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St Martins School - Milestone 5 Reflective Summary

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Managing and integrating Mobile Technology within our teaching and learning programmes.


Background and context:

St Martins School is a large full primary school situated at the Christchurch suburb of St Martins. We have led the 4C the Future ICT PD Cluster for the past 2 years. We are currently in the last year of our contact.

St Martins School is a large full primary school situated at the Christchurch suburb of St Martins. We have led the 4C the Future ICT PD Cluster for the past 2 years. We are currently in the last year of our contact.

Aims and purpose:

Our overall aim is to embed technology within our teaching and learning programmes that allow us as a school to provide for our students anytime anywhere learning opportunities.

As a result our professional learning programme has included the research question of "How could the use of mobile technology enhance learner engagement and achievement?  (We use the term 'learner' to refer to both other teachers and students.) From this question we also developed a range of sub questions that needed answering:

1. What type of mobile technology is available?  What infrastructure would we need to support such technology?

2. How could this technology be used to achieve our aims of anytime anywhere learning?

3. What type of apps are out there they would be of benefit for our teaching and learning programmes (focus: numeracy and literacy)?

4. How would we manage this technology effectively, efficiently and safety? (Dovetailed into the schools digital citizenship development)

5. What would our teachers need to know to become effective users and teachers of /with this technology? Who could provide our school with professional learning programmes?

6. How would we know that we are making a difference? (Capturing teacher, student and community voice.)

 

Methods, interventions and actions:

We began our journey with the realisation that we had a very long way to go to life our vision of anytime, anywhere learning.

a) What mobile technology was out there?  What infrastructure would we need?

We first carried out online research to see what was out there. We are an APPLE school and decided to start there... we looked at what iPads and iPod touches could offer us. Then we widened our search to look at other mobile android devices. As a result we decided that APPLE devices met our requirements - easy to use, wide range of applications, easy to include into our currently infrastructure, safe apps environment and most importantly offered us the ability to provide anytime anywhere learning opportunities for our learners.

 

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To achieve our goals we also recognised quickly that we would need to complete a major overhaul of our school network and wireless access.

b) Researching how other schools and organisations had to say about mobile technology. 

Next, as a school, we decided to visit a number of schools who where using mobile technology successfully with similar goals as our school. Initially we visited school within the Canterbury region. Then we made contact with a private facilitator, Stuart Hale, who had provided ICT workshops for our school in the past. He is a recognised APPLE educator and was currently working with a group of Auckland schools on the use of mobile technology. We also looked further afield, Australia, and visited a number school in Sydney and Melbourne.

During our Auckland trip we where also very fortunate to visit APPLE NZ and here the latest info on how iPads and iPods could be used within schools.

The benefits of exploring other schools journeys were great. We learnt that:

  • Technology in it self does not improve student learning… all schools had developed a strong pedagogical understanding of teaching and learning through a range of different professional learning opportunities.
  • That it is important to develop a school curriculum that supports the integration and use of mobile technology.
  • Apps that support your schools learning programme.
  • For successful integration of mobile technology you must provide ease of access for all (This includes infrastructure, management of devices, devices, organisation of devices and technical support).
  • Ongoing regular professional learning opportunities for teachers.
  • Communication and education of your school community.

Some of the Canterbury and Auckland schools we visited include:

  • Bucklands Beach
  • Summerland
  • Point England
  • Kaiapoi Borough
  • Clearview
  • Selwyn Ridge
  • Rototuna
  • Mission Heights
  • Te Akau Ki Papamoa

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c) Development of our infrastructure

We recognised very early on that to achieve anytime anywhere learning we would need to invest in a major upgrade of our network and wireless infrastructure. We had experts come into our school and audit and develop solutions so we could meet our overall goals.  The next step was to allocate and raise funds to achieve our goals.

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d) Professional Learning to support teaching and learning programmes

At this point we had the infrastructure and devices. Now what? We did have a small number of staff who where already proficient at using mobile technologies. From this group we developed a team that would start looking at the types of apps that would support learning within numeracy and literacy. We also recognised that to get ‘lift-off’ all staff would need ongoing regular professional learning opportunities to support the use of technology within their learning programmes.

School based:

Again we sort the help of Stuart Hale. In collaboration with Stuart we where able to tailor and 2 year professional learning programmes that would up skill our teachings in the use of mobile technologies, demonstrate the learning possibilities and help use develop a school wide blended learning curriculum. Over the last 2 years Stuart has provided 12 full days of professional learning for all staff. We group the teachers into year groups and experience level. We keep true to our schools target student needs that are Numeracy and Literacy – therefore the PD focuses on the contexts of Numeracy and Literacy.

