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Summary of reflections May and November 2011

Milestone 3/4, 2011

 

After discussion with the National Facilitator, we decided to add our end of year reflection to the resource published in May 2011.  We believe we have an ongoing story to reflect upon and in this way we can keep it in context.

So throughout this summary,

*Update: November 2011*

will indicate the reflection continues...


 

Year level:

Year 2 of 2010-2012 cluster

Cluster type:

Regional Cluster

Context:

The Manaiakalani Project is the education plan for a multi-agency long term government project to renew the larger area of Tamaki in Auckland. The Tamaki Transformation Project is looking for innovative approaches from all sectors to renewing New Zealand's oldest state housing community. This includes housing, health, social services, police etc.


 

Research model used:

The first stage of research, 2008 - 2010 lent itself to a longitudinal study of trends over the three year period using a mixed mode of inquiry (qualitative and quantitative) methods. The methodology used was field research or ethnography using “participant observation research”. From 2011 as we enter the second stage we will now be using a developmental evaluation model.  Colleen Gleeson continues as the primary evaluator, supervised by Stuart McNaughton and Mei Lai from Auckland University.

*Update: November 2011*

The draft report on term 3 classroom observations has been tabled

https://docs.google.com/a/ptengland.school.nz/document/d/1KsbTXQWcqfI7DYMgY_xgDHoZikKFJS_Td8gEjavMc0k/edit?hl=en_GB

and the final report for 2011 will be tabled when the November round of testing has been completed and the data analyzed.


 

Intentions

In the first half of 2011 in 6 schools there are 17 classes with 1:1 devices (approximately 550 students), In August a further 4 classes and another school will be added.

The specific aims of the project are to measurably raise the student achievement outcomes in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing and to measurably raise student engagement. The key objective is to empower the students with an evidence based belief that their personal voice is valuable, powerful and can be heard around the planet from their decile 1A community and that they can learn ‘Anywhere, Anytime and Anyplace’.

The project addresses an urgent need to meaningfully and measurably integrate e-Learning with Schooling Improvement and sees students receiving the precise, direct instruction and micro-teaching that they need in order to engage with learning, then having the opportunity to practice, produce, present and publish in the media in which they enjoy significant success.

It is therefore the aim of the evaluation to determine the extent of impact the Project has on teaching, learning and engagement, and to provide ideas and considerations for future development and research in this field. The evaluation will focus on student achievement in Literacy, including reading, writing, speaking and presenting and also on student engagement.  

*Update: November 2011*

In Term 3 two classes of year 5/6 students at Panmure Bridge School joined us, one class of year 7 students at Tamaki Intermediate was added and two year 9 classes at Tamaki College.


 

Interventions

The development of an appropriate pedagogy to achieve these goals has been the work of this cluster since mid 2007, and over the course of a 3 year period we have co-constructed and embedded an approach to literacy through the literacy cycle which has been evaluated by research and proven to be successful. However, from early 2010 is became apparent that for this approach to truly make a difference to all our students they needed more access to technology. As a decile 1a cluster we were aware that this access could not  be provided equitably by the whanau of our students and so we ran a grave risk of these fragile learners being unable to access this 21st century solution to their learning needs. The cluster project director, in partnership with the Tamaki Transformation Programme and multiple agencies and stakeholders began exploring an audacious intervention which would see every student from Year 5-13 in our cluster owning a personal digital device of their own and being able to access the internet free from their own home. This intervention included a free cloud solution for every student - to become their set of 'books'. Along side this the facilitator began working with lead teachers to prepare to implement this new pedagogy, now simplified to "Learn. Create. Share.", in a 1:1 environment.

*Update: November 2011*

Our pilot classes this year have ranged from years 5-10, and the initial success experienced in the first half of the year led to five more classes opting into the pilot in mid year.  We have been fortunate to have a second facilitator, Sarah Gleeson, working closely with the primary school (year 5-8) classes this year.  This has given the teachers regular, time-tabled, in-class support as they gained confidence working in a 1:1 environment. The pilot teachers have discovered the most successful way to manage the learning environment was by creating a class Google Site and these have been a work in progress this year. A Year 6 example.  A college Science example.


 

Cloud Solution

Google Apps for Education was chosen as a free web based solution to manage the students' learning.  We worked in partnership with Hapara to develop the Teacher Dashboard which would enable a classroom teacher through a single sign on process to have all the student work displayed in Tabs on one page, and the ability to drill further down into the work without needing further authentication.

*Update: November 2011*

The Teacher Dashboard has evolved rapidly during the year with Hapara responding to requests for more and more features.  Developments appreciated by cluster teachers and management have included:

  • Adding Blogger, Picasa, GMail and Sites to the Dashboard
  • The class teacher being able to add or remove students from the class
  • The class teacher being able to reset passwords
  • Feedback from and to Hapara accessible by all teachers

We created a movie we uploaded to YouTube during the year to explain how we are using the Teacher Dashboard

The interest from other schools has been such that our teachers and facilitators have presented to groups of educators locally and as far afield as Sydney, Philadelphia, Ohio and Minesotta USA


 

Student Device

Many devices were explored by a student committee and members of the cluster and eventually, due to design features and price point, we settled on the Asus eee PC netback.

A major point of difference was that we bought it nude and embraced the OSS community philosophy.  A group of volunteers meet every week in the evenings to work on designing an Ubuntu image which would be appropriate for the needs of the Manaiakalani students. This image resides on a USB stick and a team of student technicians have been trained to image the notebooks and repair software faults.

