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Why are innovator’s mind-sets and in-depth collaboration and cooperation crucial in resourcing ILEs? | NAPP Kōrero 6 2016

Started by Tessa Gray 26 Apr 2016 11:52am () Replies (39)

We can’t resource our ILEs* successfully unless we’ve explored innovation and collaboration in-depth in schools and communities of learning as we address the cultural, social and economic needs of our learners.

Definition: “An innovative learning environment (ILE) is the complete physical, social and pedagogical context in which learning is intended to occur. Having the right property, and flexible learning spaces (FLS) in particular, is one part of creating an ILE. The ILE Assessment Tool will help you assess your learning spaces against ILE criteria.” From MOE website Resourcing Flexible Learning Spaces  

Almost all principals and BOTs face budget constraints and work within a system that expects more and better results with less or limited funding.

  • Leading Innovation requires principals to focus on innovation, “inside the boxes of their school’s resources and their community of learning’s resources”.
  • Leading Collaboration and Co-operation needs to travel from, “compliance and engagement to empowerment.”
  • Principals need an Innovator’s Mind-set.

The scope of this question is huge, so we invite you to delve into the following four themes that speak to you most. Note: You need to be a member of the Enabling e-Learning groups to make a post in them. These are open groups once you arrive on the landing page, you request membership access (top right hand corner) and you'll instantly be able to add comments.

Posts in any of these themes will be meeting the NAPP demands for Kōrero 6.



1. Starting out in an ILE: 

Is there a catalyst for new ways of working in your school and community of learning? We invite you to comment on, where you currently at in terms of starting an ILE and ask, what’s on top for you in this existing thread, Forum: How do schools ready themselves for modern learning pedagogies?

Transition to an innovative learning environment

Additional resources...

2. Innovation:

Innovation in education. What is it exactly? As a future-focused leader, how do you lead innovation? We invite you to share your examples, unresolved questions and thoughts in this existing thread, FORUM: What does innovation look like in your school? | An Enabling e-Learning event.

Pedagogy underpins practice in an innovative learning environment


3. Collaboration and cooperation:

We’re hearing more about collaborative teacher planning, collaborative inquiries (educators), so what do we mean by collaboration? How do collaboration and co-operation work effectively together and what are the costs to a school? We invite you to add your ideas in this existing thread, New technologies and collaborative processes.

You might also like to consider what collaboration looks like for students: 

Developing a collaborative learning environment

Additional resources...

Enabling e-Learning forum: Collaborative projects for NZ students (Live 16th May - 16th June 2016)

4. Equity:

The ‘bring your own device’ or BYOD movement is taking off in many schools and systems, allowing students who own their own laptops, smartphones or tablets to bring them into schools and make them part of the learning experience. With initiatives like these, there is the significant challenge of student equity; where all students can have the same or similar levels of access to digital learning resources.  

How do leaders resource equitable access to learning technologies within schools? What does equity look like between schools? We invite you to add your ideas in this existing thread, Equity devices in BYOD schools.

Additional resources...

 A Rich Seam – How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning  Fullan & Langworthy - Jan 2014

When commenting in these threads you might like to;

  • Tell us your name, your role, your school
  • Acknowledge other people’s comments and reflect/build on these as appropriate
  • Share your ideas, wonderings, context

*Formally MLE (Modern Learning Environments) now ILE (Innovative Learning Environments)

Image source


  • Chris May (View all users posts) 21 May 2016 12:16pm ()

    Establishing a moral purpose is the knowledge of the why of change. It involves the committing to close the gap in student achievement. A purpose that all students under the care of the school will have the opportunities they need to be successful. The moral purpose is seeking to make a difference in each of the lives of students. Ensuring that students of all backgrounds and ethnicity have an opportunity to learn. The focus is on the student, who is the answer to the beginning question of why. The principal is the main driver of the moral purpose. All of the innovations come in different sizes. Interventions are the actions and events that are key to success of change. Appropriate interventions reduce the challenges of change. Interventions for the change are what is done to promote and develop the moral purpose. Following on from this is the development of capacity. Capacity involves all of the policies, strategies, resources and actions to increase the collective power moving forward. This gives clear coherence from all teachers as they form the policies etc. together. The leaders work to transform teachers working conditions from the standpoint of sustainability. I have wondering's on such a large scale of change such as ILE, how might distributed leadership be beneficial in building capacity and extending the reach that leadership when making decisions in influencing the change.

    Chris May, St Columba's Catholic School, Hamilton.  

  • Wendy Keating (View all users posts) 22 May 2016 5:01pm ()

    In thinking about collaboration, I agree that the principal is the main driver of the moral purpose by ensuring that a focus is maintained on what teachers do to have an impact on learning.   Ideally, the principal sets the tone that the school is an effective professional community:  all who work within that community need to be committed to a collective responsibility for students, and to be focused on an intensive analysis of what can improve student learning.

