SCD/Milestone Reports/Resources, Documentation and Downloads/Milestone 5 3 June 2012

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Milestone Number: 5
Regional Cluster Name Southern Central Divide
Contract Number 10-0279
Lead School/Legal Entity Waimate High School
Date 20 May 2012
National Facilitator Warren Hall
Project Director/s Trevor Storr, Pete Graham, Darren Sudlow
Facilitator/s Trevor Storr, Pete Graham, Darren Sudlow

4.1 Liaise with the National Facilitator assigned to this project

Warren has been actively involved in the cluster so far this year and was a significant help in the variation this time around.  With his help we were able to continue to refine it so it met Ministry expectations.  While a somewhat tortuous process, without Warren it would have been much worse.  We have also used Warren's expertise in various cluster events this year, including the recent West Coast principals' event on Networked Schooling and the Tekapo Project retreat for teachers earlier this year.  In the latter event he came in through google hangouts and participated in a panel discussion on Networked Schooling and in the former he spent the day with us and contributed his thoughts in ongoing group discussion with school principals.  In both events his expertise was invaluable.

We have also found Warren's commuication excellent (does this sound like a school report Warren?!).  He will just drop an informal line through skype or email and keeps in touch without being intrusive.   

4.2 Report on your programme implementation

What we did and how often? Was it effective?

Tekapo Retreat: Project Teachers We gathered the project teachers together for three days in Tekapo in March of this year.  The purpose of the day was to prepare the group for the year ahead by:

  • Examining the possibiltiies inherent in the notion of Networked Schooling
  • Collaborating as a group (with Professor Niki Davis) on what the University course would look like.
  • Planning the Networked Schooling Review
  • Developing possibilities for collaborative projects / special topics which will provide the backbone on the course and the project this year
  • Developing solutions for the sustainability of the regional cluster and looking at possibilities for the future without funding
  • Continuing to develop the group as a community of learners and provide opportunities for regionally based communities of practice to form

Read more on what happened in these three days by accessing these links from the CantaNet blog

Tekapo Retreat Day One

Tekapo Retreat Day Two and Three

The three days were probably the best we have had with the group.  Everyone knows each other well.  The new participants seemed to feel very comfortable with the group as a whole and the aims of the cluster.  There was a relaxed, but focused feel to the three days and ample opportunity for participants to do their own thing and direct themselves.

Reflections from some ePortfolios

"Fabulous 3 days at Tekapo...what a steep learning curve! So far I've sorted out what networked schooling is (at least in my head) and to me it means using the expertise and experience of people outside your curriculum area, your school,or your geographical area. Mostly everyone's schools' are at the same stage as us: plenty of willing staff (some skilled some not so skilled) and some reluctant. It has been great to get the topic defined for this year and Frank (Marion College) myself and Dave (Timaru Boys High) have decided to look into how to introduce an LMS into a school. We now need to look at surveys about blended learning and LMS setup and decide on a range of questions that we need to gather data on to suit our purpose."

"Its great to catch up with everyone. We had a great visit to the Observatory at Mt John. I have been reflecting on the PD and I was discussing with Jim the values of un-conferencing and having time to investigate for myself the things I need to do which lets face it we dont get in our everyday life. I have had the opportunity to clarify points in the assessments; join a group and think about the aims of what we could achieve this year and in future years; find new web.2 tools and work on google docs - rather than being bombarded with several folders of info I have to read later this is a great way to do PD. - and its only 12.33pm.

So What am I doing for Assignments

A1- Review of networked schooling from your perspective

Jim, Lisa, Maryanne and myself are setting up the Mackenzie group we hope to improve learning and teaching by setting up a network between our schools which will operate on a face to face and online basis."


Networked Schooling Leadership Event (WestNet)

Leaders' Day West was held at the University of Canterbury Field Centre in Westport on Monday 30th April.

While this was the third project event aimed at school leadership, it was the first made accessible to West Coast and Tasman schools associated with the WestNet eLearning Community. Subtitled 'Networked Schooling in a Broadband World', leaders were given opportunity to workshop ideas around:

  • the potential opportunities from and probable barriers to networked schooling
  • the impact of and details around Ultra Fast Broadband connectivity and the Network for Learning

Three WestNet Project Teachers presented their work-in-progress on the Networked Schooling Review part of their UC post-grad Diploma work for this year.

