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Integrating E-learning Effectively - Promoting Innovative Learning Practices

Year level - Primary
Cluster Type - Traditional ICT PD Cluster

Context - School progress towards achieving Goal 3

National Goal

Teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students

Cluster Goals 

  1. Teachers will plan for e-learning integration.
  2. Teachers will use Web 2.0 tools and digital resources to create exciting learning opportunities for students
  3. Teachers will carry out an ‘E-learning Teaching Inquiry' to support the of e-learning into their practice


Teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students


To build on our involvement with the EHSAS contract,  in particular the use of formative assessment and student directed conferences - with students using e-portfolios as part of this process. This also ensured that e-learning was kept in context and was an integrated part of the learning programmes.
The other part of this was to build on work carried out in previous years with the Teacher Inquiry Cycle pg 35 NZC using MyPortfolio as the tool for teachers to develop their own portfolios for professional learning and reflections, linking this to the Registered Teacher Criteria. Alongside this teachers are completing their own e-Learning Teacher Inquiry.  This is assisting with integration of e-learning into classroom programmes to enhance student outcomes.

What did we do?


  • Last year we spent time investigating e-portfolios as it was one of our cluster goals for 2010.  The facilitators investigated Knowledgenet, Ultranet, and blogging as tools for developing e-portfolios and visited schools currently using these systems in Palmerston North.
  • The facilitators also did a lot of reading around e-portfolios and attended workshops on e-portfolios at Learning@School Conferences in 2010 and 2011 and also at U Learn to get an understanding of what other schools were doing and to help make a decision as to what we think is the right choice for our schools.  
  • Nick Rate gave us valuable input based around his e-fellowship work which helped to cement the ideas we came up with.  All these ideas were shared with Principal's at their workshops and also with Lead Teachers and staff.  
  • The lead Teachers were given a reading on the Magpie Cluster Wiki and links to a Google Wave that we started for the Principals and lead Teachers to share their ideas. 
  • It was decided in 2011 as part of the contract we would trial e-portfolios with some classes in some schools and all lead teachers and principals would develop an e-portfolio using MyPortfolio as the tool in order for teachers and Principals to understand the rationale behind using a digital portfolio.

 Lead teachers are making good progress with their e-portfolios at this stage and the enthusiasm and interest is starting to come from teachers in their own schools as well.

What happened?


  • In February 2011 we invited Carolyn Stuart to present a workshop to the Principals and Lead Teachers.  
  • The expectation was that all Lead Teachers and Principals would use MyPortfolio to record and reflect on their professional learning.  
  • Currently all lead teachers and some principals are keeping an e-portfolio and other staff members in schools have become interested in using MyPortfolio for their reflections, as a result of this.
  • With the new Teacher Professional Standards Criteria being implemented some teachers have begun to investigate how they can link up both aspects of their professional learning.
  • Some schools in the cluster decided to trial e-portfolios with students to establish a model and best practice example for other teachers to follow next year.

Student e-Portfolios
Frimley Example:


  • Frimley have begun a trial year of student e-portfolios with 1 Year 6 class and 1 Year4/5 class with the view to extending it next year(2012). We investigated commercial software to provide e-portfolios for the students along with Blogs and Wikis but decided on using Google Apps for Education because of its cloud based applications. The students can transfer their learning to other schools and later tertiary if they want. Frimley are using Google Apps for Education, school wide, and the two trial classes are using Teacher Dashboard to monitor student files and folders.
  • The two trial classes are using Google Sites to create their e-portfolios. We have had a Parent Information evening for the parents of these 2 classes and all parents have been given instruction by their children as to how their portfolio works. 
  • Feedback from the parents has been very favourable. One teacher's feedback after the evening.

"I asked the children of the parents that came along and most of them wanted to look at their child's Google Site(e-portfolio) when they got home. They also told their children that they enjoyed the meeting and liked the idea very much about being able to see their child's work anytime or being emailed anytime.

Parkvale Example:
At Parkvale we liked the idea of having a bit of choice of how children's work was presented, but had not gone down the path of using google apps.  


  • Three senior classes are trialing e-portfolios using Powerpoint.  The teachers involved are finding that e-learning is more purposeful as it is directly integrated into classroom programmes.
  • The children are motivated and at recent parent conferences the children were able to showcase their learning and discuss their next steps confidently.  Classroom blogs support children's e-portfolios and are providing the home link to children's learning.
  • After researching different forms of e-portfolios we have decided to become a GoogleApps school and hope to use Google Apps and Teacher Dashboard to become our preferred e-portfolio for children in the future. This will help to provide the missing link of feedback and feed forward that is missing with using Powerpoint.  Although the children do receive feedback and feedforward it is easier and more integral to the Google Apps tools.  
  • Accessibility and server space are the other two issues that will be overcome with using Google Apps.

Teacher Feedback
"Portfolios in Room 17 are highly motivating for the children to learn new ICT skills while reflecting on their learning in  literacy and numeracy. Children have inserted photos of their maths and given strategies of how they solved equations, explained reading strategies they have used and presented pieces of writing in many different ways.
The children were super keen to show their parents at interviews and gave a quick over view of our learning for the term. I have been descriptive about what the children need to have in their portfolio but aim to have children choosing work they wish to showcase. Children love to look at other children's portfolios and this has meant they are learning from their thinking in literacy and numeracy as well as learning new ICT skills. The ICT skills of my class have risen considerably as children are beginning to problem solve and realise the same commands work on most programs eg. Copy and paste.

Next steps are that I would like the children to be able to work on their portfolios at home and show their parents so they can talk about their learning and what has gone into their portfolio. Also I am worried the file is going to get to big- so maybe we will do a portfolio each half of the year. "

We have a variety of formats being used including powerpoint, wikis and google apps with the teacher dashboard.

