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Link Learning Reflective Summary: May 2012

As a part of encouraging reflection on behalf of Lead Teachers and Principals around our journey to further involve whanau in the Home School Partnership we asked schools to look back on where they have come from and what steps they may need to take to keep the momentum going over the next six months.

By collating those individual school summaries into one document we are attempting to  provide ideas and forward steps for other schools in the cluster and beyond.

Cluster Goal:

Supporting Lead Teachers in building schools’ and teachers’ capability to use eLearning to engage children and involve families.

Interventions and Actions-

Things we did…

ULearn http://ulearn.core-ed.org/ulearn12-programme

Slide2Learn http://slidetolearn.ning.com/page/s2l-2012

Learning at School, http://core-ed.org/learningatschool/

Mobile Learning, http://www.learningnetwork.ac.nz/

Orewa BYOD (https://ultranet.oc.school.nz/WebSpace/5071/

  • Resourcing teachers adequately with appropriate infrastructure and access to equipment.
  • Providing personalised PLD around use of ICT. Making ‘how to sheets’ available both online and on paper
  • Weekly ICT development meetings and providing in-school time to support teachers Personal Learning Development with assistance of cluster facilitator
  • Forming and ICT team within the school to form a strategic approach to our goals
  • Sharing of the weekly cluster newsletters http://linklearning.wikispaces.com/Newletters
  • The ICT team taking on more of a leadership role.
  • Purchase of hardware to better support the integration of ICT into daily practice across the curriculum.
  • Revising the school’s eLearning strategy
  • Encouraging parents to view KnowledgeNet and contribute to class blogs.
  • Curriculum evenings to share how eLearning can engage children in learning at home
  • Promoting and sharing useful web sites with others on our staff
  • Class blogs have become the central hub our classes eLearning with links to websites promoting learning at home as well as at school
  • Updating the blog regularly as a community.
  • ICT Leadership group set up- sharing their learning and promoting ICT
  • Started a discovery/inquiry process around using iPads for learning https://sites.google.com/site/initialipadsetup/
  • Moving emails to Google and to use Google Docs more efficiently
  • Allocating time to learn more about online tools like Delicious, Google, Blogging
  • Bringing in outside technical support rather than draining teacher time.
  • Develop three way conference concept as part of the ‘Reporting to Parents’ cycle.
  • Sharing eLearning at assemblies to inspire others.
  • Developing whole school training around use of our LMS- Ultranet. Using the use of Ultranet as an appraisal focus http://www.motuekasouth.school.nz/Home/
  • Delivering professional development around eCompetencies, focussing on digital literacy and e-awareness- developing and eLearning vocabulary for use in the classroom.

Impact on Teachers, their students and whanau-

We have seen...

  • Children who attend computer lunchtime clubs inspire their teachers to teach new things in their classes. Students are scaffolding other students around use of ICT.
  • Connection with whanau and the wider community through the use of blogs
  • Whanau feel more connected to the day-to-day happenings within the school due to easy access to information via the web.
  • A development of transferable skills- communication, resilience, problem solving…
  • Increasingly ICT literate children. Students are more competent users of tools.
  • Increase in student engagement and motivation when using iPads.
  • Teachers feeling more empowered to teach using the available technology as a tool. They are now more willing to give it a go and share their learning.
  • Greater use of Google Apps/Doc among staff
  • Children are motivated and enthusiastic to use eLearning tools
  • Parents email through children’s home learning and comment on their children’s learning achievements.
  • ICT is being infused in learning throughout the school day.
  • We have seen an enthusiasm among staff to explore new ideas and implement eLearning across the curriculum.
  • Our newsletters are now all online
  • Students contributing to the development of a revised Acceptable Use Policy
  • Parents viewing children’s work through the parental portal of our LMS- Ultranet.
  • Integrating digital citizenship with the Kia Kaha programme


The things we have found difficult included

  • Unreliable technology and infrastructure
  • Finding the time for Professional Learning Development
  • We had no wireless connectivity but now we do so it will be exciting to see where it leads.
  • Having a variety of hardware- old desktops and dying laptops, different operating systems
  • Time to reflect on and implement new teacher learning.
  • Getting parents to make contributions to blogs.
  • Software like KnowledgeNet that we have found to be problematic to master.
  • Letting go of some of the things that were important in the past and adopting new practices to create new pathways- like placing a lesser importance on handwriting.
  • There is never enough money to fund all the new initiatives that we would like to try.
  • Some staff are still reluctant to try new things, to experiment.
  • Finding the time to sit together and share our learning around ICT

Next Steps

  • Work out ways to use the tech (specifically the iPod Touches & iPads) more effectively.
  • Think in more depth around sustainability, maintenance and renewing hardware and infrastructure.
  • Gaining more advice around BYOD, leasing or buying, iPads or laptops or desktops or Chromebooks.
  • Bring all teachers on board- sharing the vision.
  • Facilitating PLD meetings as part of staff meetings- developing professional teacher inquiry round our practice.
  • Using a Google site to bring together teachers’ ePortfolios/registered teacher criteria- PLD reflection.
  • Facilitate student use of Google Apps.
  • Moving more to Google Apps for whole school email etc. Gaining advice around the need for a new server or to move to other forms of storage.
  • Review KnowledgeNet v other LMS options.
  • Investigate options for further growth with ICTPD beyond the life of the Link Learning ICT PD cluster. Having a person and time to facilitate the smooth running of ICT infrastructure.
  • Investigate further ways to enhance the Home School Partnership.
  • Formulating a more strategic pathway to growing elearning.
  • Move toward 1-1 with or without BYOD.
  • Develop a coaching model between teachers.
  • Developing personalised learning opportunities for children.
  • Mandate all classes to share their learning on line.
  • Keeping the fire stoked while we are on a roll.
  • Provide cyber safety PLD for staff and parent community.
  • Finding out from other schools about where they are up to.
We trust that these goals, activities, challenges and forward thinking will help direct us as we progress.