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Reflections on our inaugural student conference - Milestone 3

What was important for us and why?

Our cluster goals are:

  • Student will have opportunities to develop an understanding of what it means to be a digital citizen and to develop the skills required.
  • Students will have opportunities to collaborate with others across the cluster and beyond.

We thought about how we might bring the direct impact of the contract to student level rather than indirectly through teacher or principal action and came up with the idea of an Elearning student conference. Many of us have been involved in similar activities in a different context and believed this could have the impact we desired.

What did we do?

We ran a day where we delivered a series of workshops dedicated to exploring the way elearning tools can support learning.

Pre Conference:

  • We selected our students, thought about how we might use their learning after the conference (survey). (Available in the resources section of the group.)
  • We gathered the needs of schools (as assessed by lead teachers, collated and prioritises at LT workshop) to determine what we needed to offer in the programme.
  • Lead teachers decided to double numbers and also include middle school students. (76 children attended)
  • A programme was designed and made available for teachers to allocate students to workshops.

During the conference:

  • We ran 4 workshops (each with 18-20 kids) in each of 3 time slots.
  • Lead teachers delivered the workshops and shared supervision during breaks (1/2 of 35 mins each)
  • Kids had a ball!

Immediately after the conference:

  • We reminded teachers of the commitment to ensure the learning was retained and used.
  • Shared the survey so teachers could see other ideas of how to get maximum impact back at school.
  • Work from the day, workshop resources and photos were shared via the wiki and Flickr.

As the year progresses we will:

  • Review the conference and our lessons at the next lead teacher day.
  • Share our successes- e.g. at  Lead teacher / principal meetings, wiki, end of year celebration.
  • Review how it has impacted back at school each term and add to this story each time we do so.

What happened, as a result?

The impact on students/teachers/whanau was initially very good.

"Thank-you for a wonderful day. Our children. are simply buzzy but also a bit tired. There was no nervous excited chatter in the car coming home."

"A great event. Our kids came back buzzing. Now we need to capitalise on that!"

"I wish we had these in my day". (parent at the conference)

"I talked to one parent last night and her son was "buzzing" not a word normally associated with him." (principal)

We now need to follow up and see the immediate impact on classrooms (1 month after conference).

What have we learned? (not all learning was new to all)

  • We can tackle large projects together - if we pull together, the task is achievable for all.
  • Kids can learn very quickly with the right conditions.
  • We can use the kids to support teachers.
  • We need clear signage and to check that the right students are in the workshops.

What are our next steps?

  • To make sure we maximise the learning for the students and that they are used to grow elearning in their respective schools.
  • To date the some of the ways individual schools have done this are: to use the students to run workshops for groups of kids in their class (afternoon sessions), peer tutored in class, been given time to show others, and reported back on the conference in assemblies.
  • We also think we will: do something x-schools in one of the level teams, run an in-school conference, use the kids for part of a teacher only day on elearning, use the students to run workshops at our upcoming elearning open night.
  • We want to repeat this again and perhaps to also hold something similar for our junior students. Smaller numbers? With a big buddy? 

Who are we?

Making Connections - Linking Digitally ICTPD Cluster

Where can you find out more?

http://makingconnections-linkingdigitally.wikispaces.com

Where: The wider Wellington region

ICT-PD Cohort: 2010