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How can technology play a useful part in supporting students as they transition into new environments?

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Started by Chrissie Butler 19 Jun 2013 11:18pm () Replies (13)

girl on stairs Over the last week, Roxy, Patrick and I have been looking at how schools and class teachers can use technology and digital media to support students as they transition into new environments. 

From a UDL perspective, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting students, so we are keen to bring together a whole range of ideas to share back with schools.

Between the three of us we have had some experience of using some really useful tools, including:

  • For students moving from early childhood settings into primary and between primary schools, we have seen some really successful transitions supported by blogs/digital portfolios.
  • Sending photos taken during visits to a new class to parents and whānau to share with the student has also been valuable.
  • Making a photo story of a visit to a new class, capturing clear pictures of new teachers and familiar activities.
  • Captured an audio recording of students singing familiar waiata at mat time in the new school - emailed it to whānau to play to the student.
  • At high school, providing a visual timetable accessible on a mobile device.

We'd love to hear what has worked well for students in your school and/or what you have found useful as parents and whānau. Plus any questions and reflections on the examples above.

All stories and suggestions welcome. Do also include any ideas that have aided communication and coordination. Cheers Chrissie

Image source


  • linda Ojala (View all users posts) 25 Jun 2013 7:13am ()

    I agree the use of blogs is a great way to introduce a student to a new school.   I had 2 ORRS students moving to different school and it was a way for the new schools to make a connection, hear and see the student, and look at some learning examples.  I know the feedback from the teachers was that it really gave them a picture of the student and they felt that they had  a connection with the student  before they met  in person.  It also gave the class teacher a chance to do some pre planning, reflect on some of the needs of the student and begin to consider the learning envrionment.

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 25 Jun 2013 12:38pm ()

    Cheers Linda. Were there also ways that the use of the blog supported the student in the transition?

  • linda Ojala (View all users posts) 02 Jul 2013 7:04pm ()

    It's funny in reflection you often think of different things..Smile. at the time I was a specialist teacher so in and out of schools. Now being in a classroom I can see different ways I would use a blog in transition. In the past it was more about connecting the student with the new school and teacher, with not so much of the thinking around how could I support the student through the blog. So a good question Chrissie, one that made me think.

    In reflection it could be used for the children in the new school to introduce themelves, talk about their class, learning and make connections.  The transition student could post introductions, pose questions and gather some feedback.  This part was kind of left out of the equation but now that I am back in the classroom again I guess I see if from a different perspective.


  • Roxy Hickman (View all users posts) 03 Jul 2013 9:40am ()

    Class PhotoLinda, What an excellent way to support all of the students with virtual introductions and orientation using a blog during transition. 

    Your reflection shows that by extending the focus to all students, and taking away the unknown faces, it can minimise the anxiety of "I don't know anyone" that is generally experienced on the first day.

    I can also imagine that it would develop a sense of pride and ownership as they talk about their class and school, while allowing for greater acceptance of the new student when they join the class.

    Win - win! 

    image source

  • Ra Ellingham (View all users posts) 03 Jul 2013 2:23pm ()

    As an intermediate we often have extra "transition" sessions for those students that will find the move to secondary challenging and need extra support. Being able to interact with other students that have gone through similar experiences or are prepared to support them, before the move would be an advantatge for at risk students.

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 03 Jul 2013 5:39pm ()

    Kia ora Ra, great to see you in here.

    Do you use technology in any way to support the transitions or to support students to tell stories about themselves to share with others at the high school or maybe to share at home?

    Linda Ojala (from the conversation above) and I were chatting last night about how differently we use technology now compared to a few years ago. We wondered about the student themselves taking their own photos of new class mates, their teachers or the classroom itself. The student could video new teachers saying hi and on a mobile device could show new class mates where they come from with a digital mihi of photos and videos.

    It kind of makes my brain go pop a bit, but it is so cool.

  • Ra Ellingham (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2013 7:53am ()

    HI CHrissie,

    I love the idea of a virtual mihi, toying with the idea of trying to ge the BOT to start the ball rolling and put these up on the website. They're going to be pretty whakama about the idea but I think it would help to make connections for our community. I know that I feel that I respond more positively to some one once I have the cadence of their voice locked in. Don't know if this is true for others.

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2013 11:37am ()

    Yeah, that's cool. You can offer people different options of ways to explore digital mihi. Some people might feel more comfortable just chatting (so audio only), others might have a few photos that you can drop into a powerpoint with titles, another might have photos but you could drop them into a movie making tool and chat over the top. Then ther's those that are just happy to share their mihi straight to the camera.

    I'll see if we can find some different examples. And if anyone has any, please add them to this thread :-)

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2013 1:13pm ()

    I'm going to talk about my digital mihi in the context of an Eduignite speech tonight on Manaakitanga and forming relationships.  I did mine with for students after seeing yours and others at Ulearn and a regional meeting.  I encouraged students to talk to me about their connections and then make their own.  We just used pictures without words.

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 10 Jul 2013 8:35pm ()

    That's really cool. When we can share the pictures and talk to them, it just builds up the understanding.

    Also from an accessibility perspective, often someone in the class or the audience has forgotton their glasses and so the pictures may not be that clear, so supporting the pictures with some spoken words is great.

  • Ra Ellingham (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2013 1:06pm ()

    Awesome, thanks Chrissie. It will be easier to convince them if I have examples to share. Giving them the option of having a range of options is definitely going to hook them. If they go for it I'll try to convince them to let me share the link here ;)

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 04 Jul 2013 1:24pm ()

    Two quick examples to share....

    • Melville Intermediate have done wonderful work of videoing and sharing how to create a mihi with schools all over the world

    I personally use a collation of images in YouTube set to music as my digital mihi when I present/facilitate- here's a screen shot as I tend to talk it through as well...and it needs updating;). (I'm also choosing not to share the full deck online as it identifies others). My next job is to be able to sign some of my slides;

    screen shot = mihi

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