    However, although the principal sets this tone and expectation of collaboration, it is the responsibility of all to ensure that it is enacted on a practical level, and not just as a philosophy that doesn’t have any real impact on student learning.  Leaders and teachers across the school need to ensure that practical steps or actions take place, to enable this effective community.  Steps might include a focus on intensive analysis of achievement data, a de-emphasis on organisational talk and increased emphasis on conversations about how teaching is impacting on learners, identifying and discussing students of particular need to address their learning.  Therefore, developing the “capacity” for moving forward as described by Chris?   Collaboration may be face-to-face or take place in digital forums, but moving it beyond an espoused philosophy to a “seen” reality demands the involvement of all teachers in ensuring that they are accountable to the needs of their colleagues and the learning of all students.

  • Kiri B (View all users posts) 10 Jul 2016 12:47pm ()

    I agree with you Wendy that the Principal is the main driver of the moral purpose of the school ensuring that all decisions are student focused. Our Principal is great at recognising peoples strengths and passions, and allowing these people to grow their capabilities in their areas, and then driving staff development. I am becoming more interested in how we go about establishing a new connected curriculum which recognises the student voice and parent voice. The more reading I am doing, the more I am coming across the notion that the community should have more involvement in the direction that a school takes. I am interested in how schools go about this process. I am also interested in how schools collaborate and how we can be innovative together. 

  • Rachell Leitch (View all users posts) 16 Jul 2016 4:23pm ()

    Hi Wendy and Kiri. I have enjoyed your posts.                                                                                                       This too is where my school is at with regard to student led learning, including the students in the inquiry process. Collaborative practice and cultural inclusivness are the main target areas for my own inquiry this year. With strong leadership and a great team, led by sound moral purpose, along with voice from the students and our community, this combination has begun to drive the change we seek.                                                           Building the relational trust with our whanau is taking time, especially as this was not a priority in the past. Community involvement is also very different depending on the community. Getting to know our community, where they come from and what they value takes time aswell. We have learnt to start small and specific, building capacity within our parents who feel successful when achieving things together for their children.

    I can see now how hard an effective principal works to establish a climate where collaboration and co-operation are fundamendal values to work within. 

  • Pohatu Paku (View all users posts) 09 Oct 2016 8:22pm ()

    Certainly, Wendy Keating, I agree with you on your whakaaro about collaboration.

    I agree that the principal is the main driver of the moral purpose by ensuring that a focus is maintained on what teachers do to have an impact on learning. Our principal certainly does, and like you mentioned – he sets the tone that the school is an effective professional community, and all who work within that community need to be committed to a collective responsibility for students, and to be focused on an intensive analysis of what can improve student learning.

    You’re right – it is responsibility of all to ensure that it is enacted on a practical level, and not just as a philosophy that doesn’t have any real impact on student learning. We are a small school, with a roll of 105. So we work as a whānau, with whānau to ensure we send out young men who are vital and contributing New Zealanders and fine global citizens, loving fathers who have caring enduring relationships with their partners and children and men who are creative, innovative, dependable, reliable, hardworking members of their whānau, hapū and iwi. It requires us to never lose sight of it – and collaboration is the key! Well, it’s one of many keys!

    Pōhatu Paku, Advisory Leader, Te Aute College. 

  • Graham Young (View all users posts) 10 Oct 2016 10:07am ()

    Kapai Pohatu, Collaboration is a key and an effective principal can be the main driver, but as you allude to.. a team is a team ('collective responsibility'). So like it or not there are other leaders in the staffroom, it is therefore as you suggest important to get commitment to the the main game and have everybody on roughly the same page. Can you think of an example (in any school) where there has been another leader in the staffroom who has worked in a way that undermines the the 'tone' the principal is trying to establish? What would you do to manage that situation? And what do you mean by 'tone' what is it?

  • Lavinia Robyns (View all users posts) 04 Jun 2016 4:25pm ()

    I agree with your post, Wendy, where you state that it is responsibility of the whole school community to ensure there is commitment to a collaborative learning culture to ensure that it moves beyond espoused philosophy to a ‘seen’ reality.  It is the role of school leaders to ensure there is an understanding of what is effective collaboration and what does collective responsibility for our learners really look like.  Some of the steps you have identified are certainly in place in many schools.  I believe that it is the middle leadership, the team leaders, who are need support and professional learning for how to build innovative and growth mindsets of the teachers in their teams.  This relates to the distributed leadership approach Chris mentioned in his post.  The senior leadership team is driving the vision and ensuring there is sufficient resourcing (and time) dedicated to growing capacity in others.  I think there needs to a change in mindset for what professional learning in schools might look like.  Gone are the days when all staff sit down in a staff meeting and listen to one or two colleagues give a presentation.  It seems that where there has been the most successful transformative change in schools is where the leaders have supported teachers to inquire deeply into their practice and identify areas where they need support, or where they might be able to share strengths.  I was fortunate enough to visit Ngatea Primary School on the Hauraki Plains a couple of weeks ago.  It was clear that the principal and his senior leaders were investing time (and funds) into growing their middle leaders.  Each syndicate had the opportunity to visit other schools and they brought their parents and students on these visits too.  The whole school community was on board with the vision.  They have de-privatised practice at their school and are actively sharing their journey with others outside their school community.  I believe they are building capacity beyond their school too.   I wonder how other schools are using a distributed leadership approach for moving to ILEs.  How are senior leaders supporting middle leaders to build in-depth collaboration in their teams and consequently build a culture of collaboration in their schools?

