Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Tahora & Marco Schools

It was good to visit two of our new schools earlier in the week. It’s a long round trip so spent the Monday night at Kerry & Des Turners at Tahora. For me personally it was great to be back there after many years absence!
Carolyn (principal at Tahora) has been on the ICT PD journey herself before joining us. She was part of one of the original clusters in Waitakere and has done Infolink, Learning & ICTs & 3 Doors. She has a constructivist philosophy on teaching & learning and will be a valuable member of our cluster who hopefully will share some of her wisdom & experience with the rest of our team. We looked at Tahora schools Internet safety procedures and ICT plan. We checked out ICT Learning Experiences, Share It, English Online & Interact.
With Shaun we talked a lot about the ICT PD contract and the opportunities involved. They are well resourced with computers in the classroom having recently setup a netpod of recycled computers. We talked about preparing to build a school/community web site on my next visit back. The kids will start gathering content – photos & text and when I come back I will help them plan & build the structure & hopefully upload some pages.
There are very strong communities supporting these schools and I had the opportunity to speak to BOT chairs at each school. I gave them a big picture overview of what ICT PD contracts were all about and talked about some of the things we had done in the 1st year of the contract and what was planned for this year. We discussed the commitment schools make to the project in the form of PD budget allocation & I highlighted the possible implications for BOTs coming from increased expectations, use of ICT in the classroom & pressure on resources. Both BOTs were fully supportive of the aims of the cluster & were pleased to be involved.
Broadband seems to be running OK but differently than in town – we could quickly & easily download quite large files but web pages were loading in a jumpy disjointed sort of fashion and I couldn’t get any Flash Interactives to run (BBC Science Clips) properly. We should look at this again – high speed should allow you to run any interactive easily – a good test would be to set up a couple of web cams and try and communicate between the schools. Both schools were concerned that this year they should be maximising their use of the Internet in learning to see if they are really going to get their money’s worth. $150 a month is very expensive for a small school.
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