Wednesday, 8 August 2007

TaraNet still Trucking On

TaraNet Principals and Lead Teachers met today and were joined by CAM VCing in from Buller High School. We had a bit of a hiccup to start with as we soon found that we were trying to run 7 sites off a 6 lane bridge. Oops sorry about that CAM & sorry too to the school i had to kick off the bridge & out of the meeting.
It was great to see all Principals & their teams at the meeting, continuing to show their support. A positive thing that these rural secondary schools, though we struggle with resourcing, are still working together to extend the opportunities for all our students through VC distance learning. It looks like the cavalry (MOE) may be rallying to support us and other elearning clusters as we grapple with issues around sustainability of our schools' cluster. Will find out more in due course.
Some of the issues are outlined in my report "Video Conferencing in Distance Learning: A New Zealand Schools' Perspective." (This is the report from my slideshow earlier in the week. Quicker to read & easier to follow, i think?)
If you are a Principal in a school which is part of a VC learning community (& there are 15 VC clusters actively running in New Zealand at the moment), and you are new to the whole idea of schools collaborating in this way, we have a number of new Principals in our cluster; then i recommend you read my report and some of the other readings linked here. One of the key success factors for cluster sustainability is leadership, shared vision and commitment from Principals.

VEN Report on ELearning Communities. Report to the MOE commissioned by the Virtual Education Network. Outlines the benefits, lists risk factors, highlights key elements of successful eLearning Communities. Raises issues of governance of the national network, need for MOE support for funding and staffing of eLearning communities.

Learning Communities Online: A support handbook for cluster schools.
Guidelines for schools developing or joining online learning communities. Provides a summary of the changing face of online learning for schools & overview of an elearning environment “The Barrel”. This is a draft document under consultation through the VLN website.

OtagoNet Leading the Way: OtagoNet Project Summary, April 2006. History of the OtagoNet eLearning cluster, outcomes for its stakeholders, funding issues.

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