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Reflective Summary

e-Wrapper RS

What was important for us?

To develop and implement an e-learning inquiry plan with a focus on integrating ICT into the regular learning programmes and into our school student management system

What did we do?

Appraisal goals

This year all teachers in the cluster have an e-goal for their school appraisal. Teachers are required to engage in professional inquiry, looking at how they can use e-learning to enhance student achievement. Part of the professional inquiry is for teachers to make regular reflections about their own e-learning, and to share these with others. All schools have set up frameworks for these reflections and opportunities for teacher observations and discussions. By setting aside specific times for this, teachers have been able to reflect on their own practice and how it is impacting their students learning.

What happened, as a result?

LMS (Learning Management System)

Schools in the cluster are beginning to use an LMS to involve parents more in their child's learning. Teachers and school leaders are currently undergoing, or are about to start Professional Development, in the use of their selected LMS. The use of an LMS is hoped to have a huge impact on the involvement of teachers and parents in the student's learning. Implementing the use of the LMS is going to be an ongoing and scaffolded process that requires selecting the right personnel, and providing adequate support and training opportunities. By doing this the use of the LMS will be most successful in involving both the staff and parents, and will provide more learning opportunities for the children. We feel this has huge potential for building on our current online presence.

Home / school partnership- BLOGS, WIKIS, WEBSITES

All schools have a school website to provide links to learning areas such as class Blogs, Wikis and websites. All classes throughout the cluster have a blog, wiki or website either operating or currently being set up. Schools are trialling different ways of encouraging parental involvement and up skilling parents, such as information sessions, inclusion of links on newsletters and "how to" sheets sent home. Teachers are more conscious of the benefits of communicating and sharing the children's learning journey with parents. By attending workshops at their own schools and sharing time at e-team leader sessions, the teachers are becoming more confident and eager to be both e-learners and involve their students and parents through e-learning.  

Cybersafety/Digital Citizenship

The e-lead teachers and principals from each school attended external Professional Development with a focus on Digital Citizenship. This was facilitated by Andrew Churches. Each school has developed a set of "behaviours" for their junior and senior pupils. The shift in our thinking for each school is to now move away from using a set of cyber safety rules, to teaching the children to be responsible digital citizens. This is a focus area identified by the cluster for 2011. The school e-teams will now have the task of refining these "behaviours", introducing them to staff and rolling out programmes across their schools. All e-team members in the cluster have enrolled both themselves and trial classes, on the "Superclubs Plus" Digital Citizenship programme. After a trial period each school will evaluate the effectiveness of this programme. They will evaluate the impact it has on students learning to be responsible citizens in an online environment. This programme is also being used to up skill staff understanding of "digital citizenship". From our PD so far, we have learned that before we can help children understand digital citizenship, we must first clarify this concept with our staff. This will then allow teachers to help their children understand their rights and responsibilities in the online world. Schools will involve all their staff and students (6 yrs+) in the programme during the latter part of the year. 

Online Programmes

All schools in the cluster are using the online programme "Mathletics" as part of their teaching programme. "Mathletics" is proving to be very popular with the students, and teachers are noticing the high level of involvement from students who are less engaged in other areas of the curriculum. Many children are accessing this programme at home, and schools are consciously providing extra opportunities for those without home computers to have access. Regular progress results show a definite improvement in the children's maths basic facts knowledge/speed and understanding in strand maths. Several schools in the cluster are providing full or partial subsidies for all their students as they feel it is very beneficial for the students learning. Teachers are seeing the value and are including Mathletics in their daily programme. The cluster is providing advanced Mathletics workshops for teachers at our mini conference in July.

What have we learned?

As a cluster we have learned that the time spent up skilling teachers over the last 18months has been an important part of the process. Before the teachers could be expected to help the children become more confident and capable digital citizens they needed to feel more enabled themselves. The staff development both from external and internal facilitators enabled teachers to access dedicated time in their already busy schedules for professional development to take place. We now all have many teachers within our school setting that can provide e-learning support to each other.

The process of getting parents to become part of their child's learning in an online scenario is challenging and schools will need to continue thinking of creative ways to do this. Using the cluster as a sounding board for implementation ideas will continue to be useful.

This year all teachers in the cluster have a better understanding about their personal e-goals. It was initially difficult for teachers to establish quality goals when they "didn't know, what they didn't know".  The expectation of all teachers to participate in the e-learning PD has enabled greater movement from the staff.

What are our next steps?

As a cluster our next steps are to build on and utilize the e-capabilties of our teachers, to embed e-learning into their everyday classroom programmes. We will be working towards developing school use of a selected LMS system,  initially by the teachers and students and then the parents.  

We will also be moving towards utilizing the skills of staff across the cluster to lead professional development and build on sustainibilty.