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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]


  • Paul Sibson (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2013 2:42pm ()

    The key to getting buy-in from parents is to let them see the benefits of using online tools for them personally. We wanted our parents to engage more with blogs etc and the uptake was sporadic. Parents are used to using online tools such as facebook to share and comment and it is incredibly easy to use. We just have to find the right tool to make that happen with their children's learning. 

    We have taken the route of providing parents with a fully online reporting system for all their children's learning. This means that you have instant buy-in because the parents want to read the reports/ see the photos etc. Now that we have all our parents (those that do not have internet access are given a printout) engaging with  their children's learning online we can start to encourage them to  add to the conversation and contribute. 

    The next phase in our development of our online reporting / e portfolio is to get the parents to contribute as well as the staff. I believe that the real key will be finding a way to hook in to social networks safely and securely. I have lots of idea on how to achieve this. 

    Whatever you do make sure that above all else, the software you use looks good and is easy to use. Keep it simple. 

  • Annette Herbert (View all users posts) 15 Jun 2013 6:35pm ()

    Hi Paul, I like the thought of 'buy in' for parents and whanau. The first thing that comes to mind when I read your comment about it being like using social nteworking sites such as facebook was that some schools have began using facebooki itself as a tool for forum, homework and blogging. I am in 2 minds with this concept as I am sure it will work much like the terms of KnowledgeNET (an online learning tool I am familiar with) however I wonder if there is a way to inhibit the students to go 'beyond' their class facebook page into the unknown? What do you think?

    Before we stopped using our on;ine tool we had made it compulsory for all newsletters to be placed online (except for those families without internet access). I was very keen to have reports and attendance data available for parents to view online, unfortunately we left our group before this happened.

    I would be interested to hear how you go with your next phase - online reporting etc... and how you do this?

  • Bill Hubbard (View all users posts) 16 Jun 2013 2:52pm ()

    Useful korero Anjela - many thanks

    Our school found the MoE e-Learning Planning Framework (eLPF) a useful starting point some years ago. Without these sorts of resources, leading e-learning can become a task beset by commercial interests. As a DP with responsibility for ICT, the number of 'cold-calls' each week from ICT vendors is at times overwhelming. Even with care to be well-informed, it is difficult to sort out good value for the school from the sales rhetoric which promises everything but the sun.....

    There is a current information vacuum on the details for the Network for Learning which is making planning harder than it should be. For example, our school is currently in talk with eTV who are offering some really useful resources. Not knowing whether this service will be part of the N4L in 2014 is confusion that schools can do without.

    Possibly the greatest challenge that I would like some answers on is the issue of equity for students. ICT will only provide a level playing field for all students if all students have access to the technologies. Our school is making plans for 1:1 BYOD in 2014 for Year 9s (and Bring your own Browser for Yrs 10-13) but the cost for Year 9s is considerable. https://sites.google.com/a/rosehillcollege.school.nz/rosehill-college-byod-consultation-site/

    Is there any advice about grants or trusts who can support families with e-learning expenses??

  • Jim Peters (View all users posts) 17 Jun 2013 8:34am ()

    Glad you raised the issue of equity, Bill. It has popped up a few times in this korero but as yet I haven't seen any convincing solutions. I know that schools have secured commercial sponsorship but they are few and far between. 

  • Maria (View all users posts) 17 Jun 2013 9:03pm ()

    Phew! This is such a 'topical' discussion.  Over the past four to five years many schools started on ICT Cluster funded programmes.  I think it is important to move on after completing these, in respect of embedding e-learning in our classrooms to ensure that it is not an add-on.  With costs for e-learning expensive and as has already been stated, much inequity when it comes to school budgets, schools are always looking for a creative way to provide the e-learning requirements.  

    We have been successful with grants to gain things like data projectors, but we still could not find the funds to provide laptops for the classrooms.  After much community consultation we have set up a sponsorship programme funded by some of our families.  A couple of families have paid for a whole laptop but most have made a donation, or they 'donate' a monthly payment into the laptop fund.  We also got a grant for our C.O.W. to house the laptops.  

