Thursday, 4 December 2008

eTeacher Training

We have recently had our eTeacher training , which was held from 3 December to 5 December at Tauhara College in Taupo, NZ. The first day was for eTeachers from the Volcanics cluster where we focussed on developing our online spaces, uploading content, etc. This was a time to spend simply thinking about our teaching, and having time to work on our lesson content. The afternoon session began with a presentation by Trevor Storr (ePrincipal - AorakiNet) on what content or activities in an online environment would really engage our students. Trevor did his presentation via VC from Waimate High School. The presentation was thought provoking and really got us all thinking about what a good online course looks like, and what we needed to do to ensure that our students were engage in the learning.

On the Thursday and Friday, we were lucky to have Chris Allott McPhee from the VLN with us to run the video conferencing training and we were also joined by our colleagues from TaraNet and CoroNet. The CoroNet contingent included one of my fellow ePrincipals, Jan Collier. Sue Winters, an ePrincipal mentor, was among the participants as she will be trying her hand at eTeaching in 2009, team teaching L3 Calculus with Jane Liu from Tokoroa High School.

Well, I have to admit, that this was the best eTeacher training I have been on. The presentor was great, but this was comlplemented by input from the teachers. The enthusiasm and willingness to share experiences and
knowledge was brilliant. There was a real focus on student learning, with working out how to use the VC gear secondary. I remember my first VC training. We were all so concerned about the technology and getting this part right, that there was not a lot of time to focus on the teaching and learning aspects. I think we benefitted from the fact that there were experienced eTeachers within the group who could share their experiences. There were also teachers who had never received any formal training on VC, but who had been teaching via VC during the year. This was an opportunity for them to learn and to reflect on how they would do things differently in 2009.

We were also able to VC with eTeachers in the Taranaki and in Hawks Bay. Rachel Roberts (ePrincipal - TaraNet) demonstrated, via VC, the use of Adobe Connect and how it could be used as an alternative tool to VC for synchronous interaction. We also saw how the technology could go wrong as Lynda Walsh-Pascoe's group in the Hawks Bay could see us, but could not hear us. After a bit of help from Asnet, we managed to get the sound sorted and the three way VC continued. Just being able to "hook up" with other eTeachers, doing their training was awsome and strengthened that feeling of community that was developing within our group.

Next year I think the eTeacher training will be in the Taranaki. I am looking forward to that, and meeting up with more like minded teachers.