    Lavinia Robyns, Rosebank School, Auckland

  • elisap (View all users posts) 07 Jul 2016 11:33pm ()

    When reflecting on collaboration, I too tauktoko you Chris and Wendy in your respective statements that ‘The principal is the main driver of the moral purpose’ and ‘that it is the responsibility of all to ensure that collaboration is enacted on a practical level’. Your insight and belief Lavinia that middle leadership, particularly team leaders, are integral to building their team teachers capacity for innovation and growth mindsets, really resonates with me! As you have suggested Lavinia, I too agree that innovative professional development (PD) for leaders and teachers is the way of the future. If we liken it to the innovative learning environment (ILE) of our learners, the locus of control is now shared between teachers and students. Students have access to a variety of resources to retrieve information about their student inquiries and are driving their own learning. Therefore shouldn’t we as leaders be providing those we lead with the same opportunities to lead their own PD, which is aligned to their teaching inquiry, in which they are in the drivers seat? The challenge for us as leaders is to put in place whole school processes and systems in which this can be achieved.

    When visited by ERO in Term 2, Week 7, I took the lead ERO officer through the five Year 2/3 classes that I lead. Of particular note was a need to improve student engagement in two of the five classes. In consultation with the ERO officer she recommended using our best practising teachers as models/exemplars for other team teachers to observe. Like you saw at Ngatea Primary School Lavinia, we are working towards de-privatising our practice within our team and across the whole school. This is quickly becoming the ‘norm’ at our school because our Principal regularly conducts whole school class walkthroughs. This consists of her asking children about their learning, recording it and giving it to the classroom teacher (soon after the visit) to reflect and inform their next learning steps to add value to their classroom practice. A teacher can then quickly identify the students gaps e.g., students not sure of what their end of year target level for maths is, and address that to ensure the student knows this the next time the class is visited by the Principal. Team Leaders at our school have been coached and mentored by the Principal in regards to doing Assessment for Learning (AFL) observations of their team teachers. As part of the CRT schedule Team Leaders are given two 30 minute slots of release time, every three weeks to do regular class walkthroughs of their team teachers. These are just a few processes and systems our kura has implemented to ensure an effective distributive leadership model that is moving towards ILEs.

    Elisa Patterson, Middle Team Leader, Mangere Bridge School, Auckland.

  • Lavinia Robyns (View all users posts) 10 Jul 2016 3:06pm ()

    In reflecting further on innovative learning practices I have been rereading ‘Spirals of Inquiry’ by Timperley, Kaser and Halbert (2014) and the OECD’s 2010 report ‘The Nature of Learning’, Dumont et al.  The quote ‘innovation floats on a sea of inquiry and curiosity is a driver for change’ has already been mentioned in this korero and is absolutely key to developing an environment which allows for collective professional agency.  One major challenge for school leaders is to ensure that teachers have high levels of competence in the essential learning areas, whilst providing equal space for creativity and imagination.  There needs to be the conditions where it is safe to question behaviour and beliefs, focusing on ourselves and the impact we have on our learners.  As educators find reasons to change practice, motivation and energy build.  Transformational change begins with success from small changes.  This creates confidence to design and implement more radical changes.


    Our school’s charter identifies how we will plan strategically to ensure we are setting our learners up for success as lifelong learners.  Stoll, Fink and Earl (2003) talk about schools having three types of future — a possible future, a probable future, and a preferable future. In terms of possible future, anything is possible. A probable future is best described as, if you keep doing what you've always done, your future will probably be one that is comfortable and one that you know.  In contrast, a preferable future is when you take charge of the type of future you want; review where you are currently at; explore possible options for development; select the preferred path, and strategically plan to achieve your desired future. The charter review and development process provides schools with the opportunity to identify their preferable future.

    We have been exploring how we can become more innovative in our practice at our school.  We employed an outside agency to support the teaching staff with professional learning over two years. As a result two teachers have been keen to collaborate in an innovative learning environment.  Their curiosity and desire to make a difference for their learners was the driver for a major change in their practice.  They are being closely supported by the Deputy Principal with responsibility for the senior school and an outside agency.  They have regular opportunities to share their journey with the rest of us.  Sharing best practice was identified as a recommendation by your visiting ERO educator, Elisa, so it is encouraging to know we are on the right track.  The rest of the teachers are being encouraged to explore co-teaching with colleagues in their year level teams.  It is key that all are onboard with the reasons for why we are focused on innovative learning practice.  We have had five new teachers join the staff this year and they have had to bring themselves ‘up to speed’ with why this is important.  It has been helpful to revisit Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TED Talk (short edited 5:40mins).  There needs to be whole school processes for sustaining transformational change.  This is the key focus of my inquiry this year.  How do we ensure that we build and sustain good practice?  As I continue on this NAPP journey I am reflecting that the students hold part of the answer to this question.  How can our learners be instrumental in driving change in our schools?   Is it possible that through growing the expertise of our school leaders (teachers) with digital technologies, they in turn grow student leaders who in turn support other teachers who are not so confident with using digital technologies in their daily practice?

