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The use of ICT in the Steps Programme at Tai Tapu

Teacher Inquiry: How can we  add value to student achievement using  ICTs within Ultranet to engage and facilitate learning?

Background and Context

 An 8 week challenge targeting a group of students struggling with Literacy because of Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and other issues. They are in Year 5 and 6 and have been in the programme for varying lengths of time. The children work with me and a Teacher Aid  for an hour and a half, four mornings a week covering all the Literacy areas. This challenge was aligned with the Olympics in terms of setting goals  to  enhance progress. These students were in cruise mode and I wanted to increase engagement and  their ability to reflect on where they were at, then identify their own next steps.

Aims and Purpose

  • To engage students with a range of e learning initiatives though Ultranet
  • To set realistic goals  with students regularly reflecting on their learning
  • To have  base line data so we could  chart progress
  • To become a collaborative learning community including teachers, parents and peers, using Ultranet as our platform.

What we did

  • Set up our Ultranet Steps  class page: to create  a motivational  homepage to: access resources, blog our work, connect with parents, contribute positively to the learning of peers in our learning group.
  • Held a Parents meeting to help parents know how to use their Ultranet Personal log in; so they can make comments on their children’s work. Gave them information about what they can do to be a part of the Learning Group. Children were the experts to show parents how to manage Ultranet. Parents also have their own page where I leave information and hints.
  • Used Steps to Literacy as our individual Spelling Learning programme,
  •  Blogged our Spelling list; to access at home (visible to Parents and Teachers) - parents know that is loaded each Monday.
  • Used Online books, Created a book blog called Read all about it to share our personal reading experiences
  •  Used videos and utube clips etc as motivation for writing e.g BBC Learning Radio Treasure Island
  • Modelled writing, to group and worked closely with individuals, used Gail Loane writing programme which has been a school wide focus. Children write on computers making use of approximations and  Spellcheck. Editing becomes much more manageable for these learners.
  • Used Studyladder,  Typing tutors, Spelling City and  many other resources to practise skills at home and school.
  • Students  loaded personal reflections on their Media space.
  • Began to  use ipods and ipads to record learning and upload to their U space with mobile ultranet app.



What happened as a result of the Inquiry- the evidence

The benefits

  • Children’s writing has improved by writing for a wider audience. Most work is blogged. Engagement is high; parents, teachers and peers are giving feedback. Children particularly value the comments of their parents and peers.
  • Wider writing vocab and the transfer of spelling  skills into writing is happening;  children  are accessing thesaurus and writing interesting words and phrases on windows and walls as they find them. Writing is entertaining and purposeful. They are very proud of their blogs.
  • Spelling ages have increased in  between 3 and 18 mths over the  8 week Challenge.
  • Recording students reading into their media space and uploading  teacher comments has enabled parents and children to know what  needs to  be worked on.
  • Children had the opportunity to  review the challenge and had very positive comments
  • Small numbers in the group allowed very individual conferencing each day ; face to face and online feedback.
  • Children confidently voice comments on their own learning and set further goals for themselves. They know more about their learning and their next steps

Evidence of our Learning   http://www.taitapu.school.nz

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The Barriers

  • Keeping the content fresh and innovative takes time
  • Keeping parents regular in their comments when some are not confident ICT users
  • Keeping the  contact with class teachers going so that reinforcement happens in class.

Next steps

  • To  increase access to a variety of learning experiences through increased use of Mobile devices.
  • To have more parent sessions where parents and children work alongside each other. OPen door policy.
  • To involve class teachers more in the programme so they know exactly  how we use differentiated learning programmes for each child as well as their group activities