  • A taster video and raw brainstorm notes from Leaders' day West can be viewed on the WestNetNZ blog.
  • The day was attended by 6 principals, 3 Deputy Principals and one HOD covering all but 3 WestNet schools. Other attendees were the three project leaders, Professor Niki Davis (University of Canterbury), Warren Hall (Core Education & ...), Eddie Reisch & Chris Harwood (Ministry of Education VLN and regional office), and Bob Norrish (Principal, Oxford Area School).
  • WestNet teachers in the project shread the early results of their UC course work to collaboratively review networked schooling with illustrations and reflections from Karamea, Reefton and Westland schools. Student prespectives (recorded) on their learning in courses led by distant teachers were an integaral part of the Karamea teacher.
  • Feedback relevant to the current Parliamentary Inquiry on 21st century learning was successfully used to encourage improved neworking of these school leaders.
  • As this was the first such event attended by most leaders there was a range of knowledge and expectation.

Some comments on the best aspects of the day:

  • I enjoyed the contributions of the Ministry team. I thought they provided a balanced overview of what was out there in terms of possibilities and implications for schools.
  • ...opportunity to explore what is being done and where IT and networking might be going. Useful to hear from practitioners and from those at the forefront.
  • Really enjoyed being able to liaise and network with other schools to see what they are doing with ICT and to gather ideas that I could use in my own school.
  • I did enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and I had a lot of my questions answered.

What could be improved?

  • of the few things that could have been useful would be to have canvassed schools to identify some shared issues that schools are facing with ICT and then offer some targeted discussion around these things.
  • I am the principal of a very small school so maybe I am closer to the chalkface- I think it would be handy to hear from others, even early adopter teachers, as to what is working well and engaging their students.
  • If you are taking leaders out of their schools make it essential hearing.


University of Canterbury Course

Designed as an Independant Study for all the teachers in the project.

Major outcomes planned are:

  1. Review of networked schooling
  2. Reflective ePortfolio plus constirbutions building capacilty among the project particpants and their schools
  3. Project to sustain blended learning within and across schools

The course uses a blend of online venues: a Moodle VLN Educo UC course site is led by Niki Davis as the main hub that is complemented with individual and group perspectives in VLN MyPortfolio, plus Web 2.0 tools etc. The retreat in Tekapo, ULearn participation, and a retreat at the end of the year are also key components in the blend.

Designed as an Independant Study for all the teachers in the project

Note: Although the course is designed to serve all participants, only teachers who opted for assessment are enrolled with UC and expected to submit work for assessment following self assessment.

Give number enrolled and timeline.

Major outcomes so far:

  1. Review of networked schooling: Teachers have begun to report and evidence is being dicussed. Groups chosen topics are: insert
  2. Reflective ePortfolio plus constirbutions building capacilty among the project particpants and their schools: many are underway with some exemplary work to guide others
  3. Project to sustain blended learning within and across schools: at an early stage. Includes projexct to collaboratively teach Computer Science,insert more

The Educo forum has also enabled teachers to contribute to a response to the parliamenary Inquiry on 21st cnetury learning. Add quote


Project / Special Topic Groups

As part of the UC course and the project as a whole, teachers have formed their own groups based on their own interest areas and the special topic they will take on for the year.  Within the course in Educo teachers have been using asynchronous discussion to keep share and collaborate.

Some of the topic areas include:

  • ePortfolios
    *Leadership to bring about 21st century learning in rural schools
    *Leading professional development

'So far things have been developing well and it is interesting to see teachers taking the lead within their own groups.

Please view video for a quick snapshot by clicking here


Communities of Practice / Collaborative Professional Development A number of the communities of practice that formed last year will continue to be funded this year - most notably the Digital Technologies Group, eDeans group and the West Coast Visual Art Group, but we will also be developing a model of shared professional development, where teams of project teachers work with staff from various cluster schools.  Not in a sense, delivering PD, but working with small groups of interested teachers.

