Log in

FORUM: Connecting Communities of Learning through technologies

...or cool tools for connected schools. Last year I published a blog post on Digital tools for connected schools. Thanks to digital data, I can link these ideas to this in this forum, but more importantly we’d love to hear how you and your partner schools are beginning to meet (face-to-face and online) to share and analyse stories/trends/data, negotiate collaborative goals, share expertise, plan actions for shifts and change 'to raise the quality of teaching and learning.’ (Communities of Schools; Investing in educational success – IES


Depending on the purpose for a meeting and the numbers attending, meetings can be informal or more structured, and not always face-to-face events. Blended ways of working may offer viable alternatives in terms of funding, timing, and accessibility for all stakeholders, including those from the wider community. Find out more about these tools in the original blog post here >>>

video chat

How are you connecting together when you're not together? We'd love to hear what digital tools you're using beyond face-to-face visits. Add these in the comments below.


For group discussions, working parties, or more formal presentations, technologies such as video conferencing packages with display screens (or projectors), high mounted external cameras (to capture all in the room), optional streamers (Chromecast, Apple TV), speakers, and external microphones can be set up in meeting spaces to allow those who can’t be there in person to:

  • deliver presentations
  • participate in live conversations
  • contribute to shared documentation.

The more money invested the better the experience, and, of course, bandwidth is vital. Tips for setting up successful web conferencing can be seen in the original blog post here >>>

 video conferencing

What digital tools are you using to share ideas, planning, progress? Any tips to share as well?


VLN-discussionsSocial networks can be used to form personal and professional learning communities. Our network here models those benefits for educators, such as blended opportunities (online threads, live webinars, chats) for:

  • networking online (common interests, queries, responses)
  • exchange of information (ideas, experiences, research)
  • knowledge construction (building on new learning, trying new ideas, transference)
  • learning and reflection (transformation).

Find out more about the potential for reflective practice, professional learning and social networking in the original blog post here >>>

Are you using any online social networking or reflective tools (blogs) that can help you reflect on your practice with each other in between visits (online)?


data visualisation tools

There are a large number of digital publishing tools that enable schools to share information with each other. Quantitative and qualitative data can be represented as graphs, charts, pictographs, flow diagrams, and images to accurately relay important information concisely. Analysis of the data can help inform future steps for teaching and learning. For further rationale about why you’d use these tools see the original blog post here >>>

How do you collect and present data for discussion? Are there any digital tools that have enabled you to do this in a smart way?


  • anne robertson (View all users posts) 19 Jul 2017 6:45pm ()

    I guess that before Kāhui Ako (Communities of Learning) and schools/kura choose how they want to connect, they need to consider a couple of things:

    1. How their teams already work together...are they effective teams, are they communicating and collaborating well, does everyone have an equal opportunity to express their views - do they feel that they are working in a 'psychologically safe place' (see this news article about how Google found out what made an effective team). If they don't already have robust teams, then the magic wand of a digital tool will not necessarily make true collaboration happen.  

    2. What do you want to achieve? What is the purpose - purely administrative, to build teacher capacity, to develop teacher practice, to share inquiries, to connect with the community...? All stakeholders also need to have a clear understanding of why they are being asked to use a collaborative tool. What is the purpose of sharing, do they believe that it will make a difference to student outcomes, and will it add anything to what they already do? Decide first what you want to do, think about the features you need from the collaboration/communication tools and then explore what tools are out there and choose what suits your organisation. 

    It would be interesting to hear what schools and Kāhui Ako are using and how effective they are for all members of the community. 

Join this group to contribute to discussions.