    I would be really interested to hear of any other schools (particularly primary schools) have a process where students are ‘supporting’ teachers.  

  • Rachel Chisnall (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2016 8:42am ()

    Innovation is a buzz word that sometimes gets in the way of real progress. To me, Innovation is simply using a tool in a different way - for example using a ruler to act as a supporting beam for a model bridge rather than using it to draw lines. While I am a huge fan of incorporating digital technologies, to often it is assumed that if you are using 'tech' you are being innovative when in fact it is merely a substitution event. This is less valuable (IMO) than a teacher who identifies areas for improvement or change in there classroom and does so to help the needs of the students - whether it includes technology or not.

    I also wonder how we can foster more collaboration between departments within a school setting, especially large secondary schools. It is not uncommon for people within a dept not to know what other people are doing in their classrooms, much less what some in another area might be doing. This would take TIME - time to talk to other teachers, time to visit other class rooms, and time to plan possible cross curricular activities

    A challenge for schools is to support those teacher trying to change their pedagogy. Limited PD resources, limited planning and collaboration time and occasional unsupportive colleagues or appraisal documents can apply pressure to keep doing what they are doing, for fear of the results getting worse. If we are truly looking to be innovative within our education system, these barriers need to be lessened. As a teacher holding no 'curriculum position' (ie not a HoD or ass HoD or TIC) it can be difficult to share ideas with staff who view themselves as more senior. Not getting a say in a final decision and being told, 'no, we are doing it this way' can be heart breaking to a teacher willing to try something new. So Senior leaders NEED to empower all of their staff, not just the middle leaders, so that everyone feels valued and supported to take a risk and see how a change to their teaching and learning program pans out.

    Rachel Chisnall, https://ibpossum.wordpress.com/​



  • Steph Kitto (View all users posts) 28 Jun 2016 11:18pm ()

    Hi Rachel

    I totally agree with you that one of the biggest challenges many schools face is around trying to change teacher pedagogy and providing the necessary PD and on-going support.  Time, money and the willingness of all staff to engage with change are huge factors.

    Technology can be a wonderful enabler and a fantastic tool if used effectively. However, if teachers do not have sufficient professional development and on-going support then it can become a substitute for pen and paper.  The other day I discovered some students using a particular app to share their learning. The app was chosen by the students for its 'novelty value' and was not the right tool for the job. When I questioned the teacher about what her students were learning and why this tool had been chosen, she admitted that she hadn't used the app before. She said that the students knew how to use it, so she thought it would be fine. She looked stunned when I explained that using this tool to share their learning would be like using chalk to write in a book.

    For me this really highlighted the need to ensure that effective pedagogy comes first. Technology should be used to support, enable and empower learners..... but to do this, we first need to support and empower our staff.

  • Kelvin Harper (View all users posts) 01 Jul 2016 10:17am ()

    Really good point Steph, too many times we see in schools technology being used as a replacement tool not an enhancement tool. In saying this who holds the power and knowledge? Some teachers have very little knowledge of apps (or even emails!) so we need to give them time to develop a better understanding of the tools available to them. As you said the issue with that is how we provide the time and money for them to do this. One thing we have done which is working is setting up a simple reflection doc for teachers to complete with new apps. We aim to give them a couple to look at during the holidays for them to reflect on and then 1st staff meeting of the term they do a sales pitch for the pros and cons. This has worked well for less capable staff members. 

    We also need to put the thinking on the learners as well so they are explaining why they use the tools they have and be reflective. We all know if there is a new app students will want to use that but we need to be asking them why? 


    Would be interested in how others have empowered staff with technology. 

  • Nixon Eagle (View all users posts) 14 Jul 2016 4:25pm ()


    I like the idea of the app review. It gives less confident people exposure to something new and the chance to lead others' learning. That has got to be empowering and there is a bit of compliance in there as well!

    We have had success in increasing teacher confidence with tech by exploring ways to collect evidence for professional portfolios. In the end we settled on using Evernote because of the ease of the tag option for posts with multiple PTC links. I have noticed staff who were more skeptical of embracing technology are now more open minded as they have got an aspect sorted. Getting your head around an app or piece of software is a good way to remind yourself that you can do it. Thinking about ease of access and being user friendly has got to be the go to when deciding whether or not to introduce whole staff.

    Opt in E Learning cafes after school run by staff are another initiative I know a lot of schools rate. Problem can be that the very people you want turning up, don't. Brings me back to your idea. I like it!

  • paulahay (View all users posts) 20 Nov 2016 3:22pm ()

    Kia ora Rachel

    I have been thinking more and more recently about innovation vs reimagining the whole process (disruption?) If innovation is just using what we have (or maybe new tech) to do the same old things, then is this really changing the mindset? or, like you mentioned, merely substituting one tool for another in completing the same task. 

    Recently I saw this diagram used to talk about exponential economics - and the disruptive innovations vs sustaining innovations - and I was trying to think about this in terms of education. 

