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ICT2LRN Reflective Summary 3

ICT2LRN is a cluster of 10 full primary and contributing schools in the wider Invercargill and Winton areas, in the 2nd year of the ICTPD project.

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Cluster Goals:

The ICT2LRN goals are focussed on the 5 national goals: to use eLearning to give effect to the New Zealand Curriculum / Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

Our cluster also emphasised the development of ICT integration through the classroom inquiry teaching and learning model.

Interventions – what we did:

We implemented and began a teacher inquiry model for all teachers.  Teachers were able to select their own inquiry focus based on their own eLearning development and their students’ needs. 

-   Example of Principal Inquiry, “Developing school wide eLearning pedagogy”

-   Example of Teacher Inquiry, “Building student independence and initiative skills”

 

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Teacher Inquiry Model Image Link

 

This model was used to illustrated each stage of the teacher inquiry model for our staff.  For most of us this was the first time we had used the T.I. process.  It has helped to guide us through each stage and focus our reflections and thoughts, especially in the early planning stages of our inquiries.

 

The cluster provided support and facilitation for the teacher inquiry process through, pod meetings (where we met with teachers who taught similar aged students) from across the schools and also an ‘epal’ classroom visit.  Epals are two teachers who will meet together and share their inquiry progress through the year.

 

These visits, of around an hour in each others classrooms, allowed teachers to connect and reflect together on their inquiry process.  The cluster also facilitated a teach meet after school for teachers to participate in workshops which gave them further strategies to meet their own inquiry focus. 

 

The diagram below shows how the cluster was arranged into ‘sub clusters’ that then split into pods and epals.  Each pod consisted of teachers from across the sub cluster schools and led by an ICT lead teacher.

 

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Teacher Inquiry posts on Cluster Blog

TeachMeet evidence

Cluster Staff Meetings evidence

 

Each school has its own action plan that was developed by the individual Principal and lead teachers.  Release time was given to Lead Teachers to develop a variety of initiatives that would meet the local school needs.  These included the purchasing of new hardware, development of cyber safety agreements and the review and redevelopment of school websites and intranet systems.  Leads also worked with the facilitator on developing strategies that would assist teachers with their Teacher Inquiries.  This was often one to one with the facilitator and the teacher or alternatively working with  the leads to run their own ‘etips’ sessions or staff meetings that would resource the teachers for their inquiries.

Facilitator working with the leads –

 

Facilitator working with staff to assist action plan goals  

      - Using Skype in the classroom (a strategy to assist with meeting a Teacher Inquiry focus)

 

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The cluster also ran a Teacher Only Day and a Principal / Lead Teacher evening with Kath Murdoch.  Schools reviewed their own inquiry curriculum integration and development.  They also explored a variety of eLearning strategies that could enhance their inquiry teaching and learning. 

 

Key ideas developed as a result of these days were

  • incorporating an assessment suite of strategies to accurately measure student progress during an inquiry.
  • Developing a school wide ‘shared language’ around each school’s inquiry model
  • Embeding the explicit teaching of ‘inquiry skills’ into teaching and learning – linked with Key Competencies.

Kath Murdoch Event – Blog links

 

Intentions – why we did this:

The cluster review of 2010 revealed that the majority of schools had experienced and developed expertise in a wide range of eLearning and ICT tools.  The cluster Principals decided to target the cluster PD going forward for each individual school and teachers needs.  It was felt that the teacher inquiry process would help schools and teachers differentiate their own development.

The Kath Murdoch sessions were part of the clusters overall aims to further develop the inquiry learning model in our schools.  Our aim was also to enhance our inquiry delivery through the integration of ICT and eLearning pedagogies.

 

Impact on students/teachers/whanau

 

Teacher reflections noted the improved student outcomes as a direct result of the strategies used by teachers in their Teacher Inquiries.  Because the inquiries are focussed on the needs of the students and are many varied, so too are the strategies being used.  Some examples are;

  • the use of blogs as reflective tools and for reluctant writers
  • skype to connect with a wider audience and develop questioning skills
  • using online sites linked through a blog to develop a basic facts programme for numeracy

 

Teachers and Principals are reporting an increased use of ICT tools in their daily delivery and increased student engagement as a result. 

Teacher Reflection 1

Teacher Reflection 2

 

Each teacher is required to reflect once a term on their teacher inquiry progress.  Some have started professional blogs and are starting to connect with each other, both in and out of cluster initiatives, eg. On twitter, in blog comments and through the use of RSS readers. 

 

Schools are also reviewing and implementing their cyber safety and internet policies school wide.  As a result of schools reintroducing these changes, some are noting the need for further community engagement around informing parents about the benefits of eLearning for their children.  Schools are in the process of planning a range of initiatives to inform and connect with their communities.  They are intending to run workshops, parents meetings, newsletters and other initiatives to do this in the future.  This development directly links to the Teacher Inquiries being developed by many of the Cluster Principals.  Many have identified the need to engage with their communities from the results of our cluster survey and as a strategy to develop the understanding of the need for eLearning practices within their schools.

 

 

Next Steps

Most schools have decided to continue with the Teacher Inquiry process, for the rest of the year, as part of their newly formed Sub-Cluster action plans.  This has been dependent on whether they saw it’s benefit for their staff in meeting their overall school goals within the cluster.