Executive Summary of the Inaugural VLNC Meeting 29 April 2010
The Community of Schools (CoS) that make up the Virtual Learning Network, referred to as the The Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC), are led by cluster Lead Principals ably supported by their ePrincipals. The Community collaborates to improve learning opportunities for our students. Increasingly, cluster relationships between clusters are proving to be as important as school relationships within clusters. The MOE funds the infrastructure to enable the VLN to operate. With the imminent broadband initiatives, the proposed National Education Network (NEN) and the growth of the number of VLNC schools there is a need for previous adhoc arrangements to become more formalised. Until now, VLN schools had no means to formally represent their needs to the MOE or other organisations.
The purpose of the VLNC is to be an organisation that can provide the ‘matrix for growth’ and act as a ‘catalyst for educational transformation’, and to generally promote, develop, utilise and support educational services and resources across the New Zealand education system.
Cluster Lead Principals, Cluster ePrincipals, MOE (Eddie Reisch, Howard Baldwin, Tam Dobie, Marg McLeod, Douglas Harre), Derek Wenmoth (Core-Ed),PPTA rep, Representatives from Te Kura, Lower North Island Kura, MOE Contractors for Virtual ICTPD, ESOL and Primary Pilots and Westmount School. In total there were about 30 attendees.
Summary of Meeting
The meeting formally ratified establishing the VLNC as an organisation. The constitution of the organisation was laid out in detail. The VLNC's purpose includes: facilitating national level educational activities; providing national level ‘voice’/advocacy for CoSs and build the institutional recognition; addressing issues of the immediate & longer term sustainability of CoSs; assuming joint ownership and responsibility of ongoing development of the Virtual Learning Network sites and services, in line with any relevant contracts and/or memorandums of understanding in force at the time;fostering a culture of innovation & knowledge building which enhances and enriches learning; facilitating national and regional level collaboration and flow of ideas in a coherent and effective way; facilitating/providing professional growth and mentoring for eTeachers, CoS leadership and other VLNC members; and providing guidance & support role for CoSs (existing and emerging) and new schools. The VLNC Council is made up of 5 -7 representatives from clusters. For 2010 the council is Rachel Roberts (TaraNet/VLN Primary), Carolyn Bennett(FarNet), Rick Whalley (VLN Primary - Matapu School), Janet Akhurst (Baylink), Trevor Storr (Aorakinet), John Cruden (Opihi College) and Ken Pullar (OtagoNet).
Categories of Membership
There are 6 categories of membership (annual fee in brackets): CoS (cluster school, $50), individual school ($50), Provider institution ($50), associate, provisional school ($50) and individual.
Presentations by MOE
Howard and Marg: The establishment of the VLNC is very important. The MOE is looking toward the VLNC for models of how the NEN might be organised. The Minister has just given the go ahead for the MOE to consult with the schooling sector on how self-managing schools (Tomorrows Schools) may need to be modified to gain best advantage from the NEN. Marg acknowledged that the cluster sustainability is not solely the responsibility of cluster schools, but also the MOE.
Eddie and Tam: The range of services provided by the MOE to VLNC schools is increasing to include: brokerage of online classes, Moodle, Mahara (ePortfolio), Adobe Connect as well as the VC bridge and audio conferencing. Developments for 2010 include self-enrollment for learners and virtual ICTPD.
Douglas: The broadband roll out will take 6 years. The programme of school network upgrades will ensure that school internal networks will be fit for purpose. The two streams of work rural and urban are separate processes.
The new VLNC council will meet (May 4) to select a chair, secretary and treasurer. The council will need to work quickly to address issues of cluster sustainability and interaction with the broadband roll out/NEN and relationships with urban clusters and loops.