    Are we constantly trying to innovate in a sustaining way, or are we innovating in a disruptive way?  Put another way, are we implementing tech to substitute what we are currently doing, or are we implementing tech in ways that is disrupting what our current practice is? 

    How comfortable/uncomfortable are we with this? And yes, do we have the time to explore this? Should we expect leaders to allow for time to unpack this thinking and maybe apply prototypes in our spaces? I would say yes, this should be happening.

  • Andrew Churches (View all users posts) 15 Jun 2016 3:08pm ()

    For a long while schools have had a focus on Modern Learning Environment or MLE's. There was an expectation by some, that if you changed the environment the students learnt in you would change their learning. While the change to an MLE can be a catalyst for broader and wider change, more is needed to make the change sustainable and consistent.

    In 2015 the OECD's CERI, the Center for Educational Research and Innovation, produced a number of excellent books on ILE - innovative Learning Environments.:

    Innovative Learning Environments http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/innovative-learning-environments_9789264203488-en

    Schooling Redesigned, towards innovative Learning Systems  - http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/schooling-redesigned_9789264245914-en

    In Innovative Learning Environments, the reports identifies four major areas or aspects that contribute to the development, implementation and maintenance of an ILE.

    An ILE includes the core elements of the   learners, educators, content and resources. Additionally the impact of pedagogy and organisation are critical and in turn impact on each of the four core elements.   is fundamental to innovating any learning environment

    • Learners these are both physically present at the lesson or virtually present, learning may be synchronous or asynchronous. Interestingly the ILE report mentions that parents may become learners
    • Educators These are not necessarily just teachers but include a broader selection of the community and could be area experts, other adults and the students peers.
    • Content could include innovate ways of incorporating 21st C pedagogies such as
      • Social learning
      • Inter disciplinary approaches
      • Emphasis on specific knowledge domains like language, sustainability

      This matches nicely with the Approaches to teaching and Learning and learner profile of the IB and the key competencies of the NZCF

    • Resources which focuses on the use of digital resources as well as innovation in facilities and definition and use of learning spaces.

    Pedagogy and Organisation are also factors that influence all four of the core areas, Learners, Educators, Content and Resources.   These could include:


    • Educator groupings – team teaching to expand pedagogical possibilities, as PL, to target specific learners.
    • Learner Groupings - varying the size of the group and the profiles of the groups, mixed age groups, smaller groups within large groups
    • Rescheduling learning time – flexibility in timetabling, personalizing timetables, including distant learning elements, educational ritual and distant education
    • Pedagogy and assessment – inquiry based learning, technology rich opportunities, strong formative feedback and remixing pedagogies.

    Innovative Learning Principles


    The report developed seven Innovative Learning Environment principles

    The principles state that in order to be most effective, learning environments should:

    • Make learning and engagement central
    • Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative
    • Be highly attuned to learner motivations and emotions
    • Be acutely sensitive to individual differences
    • Be demanding for each learner but without excessive overload
    • Use assessment consistently with learning aims, with a strong emphasis on formative feedback
    • Promote horizontal connectedness across the activities and subjects, in and out of school

    Implementing these changes requires not only funding and resources but a well considered and thought out action plan, clearly articulated and shared goals and vision, incentives for the staff to change and often a change in the skill set that the teachers have. Innovative learning environments are exciting and present opportunities to enhance the learning outcomes for our students.

  • Jim Peters (View all users posts) 16 Jun 2016 8:11am ()

    Kia ora Andrew. Thank you for sharing so much useful information related to Innovative learning Environments. Reading your post was a reminder of all the work that has been done around system change in schools. I was particularly interested in the principles of 'effective' learning environments which, to me, seem ageless and universal. After mulling over your post, the big question for me lurks in your last sentence around how to introduce innovative learning. It's the old chestnut: how to lead change in teacher practice. 

  • Andrew Churches (View all users posts) 20 Jun 2016 8:27am ()

    Kia ora Jim.

    There are lots of models of how to lead change, but from my experience none will work unless teachers, students and the community want to change.

    You can present the most compelling arguments, but if your community does not have the will or interest to change these are futile.

    I think back to our earlier discussions on BoT and community engagement/voice. To lead change rather than just herald the need for change we must bring the community. We need to understand their wants and needs, support them by sharing our vision and the rationale behind it and clarifying the outcomes as benefits for their children.

    One of the models for change states that you need five factors to manage effective change in an educational environment:

    • Shared vision and clear, definable goals
    • Suitable resources
    • Appropriate skills
    • An action plan
    • Incentives

    For me the two most critical aspects of the five are Shared vision and clear definable goals and Incentives. We need to communicate these goals and vision well and convincingly, but critically we must have incentives that make our staff, students and community want to change. One would hope that the incentives would be intrinsic - change for the good of my students, for the benefit of my whanua, community etc. But sometimes the incentive is extrinsic change because I am paid more, have more free time, the system and processes make life easier.