Havelock North
At Havelock North, "Beacon" classes have been established.  These classrooms have been set up with necessary infrastructure and equipment for integrating e-learning.  Teachers in these classes are modeling e-learning practice to other teachers in the school to help develop the integration of e-learning school wide.

  • Wikis and Blogs have been established in the Beacon classes and are used as "e-portfolios" to showcase children's work and to provide the link to home and school. 
  • Beacon classroom blog and wikis contain evidence of children's learning. Beacon classes are:

K4: http://k42011.wikispaces.com/Madeleine Students in K4 have been learning to use wikis to share and create their work. The students created vokis that share their writing with a writing buddy. The writing buddy gives them feedback on their work. At the moment most buddies are just giving feedback using the IALT. The next step will be for the buddy to give feed forward.
Room 4: http://room4-2011.wikispaces.com/Taylar Example of sharing art using Pacasso Head
Room 12: http://yearfivesix2011.wikispaces.com/Harriet Example of writing on the wiki
Room 1b: http://room1blearning2011.blogspot.com/ Example of an ongoing cabbage science experiment. Discussion using voicethread

Teacher e-Portfolios with My Portfolio

  • As a result of Lead Teachers and Principals leading the way with MyPortfolio the interest throughout staff in other schools has grown and many other staff members have been keen to get on board with MyPortfolio, as they see it as a way of recording their professional learning and reflections.
  •  Lead Teachers and e-Learning team members have created interest by demonstrating ways in which MyPortfolio can support evidence for Teacher Registration Criteria and collation of professional learning.
  • Cluster Workshops have been provided to cater for the interest and needs in My Portfolio.

Examples of Teacher's Portfolios
If you would like to see an example of what our teachers have achieved with their MyPortfolio e-portfolios, please feel free to contact the Magpie Cluster Facilitators.

Teacher Voice:
‘I don't use a plan book, I use My Portfolio. It's a bit like a planner/diary because we can "plan" all we like and then busy-school-reality intervenes and things change! So as a way of keeping track of what we think we might do and the direction we end up going, My Portfolio let's me write up our plans and track how we're going. I've sometimes added comments about techie problems and server issues as a reminder of why we didn't get something done when we had planned to.  When I share the pages with teachers, they can add their comments and share next steps they would like to take.
For me, I have a Lead Teacher page which has so far been used for notes from LT days and a place to put any relevant links, files for sharing etc. I also have a page for each of the extension groups I take for planning and tracking. These pages are also shared with the teachers of the children involved so they can see what we are doing and comment/interact as desired.'

‘I find MyPortfolio great for organising all those loose bits of paper and notes from Professional development sessions. Its a way of keeping everything altogether in one place with the opportunity to add on and reflect at any time. At present I am looking at ways to link my current pages onto another page that will link to Teacher Registration Criteria for ongoing evidence.'

What did we learn?

  • That a great deal of reading, research, thinking and talking, clarifying your purpose for the use of e-portfolios is required before schools can make an informed decision about how and when to introduce e-portfolios across the school. The time spent last year investigating this whole process was invaluable.
  • Parents / BOT's / teachers need to be educated in the use of E-portfolios and what they can provide in comparison with traditional paper portfolios.
  • Teachers need to be given time to upskill
  • Necessary infrastructure and equipment needs to be in place.

Next Steps:

  • Continue to develop the content and process for each students e-portfolio throughout the year, evaluating its effectiveness on a regular basis.
  • A review of the trial year at Frimley and Parkvale using the various tools to implement e-portfolios will be essential to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of student engagement, usefulness as an assessment tool, as a vehicle for showcase, reflection and accountability.
  • Continue to support Lead Teachers with the development of their E-portfolios through the Lead Teacher meetings and encourage professional dialogue around the use of these.
  • Run Cluster Workshops on the use of MyPortfolio for Teacher Professional learning Portfolios
  • Teacher's E-learning Inquiry will be carried out by each teacher in the cluster during Terms 2 and 3 and reported on in Milestone 4 at the end of the year.
  • Mayfair School - the Lead Teacher is using MyPortfolio as a pre-curser to introducing the idea of an electronic portfolio to the rest of the staff. She has stated that she needs to have a clear idea in her head about how a digital portfolio works before her staff will take those ideas on board. The use of e-portfolios for the students will be at least 2 years away, if they decide to go that way.
  • Mahora School - are currently exploring the use of wikis as a form of starting the digital portfolio process. The senior team, under the direction of the Lead Teacher, are developing class wikis. The students all have pages off the class wiki page and the thinking is that this process will be extended to individual student wikis once the students have a grasp of working in their own online space.

Additional Resources:
Check out these sites for ideas on what to include in an e-portfolio
http://electronicportfolios.org/   - Helen Barrett's blog on e-portfolios
http://sites.google.com/site/eportfolioapps/ - ePortfolios with Google Apps
http://sites.google.com/site/eportfolioapps/overview/levels - Levels of adoption eg. showcase, process
http://nickrate.com/2010/12/13/dimensions-and-dashboards/ -Nick's eLearning Infusion page
http://www.core-ed.org/breakfasts/breakfast-seminar-nick-rate-eportfolios - Nick's presentation
http://eportfolios.wikispaces.com/how-to - Using Wikispaces to create an e-portfolio
http://room17voices.wikispaces.com/e-Portfolios - the debate over what to use. A school persepective
http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-stories/School-stories/Red-Beach-School-Eportfolios/Students-perspectives - E-portfolios at Red beach School
Another type of e-portfolio which can be used with Google Apps:

Class Blogs and Wikis across the Cluster:
MagpieICTCluster Wiki