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Establishing a Learning Management System (Our KnowledgeNet Journey) - Orini Full Primary, Coalface Cluster

What was important for us?

To develop a learning management system which;

-          Encourages students to monitor and reflect on their learning and receive timely feedback from peers, parents and teachers.

-          Provides a convenient access point for students and parents, to important information about individual’s progress at school.

-          Allows teachers to personalize content and plan remotely, as needed.

-          Supports the integration of ICTs into classroom learning programmes.

-          Provides immediate access to resources for students, parents and staff.

-          Provides online storage and tools for communication.

-          Links to our school student management system (MUSAC).


As a learning community we recognised the increasingly urgent need to collect and share student work with parents, and the wider community. After much discussion and consultation it was decided that a private Learning Management System was necessary to suit the needs of this community. The KnowledgeNet system was investigated by staff and recommended to the BOT. We were fortunate enough to be selected as part of a KnowledgeNet Research Project group which meant our initial set up and first 6 months subscription was fully funded.

What did we do?

It was essential to provide practical and ongoing professional development to our staff to ensure teacher knowledge/capacity was established consistently across the whole school.  To allow this to happen our Principal, along with senior students, led the whole school assembly one afternoon each week while Teachers met for a training session with one staff member who was already proficient at using the KNet system.  During the first few sessions, basic skills were practiced by the staff as a whole group and class pages were established.  From then on, these sessions have been a set time each week for Teachers to update their KNet page and source resources, with the Lead Teacher being there to support and trouble shoot where needed.  All staff members have commented that this has been an integral part in successfully establishing class pages, as issues are being dealt with as soon as they arise, rather than having to wait for technical support outside of the school.  Also having a set time each week has meant that it is made a priority in teachers’ hectic schedules and valued by all the staff.

The students in our senior two classrooms have established individual pages in order to showcase completed work, reflect on their own and other’s learning and access specific feedback/feed forward from Teachers, Parents and Peers.  These are carried on from one classroom to the next, allowing progressions to be clearly shown.  Eventually, all Year 8 students will leave with individual learning documented in their e-portfolio. 


Broadband connection is needed in order to access the KNet Learning Management System efficiently.  Our school is very fortunate to be one of the first schools having the new fiber cabling upgrade during the next few months.  Hopefully this will allow efficient access to the KNet and its online resources for both students and staff.  Unfortunately, due to our rural environment many of our families are only able to use dial up connections.  To overcome this, we have held a Parent Evening where students led their families through specific tasks to familiarise themselves with the KNet system.  We also make school computers available before or after school for families with limited or no access at home.

Parent Evening Tasks

Appraisal Goals

Our School Management team values the integration of ICT through the use of the KnowledgeNet LMS.  Hence, over the past 3 years of our ICT contract each Teacher has set an appraisal goal specifically based around successfully implementing the KnowledgeNet system. This has meant regular reflection by all staff as to how well targets are being achieved in order to enhance their own, and their student’s, learning.  ICT integration is also discussed after teacher observations are completed, with next learning steps outlined.

What happened, as a result?

LMS (Learning Management System)

All classroom teachers are updating their class pages regularly with photos, video, voice files and specific links to resources to enhance learning.  This is an on-going process and is enhanced by the allocated time set aside each week.  Parents are starting to access the class and individual pages more regularly, although rural connection issues hinder this. 

During term one this year, our LMS system was upgraded to the KnowledgeNet 2010 version.  This is a more efficient system, however as it is quite different to the old version. This has meant that Teacher’s needed to retrain how to use basic features during our PD sessions.

As a result of our widespread use of the KNet system within our school, our school webpage has been compacted to contain basic information, with a direct link to our KnowledgeNet login page.

Physical Environment

Three years ago a forward thinking BOT member applied for numerous charity grants which successfully obtained funding for new computers throughout the school.  The senior 2 classrooms received 8 each, improving the student to computer ratio to 1:3.  Earlier this year, the BOT funded more computers so that 2 of our junior classrooms could have the same ratio.  This has made accessing and using the KNet and other online programmes a lot more efficient for both students and teachers.  Junior/Middle school classes also make use of the senior class computers on a Friday while the senior students are away at Technology classes.

What have we learned?

As a school we have learned the importance of up skilling staff first, to ensure ownership and capacity is established across all classrooms. It is also important that staff are allowed the time to consolidate their learning before too many new things are thrown at them to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. Once the staff becomes enthused and passionate about the use of such a system, they willingly pass this onto their students.

What are our next steps?

We are eagerly awaiting connection as part of the National broadband rollout next term.  Once this is complete, students will host another evening to up-skill their parents and families in accessing and contributing to our KnowledgeNet System.  It will also allow new families to become familiar with the KnowledgeNet LMS.

The Parent Portal is not currently being fully utilised so it is hoped that next year to have data streaming directly from our MUSAC system straight into our LMS, with accompanying interpretation and explanation of children’s assessment results. This is what parents have indicated that they would like to see included.

Even though this is the final year of our ICT Cluster we recognise the importance of on-going professional development and are committed to addressing the individual needs of our students and staff.


Coalface Learning Community

Coalface Learning Community

Learning @ The Coalface -We are a group of 70 teachers representing 8 schools in the Waikato region. We're here to share - and to gather insight and ideas from like minded colleagues.