    For change to work there needs to be something else to, a CHAMPION. This is sometimes the principal, but the good principal recognises talent, ability and ambition in their staff and channels  and this


  • Jim Peters (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2016 8:56am ()

    Kia ora Andrew. Thanks for the reposte and explanation of how you see priorities for leading change. I tautoko the concept of the leader as ''champion'. I also agree with the emphasis on community buy-in, but have some concerns about conservative thinking parents who are sceptical about modern learning trends and changing school environments from the traditional classroom that they knew when they were at school. How do you 'manage' those parents? What can leaders do to move forward if long held beliefs and attitudes are barriers to change? 

  • Kate Morgan (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2016 10:36pm ()

    Kia ora Jim. We've had several 'conservative thinking parents' at our school and a few ex principals who are grandfathers of children who are in our ILEs. I've found that having a whanau type learning environment where the door is always welcome and parents can come in at any time, works a treat. At the beginning we even had one parent in writing notes! However they were welcomed back and we now find that these parents are our biggest advocates. When they see tuakana teina relationships working with staff/children, staff/staff and children/children they like it and begin to bring their passions in to share. The storm comes before things become 'normal' for the community. Once the storm has passed these environments are awesome places that everyone can participate in as a learner!




  • Anna (View all users posts) 01 Jul 2016 10:04am ()

    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, I agree with you that everyone needs to be on board if change is to happen.  I found the table below from Michael Fullen a valuable tool to look at when trying to understand the implementation of change.  In my time as a teacher and a leader, I think I have seen outcomes in all of the four following quadrants during the implementation of initiatives that involve change.  


    It’s not just about being clear about what you want but developing shared understanding and trust.  We all want to be in the quadrant of ‘depth’ but how often have our efforts ended in one of the other quadrants because the culture is not there or we weren’t explicit enough, or both!  


    Change Quality Quadrant  (Coherance - Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn)


  • Andrea Pearce (View all users posts) 03 Jul 2016 11:43am ()

    Hi Andrew,

    I agree with you that it is critical to have a shared vision.  I was interested in the Halswells school video about developing a graduate profile.  As a large secondary school, we had a curriculum audit completed by Core Education last year. One of the outcomes was for us to develop a Graduate profile for the school but also graduate profiles for each learning area.

    We have started down this process, with staff meeting to look at attributes and skills that they want their students to have.  In the past few weeks we have looked at student groups to determine the same from them.  Parent voice is important and we had a session explaining to parents what we were doing.  The next step is to develop our graduate profile.  This will serve as our 'why' we do the things we do in the school.  

    The development of the graduate profile will enable us to have a clear defined goal that you talk of.  Decisions , like how we focus our learning spaces, buildings and innovative learning environments can then be centred around this.

    I would be really interested to hear from secondary schools that have developed their graduate profiles and used it to inform their learning practices.

    Andrea Pearce

  • Kiri (View all users posts) 19 Jun 2016 7:10pm ()

    Hello, my name is Kiri and this is my learning about what ILE's are, how Principal's and leadership need to have a clear vision and understanding of how these spaces are resourced and pedagogical philosophies in order to generate 21st century learners. 

    As I undertook this posting there were many questions I had. One obvious, yet for many laughable, question, What is an ILE? Through my research into this area I have discovered that this is not a new concept, at least not from my own personal education background, it seems that this notion has just been given a name. For me, my mother always had the most fascinating classroom that I had ever seen. From uneducated eyes it looked like mayhem with children sprawling out into corridors testing the forces that effect motion, to children tucked away in corners carrying out detailed observational drawings of leaf skeletons, to children dismantling clocks to investigate their workings, others chasing chickens around outside and using their technological design capabilities to build safe chicken runs all in the same day.  There were papers written on her 'And the rabbit bobs past' by Waikato University Lecturer Barbara White. Today TKI states "An innovative environment (ILE) is one that is capable of evolving and adapting as educational practices evolve and change – thus remaining future focused" Ministry of Education. I believe that this is just what mum's learning environment was. Adaptive and constantly evolving to meet the needs of her students and their interests.

    I have little knowledge of the modern day innovative learning environment, but through the various readings I am undertaking, I can see how this could and should be something we could work towards futuristically in my role as Curriculum team leader and on our school's journey of curriculum and vision revamping. What I have discovered is that innovative learning environments, if implemented correctly, encourage education from the day's of old as previously mentioned in my personal account and support Vygotsky's theory of social development, that students learn best when they are interaction socially, being co-operative and collaborative with others. This is also supported in edutopia's 2016 article "How collaboration leads to student success". This article highlights the benefits to student outcomes when students are being co-operative and collaborative.  They talk about remembering knowledge no longer being the key to success as it is at children's fingertips, so, we need to think about what it is we are wanting to teach today. As Dr David Parsons Associate Professor Massey University says, it is more important students learn about order thinking skills, analysis and synthesis skills, how to function in a team and to understand different points of view. Finally Dr Parsons states how these are now the skills that 21st century learners need in order to cope in an unpredictable future. Therefore Principal's need to be innovative not only around buildings and physical environments, but also in they way they believe teachers and learners should interact within these environments. 

