Log in

Westbrook School Reflects on "Change"

Milestone 5, Goal 5 Reflective Summary

Rotorua Central ICTPD Cluster


Increase teacher knowledge and expertise that will work towards raising student achievement through e-learning and SOLO Taxonomy. 

Setting the Scene - "The School and its Community"

Westbrook School opened in February 1970. The school is located on Malfroy Road, in Western Rotorua. The school roll is typically around 500 in January and rising to 600 in December.

Westbrook School services a diverse community with a full range of socio-economic backgrounds. The ethnic make up of the school is approximately 73% New Zealand Europeans, 21% Maori, 3% Pasifika and 3% other ethnicities (Pacifika, Asian and Indian).

The staff of Westbrook are a special group who have chosen our school because of the feeling they have for our pupils. This is exemplified in the way they care about their pupils, the knowledge they have of the needs of their pupils and their families, and the out of school hours they put in on their behalf. 

School wide data indicates that the students at Westbrook School are achieving at levels slightly above national expectations in most learning areas.

Our 2011 end of year Star Reading data indicates that 57% of students were at Stanines 4,5,and 6. Only 13% were on stanines 1,2,and 3, while 38% were on stanines 7,8, and 9.

When developing policies and practices for the school every endeavour is made to reflect New Zealand Cultural diversity and the unique position of the Maori culture.

 Consultation with the parents/caregivers is held regularly. Any new initiative coming from this consultation will be included in the school Strategic Plan.

The board emphasises strategic leadership rather than administrative detail and has a clear understanding of board and staff roles.

The Board of Trustees concentrates on the future rather than the past or present, and is pro-active rather than reactive.


  • We were not part of an ICT Cluster.
  • Teacher use of ICT to enhance learning was sporadic and varied amongst the staff.  This ranged from teachers who felt threatened and resisted new technology through to those who had fully integrated it into their planning and learning across the curriculum.
  • PD was provided to the whole staff 15 minutes per month or ad hoc when required.
  • Very few Professional Development opportunities outside of the school were accessed.
  • Web 2 tools and Class Blogging was introduced.  There were few takers at the beginning.
  • Most of the ICT learning took place in the Computer Suite
  • Little ICT integration planning was shown in unit or long term plans.
  • Inquiry Learning and SOLO were introduced to the staff. 
  • There was little strategic direction from management.
  • Some of our equipment was over 10 years old.
  • Very little ICT was used in School Assemblies.
What do teachers think? (Recognising the relevance)

  • As more and more staff integrated ICT into their classroom curriculum other staff have come on board and are now attempting to do the same.  We still however retain a few resistant staff members.  
  • We are members of the Rotorua Central ICT PD Cluster, participating in a 3 year contract. This has renewed the focus on just how important ICT is in a school.  Two cluster lead teachers from Westbrook have been appointed and we are well on the way to improving ICT at Westbrook. 
  • One of the first tasks as a staff, was to identify where each of us was on the journey to being completely confident and competent in the use of ICT. Each staff member completed a survey, which acts as baseline data, from which we can identify our school and individual goals in ICT.
  • Regular ICT Staff PD is now being provided to all staff, led by our two lead teachers.
  • ICT cluster funds have been utilised to release lead teachers to meet with those from other schools in our cluster, visit other schools to observe ICT in action, and allow staff to attend courses and conferences. Over the last 2 and a half years ALL staff have now had the opportunity to attend at least one ICT teaching and learning conference.
  • ICT Professional learning groups have been set up.
  • Mini Tutorial sessions occur when the need arises.
  • ICT is starting to be shown in planning. The ICT lead teacher attended team planning days in Term 1 to support teachers in their integration of ICT and SOLO taxonomy into units.
  • ICT is being used more in classrooms, rather than just in the Computer Suite.
  • Over half the school has a class blog or wiki. Children in these classes in the senior school have their own blogs.
  • There is an increase in the use of cameras and videos.
  • 18 new PCs, 4 Interactive Whiteboards as well as peripherals have been purchased.  We are at present waiting for the approval of grant funding which will enable the purchase of a further 6 Interactive White boards and 6 data projectors.
  • The SOLO taxonomy is being used in most classes and Inquiry Learning has also been adopted.
  • A Replacement Equipment proposal is now in place.
  • Management support for ICT is now shown and direction is coming from the top not filtering up from the bottom. The principal has been involved in cluster meetings, applications and professional development related to ICT throughout all years of the contract. Our Board of Trustees is also supportive of our goal to increase the profile of ICT in the school.
  • Our Assemblies are now ICT Rich.
  • There is an excitement around the school regarding the use of ICT.

What did teachers think?

What did teachers do?

Schoolwide 'Snapshot'  - Evidence of Change (Year 1 of the contract)image

Teacher Snapshots:

Callum - Year 5 Classroom teacher

Google Sketch Up success in 2011

Google Sketch Up is a free to download 3D modelling software programme. It allows you to create almost any object you wish on a computer in 3 dimensions. 

In 2011 I used this programme successfully in my class to build houses. I began by showing my students how to create a square and raise it to make it into a 3D model.  Then students were shown how to make lines and use the rubbing out tool. This total instruction took just a few minutes before students were set loose to experiment for themselves. 