    An option that many schools use is the leasing programme.  I personally like the leasing programme - if they breakdown they will be fixed, they are upgraded every three years.  However, you can only lease ten percent of your operational grant.  We already lease our teacher's laptops and other equipment such as photocopier(s) also come under your lease agreement quota (provided you lease these items)  and leasing the laptops for our students would have put us over our quota.  

    In terms of B.Y.O.D. you have to ensure that your server and wireless can support this.  Up until recently that was the case for us.  Our server (I referred to it as the Flintstone server!) was struggling with our school computers.  We now have a new server and wireless routers that are better at allowing all computers online at once.  We are now going to trial B.Y.O.D. with our senior class.

    Below is the link to the mind boggling financial handbook:


  • Hine Viskovich (View all users posts) 19 Jun 2013 10:39am ()
    • How might principals grow their capacity to lead the resourcing of e-learning?

    It has been a key goal to improve the capacity and knowledge of school leaders in the setting up of our digital classroom. A key strategy has been to make me, as Deputy Principal, lead and inquire about effective  pedagogy in an e learning environment. Through putting an experienced leader/ teacher in this role, they are better able to review and reflect on effective pedagogy in general and experiment with adaptions and modification in pedagogy. This also forces me to challenge and reflect on my beliefs and practices.

    Having a daily presence and a hands on approach in the classroom, ensures the principal has a working knowledge of the issues and concerns that evolve on a day to day basis. Many of the concerns that have arisen were not predicted at planning stage of the digital classroom, and it has proved very helpful that school leaders are able to respond immediately and appropriately as they arise. Effective communication between teachers and managers is a huge challenge in this context.

    Another way we are building leadership capacity ib networking with other elearning schools, through WAPA E learning network. Through this network we have visited other schools, discussed different pedagogies and practices, and meet once a term collectively to hear speakers and experts from different contexts that are invested in E-learning.

  • Kimai Huirama (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2013 1:39pm ()

    I would suggest to a principal that they network/visit schools who are well along the track to setting up effective e-learning (infrastructure, policy, programmes and most importantly PEDAGOGY). Collaboration is the key!

  • Kimai Huirama (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2013 1:42pm ()

    How can MY child work on his/her passion areas in the learning style that best suits him/her to prepare for an ever-changing world...in this school? What does it look like, sound like, feel like?

  • sghailes (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2013 9:13pm ()

    I think because of the financial and human resource cost involved the following reflective question should be asked school-wide...

    To what degree is e learning a way for our school to enhance access/participation to the curriculum and increase our students achievement?

    Based on that response the degree of resourcing would change. As long as the given that “needs will also change” is acknowledged and built in when making decisions and funds are allocated for those projections and changes. For example, professional learning around differentiating curriculum for students may be a higher priority at present, but being upgraded through SNUP and starting a BYOD program may also be a current direction a school may wish to take to enable a capacity for e learning.

    For me it also goes back to having a team of human resource in the school being the most important to facilitate any pedagogically driven project such as for example, enabling e learning. You need to have buy in. Hardware/software/infrastructure requirements are easier to project and cost but resourcing the professional learning process around best practice with ICT is more difficult, can be the most time consuming, depending on school culture and also the most important. No one would want the momentum to be lost around e learning due to differencing attitudes of staff. Give staff the time to reflect on strategies and priorities, connect and facilitate with others. A school needs to be sure of the direction they wish to take. If unsure then trial and reflect, as one school I was involved with did with ipads, specifically in the Junior school and implemented around inquiry learning. Canvas the community around the use of technologies and be responsive to their needs and capabilities around access and cost (especially with BYOD). Canvas the attitude of staff and community.

    Reflect on what is right for your school and resource appropriately.

  • MBlair (View all users posts) 02 Aug 2013 11:45am ()

    I agree with alot of your sentiments here Sarah.  I did my thesis on interactive whiteboards and if they were being used to develop higher order thinking, quite a few years ago when they were fairly new technology.  A lot of what I thought about with that research is relevant to the ongoing debates around elearning and technologies. Why are they being used?, are they adding to the value of the lesson or are they a like for like replacement (paper and pen for technology).  Mostly is the time and money going in to PD because otherwise elearning ends up often being a lot of money being spent on 'new toys' that have little student outcome benefit.  I have to say that my research in New Zealand was very favourable, schools were spending the time to make sure that when introducing new technology they were doing it with a clear purpose and resources (time and PD) to support this.