    The ILEs I have seen created and resourced within schools I have worked in, the common thread I have noticed is that leadership in all cases has tended to forget to attend to the most critical element of what an  innovative learning environment is aimed at and that is the pedagogical philosophy behind these future focused learning spaces. In my research about this topic, I came across a video (http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Leadership/Leading-e-Learning/Pedagogy-underpins-practice-in-an-innovative-learning-environment)  that discusses the importance of leadership practice when undergoing change towards a innovative learning environment. For me this speaks to the heart of change, and that is the importance of getting the pedagogical philosophy right for both learners and teachers. If teachers don't understand or have buy into why and how innovative learning environments work for the benefit of student outcomes then the resulting feedback and actions of teachers, as I have personally seen and heard, will be that they fall back into the habit of what they have always done, preferring to not teach collaboratively and endeavouring to physically divide the space or even shut the dividing doors between spaces. So as you would expected these spaces are under utilized and the collaborative nature of teaching and learning is lost.

    So there needs to be caution when undertaking planning and resourcing around innovative learning environments. Is there a clear vision and school pedagogical philosophy? What will an innovative learning environment look like in the context of your particular school? What measures are in place to know the effect of success?

    When considering the resourcing of this space, Robinson (2011) would ask, does it meet the educational goals of the school? Therefore can we factor this into our 10 YPP? Does this link to the strategic plan and has there been a review of where the school is at? What can we resource immediately? How will we resource this futuristically and is there a plan to ensure upgrades and unforeseen problems can be resolved? Through the strategic plan and looking at the pedagogy required, does this require resourcing and where can we access this from? Can this come from human resourcing within the school or is there a need to explore this externally? For schools such as mine who are in financial hardship, there needs to be some thought towards how to ensure we are working towards 21st century environments and pedagogical practices when working on the wiff of an oily rag! So it is encouraging to read articles such as the one published edutopia "How collaboration leads to student success" who suggest that establishing a philosophy of collaboration doesn't need to be resource intensive or require hours of professional development. What it does take is an open mind and an established vision, a set of beliefs and a staff that are looking to the future and are willing to change their practice to improve student outcomes.

  • Karen Ellis (View all users posts) 22 Jun 2016 7:11pm ()

    Innovative Learning Principles


    The report developed seven Innovative Learning Environment principles

    The principles state that in order to be most effective, learning environments should:

    • Make learning and engagement central
    • Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative
    • Be highly attuned to learner motivations and emotions
    • Be acutely sensitive to individual differences
    • Be demanding for each learner but without excessive overload
    • Use assessment consistently with learning aims, with a strong emphasis on formative feedback
    • Promote horizontal connectedness across the activities and subjects, in and out of school

    Thank you Andrew. In our school nestled in the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland we have first taken the approach of connecting with the pedagogy. As a cohesive and inquiring staff we have decided that it's the ILP that is the crux of our progression into 21st C learning and teaching. The walls of a classroom can be standing or broken down but if the pedagogy of our teachers remains entrenched in the 'industrial' model no 'bells or whistles' are going to provide our tamariki in that environment with any chance of connecting as a 21st C learner.

    We have spent 18 months as a staff on a learning journey, visiting schools, inviting in experts, discussing amongst ourselves, sourcing reading and unpacking our understanding of innovative learning practices. What ILP we have within our school already developed as the norm, and where we desire to make innovative steps for change. It takes time and energy but our decision making is as a whole staff...including the extremes of opinion...we all have our place in society and all voices have a right to be heard. However as a collective body we decide together. Our school is a mixture of ILE designed learning spaces and traditional learning spaces but the teaching and learning within those spaces is the key we talk about and focus on...our teaching practices...our children's learning pathways and our connected communication.

    It's the long way journeying into ILE/ILP but we think the benefit is that along the way everyone joins in and understands the journey...our children, our teachers and our community. And besides the journey should never end - we should be continuing to explore and explain and question how we learn, why/what we learn -or slip back into the fixed little educational boxes we are so desperately trying to escape.


  • Katrina (View all users posts) 25 Jun 2016 8:33pm ()

    Some very informative and insightful information provided through this thread. I certainly have developed a better understanding of some logistics involved in Innovative learning environments. We are in the early stages and have embraced aspects of ILE and although I feel a little overwhelmed, assurance reigns as a large part of our staff - are of a growth mind-set.

    Our school roll sits at 200 (our roll growth has matured from 140 over the last 3 and a half years). 6 of our 8 classrooms have been refurbished, modernising our learning environments and 3 of these have break out spaces. Each classroom has a set of 5 I pads and there is a set of laptops that is timetabled for each class to use twice a week. We are slowly, yet surely moving with the times to make fundamental changes in the way we educate our learners.

    I had wonderings around ILE. If a school was not financially able to modernise buildings and environments as quickly as liked, or have the capital or readiness to go 1 on 1 with devices, could you still not encourage and support many different types of learners through deep learning tasks?

    Karen, your comment offers clarity when suggested that the pedagogy of teachers was most important, and Andrew your shared information on learning principles affirmed that there are fundamental aspects of effective environments, but a fancy building is not a crucial variable.

  • Erika Ward (View all users posts) 26 Jun 2016 6:49pm ()

    I am new at the ILE thing but I am excited about the possibilities it offers. Next term I have permission to look at beginning to change my classroom environment. I am very aware that it is the pedagogy that makes it so heres what I am thinking.

