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Avonhead School Milestone 5 Goal 3 Reflective Summary

Goal 3 - Teachers to integrate e-learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students.


Background/Context

Selected classes from each syndicate (junior, middle, intermediate, senior) were directed to use a 21st-century teaching and learning pedagogy with an emphasis on experimentation.

 

Aims

To enthuse and infuse a 21st-century teaching and learning inquiry approach throughout the school with the implementation of dedicated inquiry classes in each syndicate.

 

How we went about it….

At the beginning of the year, we set up four inquiry classes throughout the school. The purpose of setting these up were explained at a meeting of parents which was well attended in November of last year. The four slides relating to the purpose are pasted below:

Inquiry Class Information to Parents

Outcomes so far:

  • Inquiry teachers are not only working within the age-appropriate teams, but they are also are also planning together as the inquiry team and arranging across age-group interchanges and providing choices for students to study with another class depending on the focus of each group.
  • Inquiry teachers are sharing their journey in Syndicate team meetings and staff meetings. (Infusing and enthusing others).
  • Teachers have adopted a (free) Student Portfolio programme called ‘Edmodo’ . The lead inquiry class teacher has been ‘pioneering’ the use of this with her class and sharing this with staff at staff meetings. Staff who are not in the inquiry team but have an interest in Edmodo have been released from class to spend some time with the lead teacher who is enabling others to use Edmodo.
  • Inquiry team are also using Edmodo to store teacher work and lesson plans as well as children’s work. These plans are shared with other staff who have been given the appropriate passwords to get in.
  • Children contribute to a ‘facebook’ type of facility in Edmodo where learning discussion are held and we are currently developing parent involvement as well.
  • Children in these inquiry classes are exposed to greater use of technology and this technology is used to support student learning using best practice. We have been purchasing more technology to cater for the growing ‘hunger’ for e-learning within the school.
  • More teachers are changing their programme to include Edmodo and infuse their practice with some of the best ideas from the inquiry team across the school.

Of course, all classes are using the inquiry approach but these ‘inquiry classes’ are empowered to explore inquiry in a little more depth across the school.


New Technology and PD to support/ facilitate e-learning through the school.

This year we have bought thirty new netbook computers to be used through the school. The extra technology has challenged our current server system with only 150 proxy addresses. We have had technical support to enable us to expand the number of proxy addresses so we can add this new technology into our system. As more and more children are using computers as part of their e-learning, the data-cap for broadband needs to be expanded even further despite an increase in data at the beginning of the year. It’s rewarding to see such a demand on data as it indicates the growing use of children using technology and in particular the internet.

We also purchased twelve Ipads this year with six of them being located in the junior school and each team having one for staff to use so they can explore the potential of ipads in children’s learning at the different levels. Staff PD is also being provided with some staff attending Stuart Hale’s workshops at St Martins and e-time facilitator, Mandy Dempsey will also work with staff to help with realising the potential of student learning using these devices.

This year. We also set up an affordable wireless system throughout the school to enable greater connectivity by wireless using ‘Ubiquiti – Unifi’ - a great wireless system for schools that is working well.

Professional development has been generated as our main strategic goal this year: 21st Century Learner and courses and workshops have included a teacher-only day with James Nottingham, four teachers going on an e-time trip to the North Island to look at best practice at other schools; The Principal accompanied other Principals from the cluster to a two day course set up by Stuart Hales on using technology to enhance e-learning opportunities with students.

 

Reflections:

Our ‘inquiry team’ has certainly enthused and infused best practice which is what our main goal of setting up the classes was. The team has been working on innovative and exciting initiatives including the use of Edmodo and sharing the use of this along with planning and best practice ideas to the rest of the school. We have noticed an enthusiasm from teachers who are asking for PD on the use of Edmodo as well as getting ideas for developing the inquiry approach at a much deeper level.

Parents of the inquiry classes have added their voice to the success of these inquiry classes with the strong support and participation in the Edmodo programme.

Next steps include implementing more inquiry classes throughout the school with an increased uptake of the Edmodo learning management system.