*Update: November 2011*

The hackers group has continued to meet fortnightly throughout the year to work on and challenge the design of the operating system. Nevyn Hira, one of the design engineers, volunteered his time at the beginning of the year to support the schools as they implemented the netbooks. During the year Pt England School has been able to employ him and share his expertise with the cluster schools.

Reorders of the netbooks during the year have given opportunity to investigate other options coming to the market, but to date nothing has superseded the price point, functionality and specs of the ASUS eel PC so we have placed a large order this week for our 2012 students.


 

Wireless

Making the school internet available to our cluster students at night over a wide area network was the challenge for enabling free internet access at home.  This was piloted by Fusion Networks and the decision was made to go ahead and build a WAN for the entire Tamaki Community - a geographical area of 3km x 2km.

*Update: November 2011*

Our funds have enabled 25% of the WAN to be built and 17 classes of students are taking their netbooks home at night and those who live in the 25% are successfully using the schools' internet at home.  They have a PSK (pre shared key) which enables them to access the Tamaki Learning Network wireless and are protected by the same firewall settings as they have at school during the weekday. The rest of the students are desperate for the wireless build to reach their home!  These students who don't have wireless at home can be seen perched on benches outside school on the weekends, outside McDonalds using the free wireless or walking to parts of the neighbourhood where the TLN is known to be working.

Internally our schools have learnt a lot about wireless this year, including, whatever the experts say you need - add a bit more!  Whether it is the number of APs, the amount of data or the speed of the bandwidth - more is better.


 

Establishing a Trust

Towards the end of 2010 it became apparent that the cluster needed a Trust to anchor the leases on the student devices and to own the community wireless (WAN).  Pat Sneddon agreed to be the establishing chairman of the Manaiakalani Education Trust with Simpson Greerson partnering with us pro bono to create the legal entity.

*Update: November 2011*

The Manaiakalani Education Trust (MET) has met at least monthly this year, with some of the members volunteering one day per week to the work of the Trust.  They have contributed significantly to the project and successfully applied to Te Puni Kokiri to partner with us on a large piece of work around whanau engagement.  This will see us employing two full time employees (local people) to work with whanau members and up to 20 tertiary students (local people mostly) who will work for one day a week in our schools as teacher aides in the Manaiakalani project.

The MET have worked with Crown Fibre holdings to access UFB for 4 of our schools by July 2012, and that will give us enough capacity to share with the other 3 schools and provide the backhaul for the community wireless.


 

Impact on students/teachers/whanau

In the first 5 months of this year:

  • We have provisioned 550 notebooks to pilot classes of students from Year 5-10
  • Student technicians have imaged every one of those netbooks and are continuing to maintain them
  • Every parent in the cluster has paid the $40 deposit and entered into a direct debit arrangement to pay off the netbook at $15/month over 3 years
  • Equico have brokered the lease on our behalf and provided the guarantee for the first round of notebooks
  • All the notebooks are used daily in classes using the schools' wireless LAN
  • The community wireless WAN has the first 25% of the build functioning and the first students are taking their netbooks home at night.
  • Every student has their own Google Apps for Education account and is successfully learning in that environment.
  • Every teacher has a Teacher Dashboard and is able to view, monitor and access all student work created in Google Apps - including email and blogs.
  • Teachers are developing and sharing their teaching approaches in this new environment, with most using a Google Site to direct student "learning", most using classroom multimedia machines (including cameras etc) for the students to "create", and most using student blogs as the online space to "share"
  • Student engagement and ontask behaviour is at an all time high
  • Teachers are feeding back that students are accomplishing twice the amount of work in half the time and a new level of work and expectation is in place

    *Update: November 2011*

  • We have provisioned 700 netbooks to pilot classes of students from Year 5-10
  • Parents in the cluster are continuing to pay back the netbooks at $15/mth. Default payments appear to be about 10%
  • Equico have brokered the subsequent leases during the year and have agreed to do so for the 2012 order recently placed
  • All the netbooks are used continually in classes using the schools' wireless LAN
  • The community wireless WAN has the first 25% of the build functioning and the 17 classes of students are taking their netbooks home at night.
  • Teachers are using Google Sites more consistently now as their teaching environment
  • Student engagement continues to be high and students are becoming increasingly responsible for their netbook eg a reluctance to hand one in for warrantee repairs and 'making do' with a missing key eg seldom leaving them at home as they know they will be back to pencil and paper without it!
  • Data coming in from asTTle testing underway this month indicates that despite 'losing' a term of 'work' settling in to the new 1:1 learning environment, students are achieving at least as well as the year before.

Links to your actual reflection

Our Lead Teachers  all complete extensive reflections using Google docs which are only shared with the Researcher.  Summaries of these can be read in the research documents.

The netbook rollout

Feedback and reflections from the netbook class teachers

Reflections from St Pius X  - via Sarah Gleeson

Links to classroom practice

Student Feedback

Links to student Blogs and here

Links to Teacher Google Sites and a class example Year 4/5 and College

*Update: November 2011*

Link to Parent Hui around the 'Kawa of Care' for student netbooks

This movie gives a short overview of how we use various screens to engage our students in literacy.

SPX Rollout Day from Sarah Gleeson on Vimeo.

Manaiakalani

Manaiakalani

Growing the mindware as we transform Tamaki: living local, learning global.