Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Inter-connectivity - not just a problem in NZ

The MLE group have spent many hours and dollars on ensuring that SMS's and LMS's can talk to each other and allow content to be easily transferred between the various LMS's. On top of this has been added the desire for student and parent access to LMS and SMS data from home which has spawned the development of the parent portal. This is all new territory for NZ schools, teachers, students and parents, and many of us feel quite overwhelmed by the pressure to embark on a complete overhaul of our school systems to accommodate and implement these new technologies. Well, we are not alone. Have a read of this blog post by Christopher Dawson as he battles to implement inter-connectivity and parent portals in his school district

Monday, 11 January 2010

Predictions about 2010

Just catching up on some blogs and felt that this posting by David Warlick on predictions about 2010 was particularly compelling. While we never really know what is around the corner, it's always exciting to think about the possibilities. Also interesting is Derek Wenmoth's posting on the recent Becta report and the impact of digital technologies on learning. What Derek draws to our attention to is that the advent of ICT is not just a new communication tool but is part of the 21st century cultural revolution. We as teachers need to recognise this fact and understand that the integration of ICT into our teaching lives, for both educational and administrative purposes, is no longer an option and no longer dependent upon buy-in - either buy-in or get out, it's that simple.

Welcome to two new schools

As this blog is about the Volcanics eLearning Community, it seems a good idea to welcome two new members to our community in 2010. They are Melville High School (principal: Clive Hamill) and Rangitahi College (principal: Dawn Mitai-Pehi). I look forward to working with the two new schools and hope they benefit from, and enjoy being part of our community.

2010 - What to expect

Well, 2009 was an incredibly quiet year from a blogging perspective, but a very active year in terms of eLearning. The focus has definitely moved from technology to learning and how to design courses which work well in on line environments - easier said than done. What has not changed is the need to have good technology, and access to it, to ensure that good learning happens through ICT. Therefore the rural broadband investment initiative is an exciting opportunity for schools, which, supported by stage 3 of the schools network upgrade (snup), should see access to ICT and the internet improving. What still needs to happen is for schools to see ICT as a strategic asset and not just a cost centre or hole for money. This is not only because of how it can impact on all aspects of education, but also because of the large investment in the asset and the need to sustain the asset. ICT needs to be considered in the same light as property, and funding accordingly set aside. This means schools integrating ICT into all elements of the strategic plan, which will allow them to set targets against which they can report and measure progress.

With regard to Volcanics, what will we be focussing on in 2010?
  1. Continual drive to fully integrate ICT into schools' strategic plans, which flows through to an annual action plan and on to individual teaching plans and goals.
  2. How ICT can be used to support differentiated teaching and inquiry learning, which will hopefully personlise learning for individual students. Teachers will need support to draw up unit plans and identify useful eLearning tools. They will also need practical ideas and examples on how to implement new approaches and how to measure their effectiveness.
  3. Learning design - developing on-line learning which will meet the needs and expectations of 21st century students. This is especially important for our eTeachers. We will be looking at planning, methodology, practice and tools. This links up with 2 above.
  4. The development of a true community of practice for eTeachers.
  5. Educating and informing students and parents about eLearning and the opportunities that exist for students through the Volcanics eLearning Community and the Virtual Learning Network. This means having information on school websites and regular articles in newsletters.
  6. Continual focus on the development of a learning community within Volcanics which brings together teachers along lines of interest and along curriculum lines. Areas of interest will include inquiry learning, differentiated teaching, behaviour management and classroom management, literacy across the curriculum, learning design and on-line learning environments, cyber-citizenship and formative assessment.
  7. Keeping on top of of the RBI roll-out to ensure that Volcanics schools are represented and given the best opportunity to take up fibre as soon as possible.
  8. Continual membership and development of the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) so that it has a strong national voice which will represent the interests of the Volcanics Community.
So, roll-on 2010 - Heaps to do, but an exciting time for learning