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e-Central Milestone 4 Reflective Summary - the e-Teach Group

e-Central ICT PD Regional Cluster VLN Reflection-Milestone 4

About the Cluster

The e-Central Cluster is a Regional cluster made up of 26 Primary and Secondary Schools from across Central Otago, a wide geographical area.  Schools vary in size from small schools with 15 students to large Secondary schools with almost 800 students.  Creating opportunities for collaboration between schools as well as building the capacity of both schools and teachers across the region so that development is sustainable are key goals for the Cluster.

Programme Outcome C:  To encourage teachers to share e-learning best practice.  

Goal: (“Encouraging reflection and sharing”).   Ensuring collegial support by encouraging teachers and schools to develop reflective practices to reflect on and share their elearning experiences.       National Goal  3 and 5                        

Why is this important to us? Intentions

During the first year of the cluster teachers have been sharing eLearning experiences within their own schools and at specific days such as Lead Teacher days.  We wanted to expand some of these discussion to explore and reflect on aspects of pedagogy in relation to eLearning – and to provide a further opportunities to develop connections between schools that includes others than just those with responsibility for eLearning  - and to hopefully form another group, across the cluster, based on dialogue

Interventions-What we did:

Based on a previous experience in another area we decided to form an eTeach group with the aim of meeting face to face at least once a term  to have discussions based on research or educational articles related to eLearning.  While the focus would be dialogue we would also take time to share practical experiences.

Initially we decided to keep the group small to try and develop trust between members so they would feel comfortable in discussion.

We advertised across the cluster and started with our first meeting with 14 teachers.  At this meeting we outlined the intention of the group and talked over the possibilities and what teachers might like to get out of the group.  One thing that was identified at this stage was the teachers desire to explore practice in other schools.

We have since had two face to face meeting where the group discussed selected pedagogical research and articles and then finished a meeting with hands-on sharing from within the group.

A bus trip to visit schools was organized and the group travelled together to Dunedin to visit 4 schools to look at learning spaces and eLearning development.  In each school the group met with the principal and classroom teachers.

An online space was also set up as a focus point.

Impact on Students/Teachers/Whanau

 Although anecdotal at this stage, teacher feedback has been positive and the group are keen  to continue. From a facilitators point of view it has been interesting listening to teachers clarify their thoughts on learning and justify or modify their stance. When the group was set up intention to focus on learning discussions was made clear and the teacher who have attended so far have all made contributions to discussions and have been quite open and willing to share.

Teachers have taken some of the discussions to their own staff and some  teachers have gone back to their classrooms to try some of the things shared within the group.

Feed back from the bus trip was positive with leadership being one of the main things identified  quote: "All the schools had principals that led from the front and were involved and interested in ICT. "

While they all found things of interest the teachers also felt that the visits reinforced some of their own thinking and they realized that they were doing some worthwhile things in their own schools and this has made them think about local inter class/school visits.


With schools covering a wide geographical area there has been the issue of distance and time and we will have to consider the best way to continue given the technologies we have available.

There was no specific target level for the group and the teaching range has been from Yr 1 to Yr12.  This required thought to keep the discussions and activities broad enough to allow everyone to take part – but it also means the discussion has focused on general pedagogy. 

There was also the challenge of adapting activities for each level – what would this look like at primary and secondary levels?

Getting buy in to online ways of working

Next Steps

Continue with the group while trying to develop online interactions that will help the group manage distance and time – and develop connections outside the cluster through the VLN

 Increase group numbers slightly with the aim of eventually having some local meetings with nearby schools interacting (the cluster has four distinctive areas) - and encourage some of the small schools to take part.

Teacher visits to cluster schools

 Look at developing the model for other focus group across the cluster