The model is outlined below

  • Teachers/schools agree that it would be of use to use one/more of our group for PD
    *A budget for the 'visit' is submitted to project leader (use my email address, not the forum for requests). Items to include will be relief / travel
    *agree/confirm to the budget
    *Event takes place
    *Host school invoices SCD at Waimate High School c/o me
    *Host school pays relief / travel costs for visiting teachers etc

WESarT [Guest login] - is the name of the secondary school visual arts teacher cluster for the West Coast of the South Island, and presently includes Buller high School, John Paul II, Greymouth High School, and Westland High School.

Lead by Madeline Campbell, HOD Visual Art, Westland High School.

WestNet English - collaboration between English specialists from Buller High School, Karamea Area School, Murchison Area School and South Westland Area School initially.

Lead by Ray Curnow (Buller HS and Angela Roberts (Karamea AS, also an SCD Project teacher)

The established communties of practice have been very successful and have developed tangible resources that have been shared with the wider community (especially the eDeans).

The model of shared professional development has only just been presented to schools so is still in the early stages.

Madeline [WESarT] comments -

  • Communities of Practice have been discussed with this group, we propose to have a further workshop before the end of term 2, 2012.
  • I have noted a marked increase in email communications between WESarT members in the last year after the 2011 full day workshop where Communites of Practice was discussed, and a much stronger will to stay connected.
  • Ultimately, I think the aim of a CoP is to reduce isolation and increase professional interactions, using digital technologies to facilitate this. So, much more frequent emails is a start!
  • We also had the opportunity to participate in online Best Practice Workshops, which involved three monthly video conferences, and discussion forums in-between times through the VLN (Virtual Learning Network).
  • My comfort levels with blended approaches to professional learning and development are more developed than my colleagues, so I believe this model will take some time to ‘get used to’ for most teachers.

WestNet English comments -

Ray Curnow:

  • Progress to date has been disappointing. Angela Roberts and I have continued working together on the cross-moderation of NCEA assessment. I will be having another push at the teacher-only day later this month.

Angela Roberts:

  • part of my course this year in the blended learning programme
  • I think I shall be looking at how we can make the CoP, that we set up last year, a reality. I have spoken to Grey High School and have one new teacher into the practice and I have one other keen teacher from South Westland. I would like to take your goals etc from last year and set up a site where all the West Coast English teachers can share: [things like] resources, unit plans, [also have] a forum for professional dialogue and a sharing of students' work.

4.3. Reflections

The following link will take you to short slideshow reflection on what we think effective professional learning looks like.

Our regional cluster project on blended learning was firmly built on the development of communities of practice to enable teacher professional learning. Our model largely avoided the concept of professional development workshops run by so-called experts where teachers sit and work through a set programme. We believe in the teaching as inquiry model as outlined in the New Zealand curriculum where teachers are seen as learners and researchers. This was enabled through a close parternship with the Unversity of Canterbury and Professor Niki Davis whereby our teachers were enrolled in tailor made courses that closely linked with our own goals. The goal of this wasn't to provide motivation for the participants, but to develop a process of certification and recognise that everyone would gain from a wider circle of expertise. The teachers' current course is very open ended, flexible and project based. They are choosing to work in an area interests them, but also receiving support in their learning from a mentor (in the form of Niki). She acts as a very effetcive critical friend.

We have also built all teacher learning on collaboration and the development of communities of practice. By definition a community of practice is a group of people with a common interest who work together to improve their knowledge. The whole group of teachers (around 30) acts as a very effective community in itself, but now groups have developed within groups as teachers align themselves based on common projects.

Lastly, we have taken a blended approach to professional learning. So much of what the teachers do is done online through various asynchronous (Moodle, Mahara and google docs) and synchronous tools (video conferencing, Skype, Google Hangouts), but we also recognise the importance of face to face opportunities as well. So every year we have two retreats for all teachers and we fund opportunities for the various groups of teachers to meet when it suits them.

We have found this model of professional learning extremely effective in enabling teacher learning. In the end that is the key thing for us - teachers are learners and are capable of developing expertise provided they have the right levels of support. Often this comes down to the provision of dedicated time.

4.4. Progress towards cluster goals

We continue to make progress towards our cluster goals and while challenges remain, the achievements of the regional cluster are significant so far.

