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OtagoNet & DunedinNet: Milestone 4 Reflection ('Deep Support' for students in 'blended learning' environments))

Context and Goals

This reflection results largely from unpacking of the research findings of a TLRI research project that OtagoNet students were involved in in 2010. This year we have begun to unpack and explore the implications for students of this research - to ask the question “so what?”.
Recognising that both the numbers of students, and the range of online learning opportunities available through OtagoNet, DunedinNet and the VLN Comunity continues to rise at a very steady rate. It is now quite common in our schools for senior secondary schools to participate in online and other ‘blended learning’ options (our 2011 research indicated that between 26 and 78% of the sample schools’ senior students were participating in at least one non-traditional blended or online learning option).
The key conclusions of this research indicate that ALL STUDENTS can successfully achieve in online and ‘blended learning’ environments; however the learning experience and achievement of students varies considerably between schools.
In order for the learning experience for all students to to be successfully achieve in BL environments local-school support (‘Deep Support’) is vital. Without this ‘Deep Support’ only students with strong self managing are likely to experience success and a positive learning experience, in online and others BL environments

What have we done so far?

Over the year in forums we have tried to unpack the dimensions of a ‘Deep Support’ system.

What have we learned?

The following diagram (also in pdf) provides a concept map of the the dimension we have identified as being important elements of ‘Deep Support’ system



What are our next steps?

  • To develop this into an online survey which schools can use to self evaluate their support system for students learning in BL/online environments
  • To use this to identify examples of strong support (to share with other schools); and areas for development
  • Use the data from schools across the cluster, to get a picture of where OtagoNet & DunedinNet are with their schools support system - and where necessary provide schools with support to enhance weaker aspects
  • establish an online ‘community of practice’ of support teachers to share & develop goods practice

External Links
TLRI Research paper
ULearn 2011 presentation