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Greater Christchurch Schools Network : Reflective Summary Milestone 4

The GCSN team have undertaken a wide range of activities to support learning and teaching in over 90 primary, intermediate and secondary schools.  Many of these schools have been badly affected by the February 22, 2011 earthquake with extensive property damage and continuing stress on staff and students.  The following general conclusions can be made about some of the impact of the wide range of GCSN activities in Christchurch schools.

What did we do? and What was important for us?

GCSN's Professional learning programme targetted increased confidence and capability within the GCSN community in using the advanced network to enhance teaching and learning activities through a variety of approaches:


Of increasing interest to GCSN, and underpinning many of its activities, is the way  collaborative educational programmes can be encouraged across advanced networks.  The champions meetings, especially at secondary level are increasingly well attended.  School principals acknowledge their importance.  Schools are more willing to work together, for instance, GCSN is successfully working with primary schools in the eastern suburbs badly affected by population loss following the earthquakes.

Video conferencing

The work of GCSN in brokering the supply of video conferencing units and providing bridging arrangements for nearly all Christchurch secondary schools has lifted morale.  The use of these units will be the basis of further professional development and collaboration.  Read further

 In the secondary context this growth has resulted in:

  • improved collaboration of teacher expertise across the network
  • improved access to a wider range of subjects available for students
  • increased collaboration of resource development and enhanced access to the NCEA curriculum

Feedback from our Scholarship teacher mentors

Students gained from teachers’ expertise outside their school. They were able to have access to a greater variety of critical thinking and methods of answering scholarship questions.

The VC equipment this year was more reliable and easy to use. The students enjoyed using the equipment and were running their own log on etc by the end of the term.

Teachers wanted access in the future to more on-line resources which supported the VC teaching sessions. They also identified the need for experienced mentors to train other teachers in complex content and to deliver this material  by VC.

The need to be able to record and thus have a bank of VC lesson on key subjects would add to students’ resource pool when studying for exams.


Another highlight was the TV1 report on three schools, including a Christchurch primary school, a Brisbane school and a Japanese school, sharing their ideas about a greener future and posting their natural disasters communication through a VC link. view here 

Technical provisions and developments at the schools.  

Students are using more affordable options such as ipod touches and other BYODs to an increasing extent.  Schools have an increasing acceptance and awareness of the risks related to safety, equity and legalities surrounding the use of BYODs. 

The fact that some schools are not yet "snupped" or do not have fibre rolled out to their school servers is also an impediment to those wishing to take full advantage of services available through the KAREN network.   

GCSN contnues to work hard in finding solutions to these issues and to ensure better access of all staff and student to the digital world. 


Teachers use the GCSN website increasingly as the ‘first port of call’ for all information and support available through the by GCSN community.   Join now

The increased functionality of the site's events calendar means teachers can see the event details and then directly sign up for the event. Once on the list for an event,  they are then reminded through email about the workshop start time and location.

With students also using the events calendar, we encourage scholarship students to collect their worksheets that accompany a VC event.

Increasingly GCSN members and beyond are watching our events calendar and signing up to our events. Our BYOD technical meeting brought people as far as the North Island, Neson, Queenstown and Ashburton.  It was great to be able share information and goals together. 

Leadership, planning and professional development

GCSN  activities have reinforced the need for long-term planning if ICT is to be used effectively to support students' learning.  Some primary schools, in the face of the problems resulting from the earthquakes, have put ICT professional development on hold.  GCSN is supporting schools in developing ICT leadership and planning strategies so that students benefit from improved classroom access to ICT provision.  

The value of GCSN champions who come together once a term to share their schools needs, vision and successes cannot be under estimated. The professional conversations, networking and sharing of expertise are energising for everyone. As the GCSN team, we value the requests and ideas shared as we can personalise and tailor the delivery of our programmes to meet identified school needs.

E-asTTle workshops

Deb Masters presented an e-asTTle overview to a whole secondary staff.  This overview was based around the need for useful and directed assessment rather than random testing.  She then met with key staff in two separate sessions to streamline the transfer of assessment data from Year 8 students as they moved into Year 9.  She also met with all heads of faculty for a session on feedback to staff. 

As a result the staff have developed a plan to work smarter by using assessment results attached to students as they enter secondary school.   The access to e-asTTle testing has widened within subject departments rather than focussing on whole-whole school approaches.

 Actions for the future include:

  • Planning for E-Portfolio procedures for incoming students
  • Working to establish common assessment requirements from 19 contributing schools.

Primary school comments

Three of us (principal and two deputy principals) met Deb.  We talked on assessment as a whole.  It was great to have this discussion to clarify the process for us as a school.

Deb showed us how to access the training area of e-asTTLe and its features; and how we could use these to support student learning.  The focus on students and their  progress and learning were a strong part of the discussion. 

The next step is to discuss with staff about the use of e-asTTle more.  Presently, we use it for writing and for some students in reading.  The intention would be to use it for all Year 4 to 8 students in reading and then have this information to help inform teacher practice and student learning. 

What are the other issues affecting us?

The plans to rebuild, support and renew Christchurch schools will be an essential part of our  ICTPD regional  cluster programme.  We will continue to promote a blended e-Learning approach in our ICT PD activities and in our NEN support programme.