Cluster Shares:

During term 1 of 2012 teachers participated in a Cluster Share opportunity. The cluster developed workshops based on our joint goals – “Anytime, anywhere learning”. The workshops where:

  • Digital Objects
  • Use of mobile technology
  • Google docs and teacher dashboard
  • Blogging

Cluster Scholarships:

The cluster has developed a scholarship system where individual teachers can apply for a scholarship to carry out a small project. Each project must fit within their schools vision, ICT strategic plan  and cluster goals. Teachers will receive release and resource support to complete their project. All schlarship winners must present at our final Cluster Share for 2012.

3 teachers from St Martins have taken up the scholarship. Their projects include the use the use of mobile technology within numeracy, reading and writing programmes.

e) Communication with community

To gain on going support from our school community we felt we needed to provide education opportunities that would highlight what we where trying to achieve as a school for all our learners. We used the following forums to do this:

  • Celebration of Learning Evenings
  • Parent Information Evenings
  • School Website
  • School Newsletters
  • School Assemblies
  • Classroom wikis
  • BOT Meetings

f) Self review – capturing the evidence

We will be using the following tools to capture evidence:

  • Online surveys
  • Classroom surveys
  • Digital interviews with students, staff and parents
  • Workshops as part of parent information evenings

Summary of key results

Infrastructure and devices:

  • Strengthened network
  • Robust wireless network
  • Increased purchasing of devices - 6 pods of 10 -12 of mobile devices (iPads, iPods and laptops)

Organisation and management systems of devices:

  • Streamlined booking system
  • Improved access to technical support
  • More effective management of groups of devices - using Apple Configurator to systematically sync devices
  • Purchasing programme for apps to meet student achievement targets
  • School apps account set up
  • Development of acceptable use
  • Better connectivity of devices with network and printers – Goodreader, Printopia, Dropbox, WebDAV and firefox/chrome syncs apps.

Professional Learning

  • All staff has participated in at least 12 professional learning opportunities provided by Stuart Hale during 2011 and 2012. 6 More are planned for the later part of 2012.

Example of teacher experiences:

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/
  • All staff have participated or made contributions to 2 Cluster Shares during 2012 and will contribute to 2 more during term 3 and 4.

Example of teacher experiences:

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/

 

Outcomes for learning: Due to the regular ongoing professional learning opportunities we have noticed and immediate increase in effective teacher use of blended learning programmes teachers are offering their students on a daily basis.

  • Teachers are integrating successfully the use of laptops and iPads/iPods into the core learning areas – using open ended creative apps and simple self directed learning apps for at risk students

 

  • Teachers are integrating devices within our inquiry based learning programmes much more successfully and on a more regular bases… not just for ‘research, but for sorting and making connections of ideas and presentation of findings and new ideas.

 

Example of teacher experiences:

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/

 

Example of student experiences:

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/

 

Curriculum Programmes:

We are in the process of developing:

  • Digital Citizenship curriculum
  • Curriculum Overviews Include Blended Learning opportunities
  • Classroom and syndicate planning includes Blended Learning opportunities
  • Curriculum teacher booklet includes sections on use of  blended Learning opportunities

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/

 Community

What does our community think?

http://stmartinsnumber1.wikispaces.com/

Conclusions

Over the past year our school have made significant changes in how we view and implement Blended-Learning opportunities for our entire learning community. We have found that changes need to be needs based and driven by evidence and research.  Our research based on the needs of our school community and overall vision goal also highlighted the need to line a number of ‘ducks’ at the same time in order to gain the make the gains. These ‘ducks’ included:

  • Infrastructure
  • Devices and apps
  • Access Management
  • Technical support
  • Professional Development working in conjunction with access to devices
  • Development of curriculum to support blended learning
  • Communication and Education of all learners

 Next Steps

  • Continue to develop digital citizenship curriculum and support resources
  • Review acceptable use policy
  • Explore the concept of "Bring your own Devices"



Comments

  • Catriona Pene

    Thanks for sharing your reflection, it is great to share in your journey to blend e-Learning into your school curriculum.

    It is great to see you developing your own school digital citizenship curriculum, mybe you might find some resources or ideas to help you here.

    Regarding you exploring the BYOD idea you may like to look here.

    Good luck with your future development.