Log in

Timnet cluster using moodle and eportfolios

What is important for us?

This year the emphasis is to bring together all of IT skills and ideas we have been exploring over the past 3 years and apply them in new ways to the classroom for the benefit of our students, both inside the classroom and in an online environment.

Why is this important?

Based on information from lead teachers and feedback from the PLG groups we found out that our teachers needed to have time to explore the IT applications we had been exposed to and take the time to embed these more fully into our daily teaching plans. Our teachers, who like many others, have heavy demands on their time and who encompass a wide range of abilities needed the time to develop these IT features in more detail and incorporate them into their teaching programmes.

What are we doing?

We began this year with a mini-conference day that introduced staff to both new IT skills and also allowed for advanced development in workshops we had already previously ran. We have followed this up with practicums to address areas where further skill development was required and we are running 7 PLG's across the cluster that either have a subject related or a skills related focus. Two of our main areas of focus that have encompassed both subject related PLG's and the skills related PLG's are eportfolios to provide an online forum for student work and Moodle as an online delivery system.

Here is an example of how the Languages department at Craighead Diocesan have utilised this in classroom delivery. Their language students have been able to listen to one of their teachers who is on sabbatical speak to students in France.

French use of Moodle  

Eportfolios have been developed and used in a variety of ways including: a page developed for students to record their academic progress and goals, a form class group that had a weekly update page of what was happening around the school and important things they needed to remember for that week, as a place to upload assignments that could be submitted for peer review and staff review, and as a way to have online information for staff development.



Here is the link to the Using Mahara view which is available for staff to learn from at their own pace http://portfolio.vln.school.nz/view/view.php?t=Rp4wduUSP07y28rlTaX6

Here is a link to a view that was set as a class assignment for a year 9 Science class http://portfolio.vln.school.nz/view/view.php?t=4jxU8gIRz9dEMcG3ZykA


What have we learned?

Initial concerns were that the online sites would be time consuming to set up and students would be reluctant to do anything outside of class time as well as the normal lack of access/computers.

 However we were pleasantly surprised with how eager the students are to access the information online and how much gets done outside the classroom. One teacher commented on the fact that students whom she had previously struggled to get completed homework from were now completing assignments ahead of schedule. Students were engaged with eportfolios and set up their own groups for sports teams, musical interest and others. The moodle courses allowed our students to catch up work missed through illness etc. quicker and provided language students with much needed continuity with their oral work.

Access concerns did not eventuate because students were able to access computers outside the classroom at the school library and in the computer labs during lunchtime, the town library and students own homes and because of the level of engagement they were keen to do so.

We found that some students picked skills up far quicker than others and they were used as "experts"which turned out to be a very useful way to encourage the less able students. In one of the classes we taught the skills to five students who were self nominated as IT helpers; then when we got to the computer lab with the whole class they were able to help with logons, and skill development and basically took on the role as assistants for about 4-5 students each. This meant that one teacher was not trying to solve the problems of 25 students at once.

The staff involved all learn at different rates so to help them to become confident with the eportfolio system a view was set up with how to videos (taken from youtube) so that they could work at their own pace and have support when they were away from the school. Having a PLG with a skills focus aimed at eportfolios has also helped

What are the next steps?

Next steps are to continue to develop both the moodle platform to deliver online coursework for both students and staff. One of the cluster schools is hoping to get all year 9 students this year onto eportfolios (and then next year all incoming year 9s) and run some across curricular teaching sessions to familiarise students with how to use eportfolios to build up a rich profile for each student. We are hoping that by teaching the students it will become less daunting for staff whom have not yet trialled eportfolios. The rationale is that it is easier for staff to introduce eportfolios into classroom settings if students already know how to use them.