Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Changes to PLD for Schools

At the end of 2010, the MoE went through a process of retendering all it’s professional learning development (PLD)contracts for NZ schools. More information can be found about how to access PLD here on the Educational Leaders website.

One of the big changes in the elearning area was a move away from the ICTPD clustering model to a regional model “Blended e-Learning Professional Learning and Development Programme” in addition to this there are other supporting initiatives such as VPLD (Virtual Professional Learning & Development) – which i now have a facilitative role in. You can see an overview of the VPLD programme here. The PLD projects in the elearning area, as well as other areas, are provided by Te Toi Tupu. Check out their website to find more information about Te Toi Tupu and what programmes they are providing.


“Te Toi Tupu - Leading Learning Network consortium (CORE Education, The University of Waikato, Cognition Education, The New Zealand Council for Educational Research and Waikato Tainui) are providers of professional development and professional learning programmes.”

Monday, 4 April 2011

Bright Sparks @ Matapu School

Today students from Matapu School got to explore some electronics with Andrew Hornblow from Bright Sparks. It was a very quick introduction for them, as the main purpose of Andrew’s visit was to show me how he works with kids and what Bright Sparks is all about. Never the less, though the sessions weren’t linked to any integrated learning objectives, they were very engaging, lots of fun and we learnt a lot about circuits, electronic components, control & programming. In fact it was very cool, creating preprogrammed ‘robots’ or cars, with a garish array of LED lights, having burn off competitions, developing sensors for measuring light and temperature and seeing how the data can be logged into the computer.

My focus was to look at how we could take this into an online environment through the VLN Primary initiative and extend this type of learning to students around the country – particularly to those who would not otherwise get this opportunity (that is the big picture philosophy behind the VLN Primary). Bright Sparks has a website and a club for students who are keen on electronics where they can earn points and access free electronic equipment, project ideas, mentoring support and enter Bright Sparks competition.

This is definitely a programme that could be adapted to the online environment, through real time tutorial support in our Adobe Connect classrooms and one that would have benefit younger students by introducing them to electronics and bringing those keen ones into the Bright Sparks fold. The challenge now is to find someone with the time and expertise to work with us to develop and deliver and online introductory electronics class for our kids….. I will keep knocking on doors.