Within a few days I was getting completed houses being shown to me in class and a few students who had downloaded to programme themselves emailed their projects to me. Early on it was found that proportions were not accounted for as some houses were up to 250m long. This led to some problem solving and it was not long before houses were realistic in size. Online there is a huge variety of 3d models waiting to be added to your project from the 3D warehouse. When cars were added to garages it made sizing much easier. Google Earth was used also to allow students to measure how big their own house was to give some idea.

 We were very lucky during 2011 to have an expert in the field of computer architecture to come and speak to us. Students received several tips to use in their work. In addition we (I am a student too) were shown how to make a movie that showed the whole of the house and even enabled students to walk through the interior of their house to display the inside features.

An example can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy-4KHx4Sro&feature=g-upl&context=G2622313AUAAAAAAABAA   

 Three student movies were edited together into one movie which was loaded to our class blog for the wider class community to view.  This led to an invitation from a local intermediate school for a group of students to go there to demonstrate and share the skills they had developed. This was a very successful trip for three students who ran a lesson for an accelerate year eight class in their schools ICT suite. By the end of the lesson the year 8 students were having some success and were beginning to experiment with what they had been shown.  The cycle begins again led by 3 younger students who had become the teachers.

This idea of students becoming teachers was evident long before our trip to intermediate. Often I would be approached with a question beginning with, “How do you…?” My usual response was to direct that student to someone who I knew had mastered that same task. Two students used video tutorials on the internet to assist in more advanced skills such as creating spheres. 

We had a WALT for this and assessment criteria to assist in keeping us on track. This went into our homeshare books so parents could see what was happening. On the facing page was a print out of the house from its best side. This was done in term one and then again in term four so the difference in capabilities was clear. Students were encouraged to look at how their current piece of work could be improved and incorporate these changes into their next project.


I know that all of my students enjoyed this last year. I hope that they all got something worthwhile from it that they can use in the future. Perhaps one or two might consider a career in architecture! Many possibilities exist. The houses we built can be placed on Google Earth. Many of the 3D buildings on Google Earth have been created using Sketch Up. Of course this is a next step but is one which is quite realistic for those willing to combine the skills used in both programmes.

Gaynor - Year 6 Classroom Teacher

I have received so much inspiration from IT sites that I’m delighted to give something back. We have 2 PC’s in the classroom and out of consideration for the other students, each student is only allowed to have one maths, reading or writing session per week. There is no roster because often the student rostered on, is not able to do so due to one of a variety of reasons.

I include online activities as part of my maths and written language planning. In the past I emailed each group to our class computers with the web address of the maths page I wanted them to work on for the week. They weren’t able to access the sites sometimes after repeated usage, because they used my registration. I use sites like Studyladder and Sumdog. Now each student has their own registration and I email instructions for finding the page I want them to work on. I used the data projector to demonstrate how they do this.

My professional development IT goal for 2012 is to use a data projector to support teaching and learning. My reasons for choosing this goal are:

  • to improve student engagement and enthusiasm for learning, and therefore improve learning outcomes
  • to have fun teaching my class
  • for my students to become more IT literate

Please see 'Files' at the bottom of this resource to view copies of Gaynors Planning Maths, Shared Reading and Written Language


We continue to grow and focus on ICT at Westbrook

  • Professional Development is continuing to cater for implementation of SOLO and Inquiry learning.
  • The reluctant users are now a minority and they see how well other teachers are using ICT and are choosing to integrate it more into their classroom programmes and planning.
  • Equipment has been replaced and added on a regular basis according to the planned schedule.  We now have 8 Interactive Whiteboards, 3x Visualisers, a camera in each classroom and a class set of cameras, a new streamlined printing system.  Our computer Suite runs Windows 7 Operating system and applications as do most of our classrooms.
  • Staff PD has become more complex. Staff are supported to work collaboratively in Professional Learning Groups and have input into the direction of staff PD. Staff have become more confident at solving their own IT problems.
  • Teacher’s ICT skills and confidence has increased, so have the opportunities offered to their students. Student achievement across the curriculum has been enhanced by the use of ICT technologies.



We acknowledge the value of the collaborative relationships that have been built thus far between,

  • Mentor to Teacher
  • Teacher to Teacher
  • Teacher to Student
  • Student to Student
  • Student to Teacher
  • School to School (within Cluster)
  • School to Community
  • School Globalisation (School to wider education)

 We have learnt and acknowledge the value of the integration of e-learning into our school's curriculum and it is our intention to ensure this continues. As a part of our final year in the ICTPD contract we have ensured the opportunity is timetabled for both Principal and Leads to discuss and plan strategies for sustainability of e-learning for the future.

Principal Reflects

Students Reflect


  • Tessa Gray

    Thank you for sharing you cluster story of in the VLN. It has clearly been a long journey and a rewarding one at that. There has been much to celebrate here - with many components coming together to enable staff and pupils to engage with learning through a variety of e-learning tools.

    Having embedded video reflections from teachers, students as well as the principal, shows how successful these developments have been across the learning communities. I look forward to viewing future examples of ICT integration, which include a SOLO framework for thinking and reflection.Smile