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Cannington School - Reflective Summary - Using e-learning to improve Student Achievement in Written Language

School Type

Cannington School is a small rural school 25 minutes from Timaru.  We have two multi level classrooms. We have a roll of 29.


Cannington is a part of the Aoraki Rural Cluster.  Every school in the cluster has identified a “Teaching as Inquiry” focus.  This inquiry question and focus has been closely developed with our peers and colleagues. 

The focus for this question: how ICT Tools, strategies and thinking can be used in teaching and learning to improve student achievement in a selected aspect of learning.

The lead teachers have modeled this focus and action plan to staff, and they in turn have developed their own.


A school wide focus was placed on improving written language skills though use of ICT tools, strategies and thinking tools.  This focus was chosen due to, reflection and data from students and teachers, to lift student engagement and in turn achievement.

Our goal included three main aspects.  Firstly we wished to increase family/whanau engagement in the children’s writing and in turn audience. Secondly, to shift attitudes, engagement, and turn around the general reluctance to produce writing.  Thirdly, to change our children’s belief that good writing is neat writing!

The first task was to gauge the children’s attitude and experience of written language.  A general theme was that writing was for themselves, not an audience.  It also showed that the children’s belief that a quality “good” piece of writing was one that had all the words spelt correctly and was very neat.  One child identified ideas, expression and writer voice as being important.

To change the children’s attitude, engagement and to increase their audience, and awareness of this, was a focus.

The focus of my inquiry was to improve the children’s written language skills through use of ICT, using avenues that encourage, engagement and family engagement.

To increase student engagement and attitude using ICT tools for the children to experience a variety of situations, has been a focus.  I have explored use of many different medias to increase engagement and excitement. To produce writing naturally, with children being able to take risks, to produce writing to a high standard.

Using Photostory3, we have encouraged the children to think about communicating with their audience.  They have used their own personal voice and thought about the message they wanted to convey.

When focusing on using Photostory3, the children have had many opportunities to produce meaningful pieces of work.  This has been developed with different purposes over the curriculum.  It has seen children research, reflect and report on character, personal voice, a science focus and much more.  It has introduced the children to the aspect of having to prepare writing that is to be written, presented, and illustrated.  The success of this is meaningful and outstanding.

Impact On Students. 

An increase in enthusiasm and risk taking has been one very positive aspect, of the inquiry question focus.  It has challenged children and teachers alike to think outside the square, to look at ways to present information and lifting the quality.  The children have been able to confidently and independently reflect on their writing.  Far more personal voice is used in writing, it shows expression and understanding of how to write and why we write for an audience.

It is evident that the opportunities given to use different and exciting medias, has increased engagement levels.  Varying the tasks and tools used during writing has also increased engagement.  Children writing independently and during their own time, shows the children have an understanding of the purpose of writing and the messages that can conveyed through this. 


Next Steps

To use self reflection tools to increase children’s awareness of editing, proofreading and to review a piece of writing to increase the quality.  The children often previously thought and saw writing as something that once you have finished, you pop your pens away and nothing else happens to it! We will strive to continue to challenge this idea! To increase awareness of the children that writing is in every part of the curriculum. 

As teachers, we are continually looking for ways to vary task and to reinforce writing as purposeful and meaningful writing tasks.