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e-Central ICT PD Regional Cluster - Secondary Leaders

About the Cluster

The e-Central Cluster is a Regional cluster made up of 26 Primary and Secondary Schools from across Central Otago, a wide geographical area.  Schools vary in size from small schools with 15 students to large Secondary schools with almost 800 students.  Creating opportunities for collaboration between schools as well as building the capacity of both schools and teachers across the region so that development is sustainable are key goals for the Cluster.

Programme Outcome A:  Professional Learning for Leaders – principals and lead teachers (“Leading elearning”)

Goal: Support the Professional Learning for Leaders – principals and lead teachers (“Leading elearning”National Goal  1 and 3)   
Why is this important to us? Intentions
In response to feedback from Principals – in particular secondary - and leadership teams about managing change and planning for the future and in particular what eLearing might look like for secondary schools.
The secondary schools in the cluster are be very busy within their own workplace and tended to support themselves with PD.
We wanted to further opportunities for leaders to see what is possible and what current developments leaders should consider when strategic planning and to connect leadership with classroom practice when looking at overall direction and planning

Interventions-What we did:
We decided to develop component of the ICTPD programme targeted at secondary principals and ICT leaders within those schools.
This began with our specialist secondary facilitator visiting each school and meeting with appropriate personnel – including principals.  A key part of this has been audit style of interaction with questioning a key part to help leadership articulate thinking.
Support was then offered to schools to look at current practice and barriers to developing eLearning.  3 secondary schools had support with a range of issues from infrastructure to identifying appropriate management strategies for eLearning.
An event was organized for these school that involved the princiapls and a key teacher going to Wellington to met with specialist eLearning personnel and to visit secondary schools.
The specialists covered such topics as UFB, SMS, LMS, Learning Networks and current school initiatives.  School visits followed where the group looked at practice in a selection of schools.
Informal discussions - where the group reflected on what they were thinking about - tied the activities together
Resources gathered during the time were put together online for future reference.
Support has continued this year with school visits and a second event where the group spent time exploring BYOD.  This included attending a 1 day BYOD conference.
The cluster has also supported the area principals group (COPA – which includes primary and secondary) by bringing in specialists to run workshops at meetings.

Feedback has been positive and the group are keen to continue.
Feed back form the special events was positive with leaderdhip recognizing the wider breadth of things to consider with eLearning.  The individual school visits have been valued for the ability to focus on particular needs.  Principals have valued the ability the make informed decisions and having enough information to challenge other view.
There have been identifiable changes in three of the schools.  One school has a much more stable internal system now and a good understanding of where they whould be moving with there internal technologies.  Two other schools have changes how their eLearning  leadership works and are now lead with an educational rather than technical focus.

With schools covering a wide geographical area there has been the issue of distance and time and we will have to consider the best way to continue given the technologies we have available.
Encouraging the secondary school leaders to liaise with their feeder schools and to look at the concept of seamlessness both for technology and teaching and learning
Getting buy in to online ways of working and keeping the conversations going between leaders of the secondary schools

Next Steps

Continue with the group while trying to develop online interactions that will help the group manage distance and time – and develop connections outside the cluster through the VLN

Principals visiting other cluster schools – including feeder schools

Developing stronger links between the 5 secondary schools