  • Hine Viskovich (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 8:42am ()
    • How might your decisions about school resourcing of e-learning impact on property, personnel or finance?

    Setting up our pilot “Digital Classroom” has had a huge impact on property, personnel and finance resources across our school.

    Property- we invested in upgrading and changing the physical environment in parts of our school. We relocated the library and created a class space joining this. We bought furniture to better facilitate storage and learning spaces in this area, and set up “Apple TV” and internet access as well.

    Personnel- as we wanted to keep this initial class small, this has impacted across the school in terms of staffing and class sizes. This has had big repercussions, inflamed by ministry changes regarding bank staffing.

    As I have a large part of my time allocated to this class, this has also impacted on my performance in other leadership areas, and has taken me away from other roles I have been performing in classes across the school. Teacher selection for this class was very challenging, being a small school we have limited choice in placing a teacher in this role that would have the skills, knowledge and disposition to perform well in this role. We have been very conscious that the success of this venture depends a lot on the abilities of the class teacher and support and partnership with parents. A big part of my involvement with this class is to ensure quality of pedagogy, relationships and resourcing for the class.


    The BOT supported funding to be allocated to the set up and purchasing of furniture and learning spaces for the Digital Classroom. We set up a financial arrangement for parent purchasing of ipads for their child, this included a payment system over two years. This was a good indication of commitment and support from whanau and was achieved well. All students have their own personal ipad for school use. As a school we developed agreement documents with whanau and students in the care and protection of the device, and we are currently setting up procedures and systems for purchasing Apps, ensuring security at school , and expectations around homework tasks and whanau engagement with learning tasks.

  • Yolanda East (View all users posts) 24 Jun 2013 11:25am ()

    I really enjoyed the Stephen Heppell videos on schools of the future as mentioned on page 6 of module 2. Easy to understand and follow. I have summarised some key thoughts from the videos:

    Schools of the future

    • No school is the same
    • No teacher has to known more than their students we are all learners
    • Schools of the future will be different
    • Every school has its own solutions we will all be swapping and exchanging what does and doesn’t work
    • The school of the future is the planet

     21st C learning

    • 21st century learners need to be ambitious and collaborative
    • Embrace the idea of working with others
    • Students must see themselves as learners
    • Students have an entitlement to a broad portfolio of learning
    • Let our students be imaginative and creative
    • Be agile enough to keep up with new learning and technology – if not we’ll have classrooms full of disengaged learners
    • Our job is to run ahead of our learners and knock down the barriers so that our learners can go as fast as they can

     How do we teach in new learning spaces?

    • Gather ideas from colleagues and other schools – talking to students to see what helps them – what works for them?
    • Try new ideas – create an agile space, how might I teach in that space? Work as a team talk to others who have worked in a space like it
    • Dialogue is key to all of this – teachers are expected to use their professional judgment on doing it better – discover what works
    • Reach out to other places pinch what they are doing and build your own local recipe
    • Keep the menu fresh
    • Keep changing

    Possible futures

    • Kids like to work with each other  - sense of immersion
    • Schools online can go anywhere
    • We have a global curricular, not national
    • Kids want to connect it’s a natural part of their everyday life e.g. they want to be able to skype in the classroom
    • We will have multiple models of provision for education (our old models won’t survive)
    • Our assumptions about who provides and pays for things will go
    • Online you keep meeting surprises
    • Technology lets us fly a bit nearer the edge
    • Schools of the future will have to astonish kids or else they won’t astonish us or be prepared for the unknown
    • If we don’t do it the kids will go somewhere else
  • Tracy Bowker (View all users posts) 27 Jun 2013 12:39pm ()

    While looking for something else, I stumbled across this interesting diagram on student digital leadership from Mark Anderson at http://ictevangelist.com


    It is perhaps a little off the topic, but could kickstart an interesting discussion on student leadership and support for digital decision making in all areas...

Join this group to contribute to discussions.

e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

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