for a curriculum review which should also include looking at how we teach the curriculum and therefore how  e learning resourced and supported.

    http://www.core-ed.org/professional-learning/mle-matrix

    I agree with Sarah's thoughts on employing new staff that have expertise in e -learning who can support the e -learning in the curriculum.

     

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

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