The key goal of developing the capacity of the core group of teachers, both in their ability to develop strategies for effective blended learning and their willingness to lead change has continued to take priority. There is little doubt that the majority of this group of teachers continue to make progress in their adoption of effective strategies for blending learning. This is quite visible with the growth in the use of online class spaces (whether using Moodle or another tool), but also in the rapid adoption of ePortoflios with students. The latter seems to be an area of real interest and development across the country at the moment and the idea of learner centred spaces has real appeal for many of our teachers and schools

The involvement of a significant number of new teachers at the end of last year and the beginning of this has been heartening. As a result of intensive nature of the first year a small number of teachers dropped out of the University course and involvement in the project. Most of these schools failed to find a replacement, meaning they were only involved at a peripheral level. A growth in the numbers of teachers this year, means that the vast majority of our schools are involved as well. This has been an important development for the future sustainability of the regional cluster and the continued development of cohesive approaches to blended learning. We need our schools to share and work together on this in the future and it doens’t help when a few aren’t really involved.

What has been especially interesting is the growth of teacher leadership amongst the core group. A real sense of community has been developed over the course of last two years and the benefits of this are becoming very visible. Where once we (the official project leadership I suppose you would say) had to give a lot of direction, now the teachers take the initiative and direct themselves and each other. As has already been mentioned, they have organised themselves into focus groups and are actively collaborating on common goals. Our goal of getting teachers working together virtually, as well as face to face is now a reality as we see teachers who are now very comfortable working with others online. It reaffirms for us the power of teachers as leaders, but also the development of communities of practice for professional learning. Connecting teachers is a key driver of the regional cluster and should also be a key component in any approach to professional learning nationwide. It works exceptionally well as long as it is focused.

There are still challenges that continue to slow progress. While we have the backing of the majority of principals, actively engaging them in what is happening and the future of the regional cluster is a work in progress. We have laid the foundations in some think tanks for senior management, but this is an important year in seeing whether this will help in planning for the future. Once the funding has finished will principals be happy to just go back to what we were doing before? If not how do we continue to make progress on the key goals of the regional cluster without funding? Engaging principals in these questions and finding solutions is vital.

We also continue to have one or two teachers who end up on the periphery, because of workload or a lack of motivation / engagement. While this has improved markedly, it is still a frustration that we might lose someone at this late point in proceedings. Teachers being able to balance workload with the goals of the project is a real balancing act. Currently teachers are working on reviewing their schools’ and the cluster’s readiness for networked schooling / learning. Many are working in groups on this which helps manage the workload, but I know it is a constant strain on teachers who are often already overloaded. It is important that project management (us) keep in touch with teachers and help manage difficulties when they arise.

Disbursement schedule

This table should be used to account for the MoE funds only. You will need to separate out the MoE and cluster funding contributions from the budget figures in your contract

ICT Professional Development Cluster:

Southern Central Divide
Contract No. 10-0279
Milestone No.


Neil Melhuish

e-Learning Unit

Ministry of Education

PO Box 1666



Trevor Storr

Waimate High School

Paul St


For Professional and Operational Costs:

3yr Budget Actual-to-date Cumulative %
Professional Fees $10,000 MOE funding rest is FTTE
$10833 108%
Professional Costs $31,150
$27880 90%
Operational Costs $1500
$2600 173%
Teacher Development Costs (if relevant) $312,350
$239075 77%
plus Goods and Services tax $51,531 $41143 80%
Total $406,531 $319191 79%

Explanation of variance of predicted expenditure of the MoE funding

At this point we would expect, being 5/6 of the way through the project, and having transfered to the flat funding model to have expenditure of 83%.  The costs outlined above total 79% and do not deviate far from that amount.  The figures that are above 83% are relatively small sums - so they result in a higher percentage deviance. 

Cluster Budget Contributions

Cluster contribution is in the form of facilitator funding - FTTE's.  The clusters have contributed 0.75 FTTE  as in the original budget.  Therefore there is no negative variance issues.  The work of the facilitators in their roles as ePrincipals and as facilitators of the SCD project often difficult to tease apart.  The clusters will have contributed more time to the project than was originally budgeted for.  

Cluster Contribution Variance Issue Impact Action Planned

When you have had your Milestone approved by your National Facilitator then you can submit it as per the instructions on page 1 of this template.