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A Reflective Summary: Engaging, Creating, Interacting through eLearning

The context

The Te Apiti ICT Cluster is comprised of six Manawatu schools (four of which are Y 1 - 8) and 105 teachers.  We are in our second year and have a 2011 focus on ‘creativity'.

The focus

The Te Apiti ICT Cluster's initiatives and progress in developing:

  • Successful digital citizens (teachers and students)
  • eLearning leadership
  • Innovative and exciting learning environment for all students through eLearning integration
  • Family and whanau's use of online environments to actively participate in their child's learning

The rationale

Our theme during 2011 is ‘creativity' and our goal is to motivate and empower teachers to use ICTs and eLearning creatively to engage students in authentic learning experiences.  The challenge to engage, create and interacte through eLearning is woven through all our cluster activities and drives the pursuit of achieving our goals.

  • Acknowledging that it's not the teacher, it's not even the technology - it's the methods used that make a difference in teaching and learning, we want to lead, teach and learn together, using current research (e.g. Best Evidence Synthesis) and by supporting a range of purposeful activities. 
  • It is important for our teachers to use strategies and tools that are relevant and engage students in thinking and learning processes
  • Students are developing understandings about information literacy and use eLearning as an integral part of their information and knowledge gathering and sharing.
  • While we have some cluster-wide initiatives, sustainability beyond the three years of the ICT PD contract is important and our schools need to develop initiatives and provide leadership opportunities that meet their own needs.

What did we do?

Te Apiti ICT Cluster initiatives and events 2011
(Click to enlarge)


 What happened?

Our vision and goal for 2011 is to weave the four national goals into a successful model for teaching, learning and participating, which will facilitate change and lay the foundations for long-term sustainability. 

  • Each school's 2011 school elearning action plan focusing on the national goals has kept everyone on track and expedited the process.
  • During 2011 schools have been encouraged to take aspects of our 2010 programme (e.g. eSkills workshops) and adopt/adapt them to suit their teachers. This has led to the development of eSnaps (Roslyn School), Techie Breckies (Ashhurst), ICT Time (North Street).  These meet the needs of the teachers in the school and foster an atmosphere of collegial discussion and problem solving.
  • Leaders are learning more about leadership strategies and thinking about how they can provide elearning leadership and support in their school.  As a result, teacher elearning mentoring is more purposeful and practice enriched (Principals' Management Meetings, ICT Lead Teacher leadership workshops). 
  • Teachers are given opportunities to collaborate and share and are more aware of the teaching as Inquiry cycle, successful digital citizenship and elearning practices.  (Te Apiti website, eShare Sessions, Manawatu Digi Awards)
  • New ways to provide families with opportunities to actively participate in their child's learning are being discussed and implemented (blogs, eFolios, news site, texting).

What are our next steps?

To continue to promote a culture where we value and further develop our cluster goals.  Opportunities will be provided to promote and facilitate this:

  • Leaders trip to Wellington (visiting Muritai and Brooklyn Schools) on 2 June
  • Professional Learning Day 7 June with guest speakers Derek Wenmoth and Mark Osborne 
  • Teaching as Inquiry mentoring and team discussion
  • eShare Sessions - refine these to include specific discussion and collaboration
  • To promote our focus on ‘creativity' and develop students elearning skills through the Manawatu Digi Awards
  • To continue to evolve as a cluster and to meet the needs of individual schools, principals are already discussing the cluster goals, model and a possible programme for 2012.  

Supporting Professional Reflections

Development of digital citizenship - An outline of Te Apiti Cluster initiatives for developing students digital citizenship.  (National and cluster goal 1)
Halcombe School's ICT Conference - A summary about a successful ICT conference led by and for Halcombe students. (National and cluster goals 1 and 2)
North Street School's Techsperts - Outlining the 'Techspert' programme where selected students learn new skills with the ICT Lead Teacher and then share their new learning with teachers and students in classrooms. (National and cluster goals 1 and 2)
Strong leadership of elearning - An outline of leadership initiatives across the cluster and within each cluster school. (National and cluster goal 2.)
Teaching and eLearning - An outline showing ways we are developing teachers and students abilities to use ICTs capably, creatively and considerately within authentic learning experiences (National and cluster goal 3.)
Ashhurst school's Techie Breckies - Collegial sharing of skills and ideas, which introduce teachers to new classroom elearning practices. (National and cluster goal 3.)
Riverdale School's in-class support - Classroom elearning modelling and ICT Lead Teacher mentoring has empowered Junior School teachers at Riverdale School. (National and cluster goals 2 and 3.)
Roslyn School's eSnaps - Participating in weekly eSnaps workshops is increasing teachers' elearning skills and  developing leadership at Roslyn School.  (National and cluster goal 2 and 3.)
Families actively participating in eLearning - A summary showing ways that the families and whanau of Te Apiti Cluster schools are participating in and celebrating eLearning . (National and cluster goal 4.)
Russell Street School's online newsletter - Changing from a paper copy school newsletter to sharing news and events in an online environment.  (National and cluster goal 4)