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Developing our eAchieve Cluster Portal: How the AppleTree Cluster collaborates online

What was important for us?

To develop an online learning community where teachers, students, leaders, and whanau can come together to share resources, communicate, and reflect on their own and their students’/children’s learning. Our community is the eAchieve web portal.

Why was this important?

Based on teacher interviews, a survey and informal conversations, we knew that the school community was creating a huge range of resources, and having many learning conversations – but we had no way of capturing that for future years, or sharing it in a way that was consistent with our curriculum. The teachers responsible for professional learning drew on the BES Teacher Professional Learning to identify how we could improve the way we were inquiring into our practice.

The survey also indicated that teachers would prefer to learn about online technologies in a hands-on way that was embedded in their daily work.

What did we do?

We had a series of workshops dedicated to exploring the way online tools can support learning. Our ICT-PD lead teacher worked with SMTs to set up our online portal. We made sure it was an underpinning feature of every planning meeting and unit of work, and teachers buddied with each other to provide peer support. We deliberately reviewed how it was being used every six weeks.

What happened, as a result?

Our eAchieve portal now supports our teaching community’s learning needs in the following ways

There are a range of resources on the website to support thinking tools and integrating ICTs and thinking into the curriculum learning area. There are links to useful online resources and guidance sheets for teachers.

  • Syndicates upload their planning to the site for others to use. The following graphs show how much the staff now use the eAchieve Portal:


  • Teachers are encouraged to celebrate their successes and develop reflection by contributing to the eAchieve blog. 

CoolListen to an interview with Principal (MP3, 778KB) about the success of the portal.

  • In Term 2, 2010, two forums were added to the site – a ‘Teachers’ Staffroom and a ‘Leaders’ Space. It is hoped these will be used for discussion, collaboration and reflection, and time is dedicated during workshops to capture discussions for these. 


  • Many teachers now have class blogs and using the ‘Class Blogs’ page on the website. This is a popular way of linking to other class blogs for sharing with students.
  • Our eAchieve Portal is visited by people from all over the world.image

What have we learned?

Feedback from principals and teachers shows that many value the website and use it regularly. But some still feel they lack time and/or confidence to contribute to the sharing wikis and the blog. The majority are users and invisible lurkers, rather than contributors and collaborators. We know that we need to:

  • ensure that everyone can login successfully and teachers see being logged in as desirable.
  • promote the most popular pages on the website (e.g. Class Blog page)

Principals need to

  • lead the way by promoting, demonstrating the sharing and collaborative possibilities of the site. i.e. They have to use it themselves for sharing and collaborating.

Schools need to :

  • provide time at staff or syndicate meetings for teachers to download, upload, post and comment. The eAchieve website and the learning community it offers needs to be part of the ICT culture of each school.

What are our next steps?

Our vision for the eAchieve Cluster Portal is that it will evolve into an online learning community, providing teachers with resources, links and a sharing and collaboration forum. The content of the website supports the cluster programme and goals and provides leaders and teachers with resources to support thinking strategies and Inquiry Learning. Our next steps include:

  • Develop the eAchieve Portal as a focus at one to one sessions with the facilitator during terms 3 and 4.
  • Make logging in to the site a priority during one to one sessions and staff meetings
  • Use the website during syndicate planning and staff meetings
  • Promote and use other websites (e.g. NZ Curriculum Online, TKI, ICTPD Online) to further develop teacher confidence
  • Using the popularity of blogs, encourage teachers to post regularly on their own class blog and comment on other blogs.
  • Use Google Docs more as a collaboration environment.

Who are we?

The AppleTree Cluster comprises Ardnox School (Decile 10), Wheeluv Learning Intermediate (Decile 8) and Klevaclogs Primary (Decile 3)

Where: Bay of Plenty

ICT-PD Cohort: 2010



Three questions for schools reading this snapshot

  1. Identify ways in which this snapshot exemplifies ideas of collaboration and ‘relating to others’?
  2. How does your school community share its learning, its resources and its students’ successes?
  3. How can a school or community use technology to share ideas and collaborate?


  • Kate Fuller

    Thanks for this - for those of us just taking the first 'baby steps' on this journey, your precis/blog/account was very helpful.  As I write, I am aware that we will have to develop another set of language tools to adequately talk about the processes and infrastructure that are in use here!  Cheers! K8 Smile

  • Karen Spencer

    Glad you've found this useful:-) If you have any questions as the process rolls out, just ask.