    I have a class that is very boy heavy. They are boys who like to move around, talk and have a bit of freedom.

    They are boys that often find it difficult to sit still at their desks and stay focussed on their work.

    When I collected some data of my most restless boy, he was able to maintain attention for about 3 mins before needing to move around.

    I am thinking that if I make a change in environment that allows the students more room to stand to walk, lie on the ground, move to a private space or sit by themselves or maintain what they are already doing that it will result in more on task behaviour. At this time I am making an environment only change, the structure of the timetable will stay the same and I am not looking at integrating technology in at the mo either.

    I have quite a small space and I will be the only one in the school trying this so I will be interested to see what the kids make of it and how it all works out.

  • Kate Morgan (View all users posts) 26 Jun 2016 7:42pm ()

    Kia ora Erika

    It's awesome that you're trying something new for your students.

    Have you thought about inquiring into what the children in your space are truly and deeply interested in? I have found that by targeting interests, children will want to learn for hours, will be keen to go with a task all day or even all week and will ask to stay in at break times.

    We have developed ako bases this year. These learning tasks are based on children's interests and also any learning next steps that we identify when learning alongside our children. Ako whanau (learning families) as we have called them, also encourage collaboration, innovation and new ideas. We have noticed that new relationships develop and the tuakana teina relationships mean that everyone feels responsible for each other's learning.

    Do you have whanau who would like to come in and share their ideas too? This can encourage new learning for everyone, including the teacher. I have learned some Chinese this year as one of our parents came in to take a Chinese language ako base.

    My team has done a lot of work around planning for an ILE and I have templates that I would be happy to share. The more that we share our learning and resources around ILEs, the more ideas that we get and then together we create better ILEs for all of our children!

    I think that the pedagogy comes before the environment and the environment is set up around the pedagogy. Have you thought about collaborating with another teacher to see if you can do some collaboration around an area that you both think needs improvement in your school?

    Nga mihi and good luck with your journey! 





  • Veronica van der Straaten (View all users posts) 02 Jul 2016 1:17pm ()

    Kia ora Erika

    Well done for being brave and trialing something different. You have a hunch, and are identifying an issue and you are looking at a possible action to address the issue re your boys staying engaged in one place for a period of time.

    As i read your post I wondered whether you had considered getting their voice in how they best learn? You talk about the fact that they like to move around, talk and have a bit of freedom.  Have you considered asking them what furniture they would like; whether they prefer working alone or with others, whether they prefer a quiet space or noise when they work, and what they would like their class to look and feel like so they could truly engage in their learning. 

    I often find that I have hunches and am trying to decide what would be best for children when in fact children can identify for themselves what works best for them.

    Veronica van der Straaten




  • Kiri B (View all users posts) 10 Jul 2016 12:30pm ()

    From the seven Innovative Learning Environment principles highlighted in Karen Ellis's post I am interested in finding out how schools are running ILEs in their Y0-3.  I believe with good pedagogical practices the following can be achieved in a single cell classroom

    • Make learning and engagement central
    • Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative
    • Be highly attuned to learner motivations and emotions
    • Be acutely sensitive to individual differences
    • Be demanding for each learner but without excessive overload
    • Use assessment consistently with learning aims, with a strong emphasis on formative feedback
    • Promote horizontal connectedness across the activities and subjects, in and out of school

    However, I like the idea of being able to utilise teacher strengths as learning coaches for akonga. Are there any schools who are running flexible learning spaces etc across single cell classes for collaborative learning.

    Although there are plans for ILEs for our year 3-8 children, this is not an option due to property issues for the year 0-2. So I'd like to know how other schools go about achieving ILEs in the traditional learning space. TIA


  • LyD (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2016 6:34pm ()

    Hi Kiri, we are in the early stages of developing our innovative learning and teaching.   People have talked about the Principal being the lead lever for change and I agree. In our case, our Principal has given us permission to explore and try things out. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable place for teacher-learners as well as students and their families. We are in a high-stakes environment and with this trust comes huge responsibility. But knowing the trust and support is there at the top has given us courage. We are still working in single cells ( not for much longer) but for several years we have been building teacher agency and developing collaborative  practice  in preparation for buildings which will support more flexible learning spaces and behaviours. Initially developing our ability to plan collaboratively using the tools (Google tools)  that we imagined would become part of the student's kete of tools. Having a small group of teachers at various stages in their careers has helped too with each person bringing strengths and a learner disposition. The students have shown us the way helping us create learner spaces on decks and showing an openness and willingness to build relationships with more than one teacher.  We are currently trialing teacher workshop and teacher rover in pods of two. We are a school with a diverse population and finding ways to incorporate our specialist teachers into our classrooms at the planning stages is an important next step as well.  So now that we have some ideas about what is  possible we are getting ready to share our ideas with our community. I've seen some inspiring posts about how this might look through' Learner Celebrations', What if Evenings  and open door positions. From discussions with schools who are further along the track many have reflected that one thing they would change is how they involved parents and whanau in the discussions and early stages of decision making.   

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

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