Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Friday, 24 October 2008

Smart Use of ICT


TaraNet eTeacher Ross talks about his VC class in the latest edgazette. Ross will be teaching L3 Ag.Hort. again next year. Hopefully we will have Taratahi back on board to provide a L2 Agriculture class for our TaraNet students. Just waiting to hear confirmation.

"Back at Inglewood, every week Ross beams live into three other schools to teach Ag and Hort via a videoconference hook-up.

"It's providing that breadth of curriculum in schools that might not otherwise be able to provide it," he says of the hi-tech teaching method.

Ross keeps in close contact with teachers at each school who supervise the students' work and turn to him with questions via email or video-conference. It is a system that works well enough for him to expand into remote teaching of level 3 achievement standards this year.

It is a case of new technology helping in the classroom, but Ross says Ag and Hort remains a subject where teachers tend to roll up their sleeves and get down to brass tacks, explaining how ideas apply to real situations.

"That's probably where the shift or challenge lies, how to use these new technologies best. They don't replace what we do but they might substitute part of it. It's a subject where if you stayed in the classroom the whole year you'd lose an awful lot.""


Ross - Ag

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Promoting TaraNet


I have been doing some work in the last week preparing promotional material for TaraNet. Even after 5 years of operating elearning classes, opportunities for our students through TaraNet and the VLN are still a big unknown for many in our school community. I designed this poster for students & a flyer for the wider school community (particularly whanau). These have been distributed to half of our schools so far as I have visited them over the past week.

Why do we need to keep putting ourselves out there to our own school community? Until our students get regular opportunities to engage in online learning & VC it will always be an unknown. They need these experiences first hand. There are plenty of opportunities coming up all the time to be involved in Digital Conversations and for teachers to create those opportunities themselves. But to allow this for our students the 'Gatekeepers' in our schools have got to let them in. Teachers are the Gatekeepers to our students learning opportunities - for many of them VC and elearning is what eteachers do with their classes & nothing to do with them. When elearning opportunities are promoted to them they are too busy, too inflexible to change their programme, too scared to try the technology or don't care as they just don't see the relevance.

Who are the Gatekeepers in your school? And how are they creating barriers to our students learning (whether they realise it or not)?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

eLearning an Option at Waitara High School

DSC01660Waitara was the last of my schools on the Options Evening calendar. What I liked that was different  about Waitara's event was the number of other education providers that were invited to attend. It was run like an expo with a good presence from a range of STAR & gateway course providers. There was also some Careers options there such as the Armed Services. When i wasn't at my post I was out talking to the other providers about TaraNet & the VLN. It is great also to have the opportunity to speak to students and their families about the choices available to them. Having access to the internet through my 3G mobile was very handy as we were able to go straight to the VLN and browse around.

Sunday, 12 October 2008



I have had a number of years coming to conference, including Ulearn. ePrincipals attended to hold their own pre-conference meeting and  were presenting a number of workshops there.
I think its really important to connect f2f, at least on occasions, with the people you work with so these conferences are valuable opportunities for this. For classroom teachers they are a huge PD event and one that i have seen have great impact on their thinking & ultimately to greater or lesser extent (depending on the individuals) their practice.

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach showed this graphic in her shared keynote - I felt it represented our Mahi Tahi group so well as a Community of Practice. Read more about COPs on Conor's Blog.

The Ulearn media team interviewed a couple of ePrincipals you can see their interviews here