eLearning Journey

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

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In my first year teaching, I had a year five and six class, at a decile one school in South Auckland.

The extent of my eLearning was using 3x3 links as a homepage for the five classroom computers. Interactive games were added into the 3x3 links page. I would change the games each term. This helped me try to manage what websites students visited while on the computers.

Today I uses a google site as there is not limit to the amount of pages, therefore I don't need to spend the school break changing the games, they are always there.

My class was also allocated a number of iPads. I downloaded apps for reading, maths and spelling and put them into folders. Students could go into the folder during when that lesson was in progress.

I would help fix other teachers simple computer issues, such as connecting to printer or Mimio tools and projectors.

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I was asked to take on the eLearning role. This was pretty overwhelming. I did not have a clue of what I needed to do.

I helped set up every teachers iPad like mine and we researched effective apps and used our small budget to purchase some. This was as far as I got during this busy second year as a beginning teacher.

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I connected with Cyclone Computers and a consultant came out and we analysed where the school was at, and where we wanted our focus to be. Being a school that used Office 365, I wanted teachers to learn how to use it effectively, save time and less photocopying. I was very conscious of coming across as a know all, so I always tried to get external providers in to present at a staff meeting. It is amazing the help that is available for free or with a bit of paper work for ministry funding. Together we managed to get rid of the physical school diary and go digital. The daily notices for teachers was uploaded to Yammer, an Office 365 social space. This saved a lot of time in the mornings going to different physical places to check on what was happening for the day.

One Office 365 feature I loved was Sway. I made weekly class newsletters on it. I could text the code for parents to access it. This was an effective informal way for teachers to see what has happened in class each week. Much like how I get through Storypark with my toddler at daycare. It is still the highlight of my day seeing what my child has been up to and the fun, learning and development.

I was fortunate enough to bring the Digital Learning Experience to my class. It was incredible. Together we learned how to integrate devices (1:1) into everything we did. Behaviour management was not an issue and student engagement was very high. An incredible experience for all involved. Once the devices were returned, we worked out how we could incorporate what we were doing 1:1 with ten iPads and five computers. See more about this in the Digital Learning Experience blog.

I started the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital. If you are undecided on whether to do this course, I would highly recommend it. I loved how practical it was and the networking that took place. I still keep in contact with colleagues I met along the way.

It broadened my thinking of how to integrate digital technologies into everyday teaching and learning. I learned about myself as a leader, and how I aspire to be, and how to get there. I implemented change with digital elements into the school and reflected on what worked and what didn't alongside my colleagues at school and on the course. See more about this in the Mind Lab Postgraduate blog posts.

From this learning, one teaching approach stood out at me. Blended Learning. Typically blended learning is when the students do the learning for homework. They may watch a tutorial about what they will be doing the next day. When they come to school they are prepared to get stuck into the nitty gritty of the learnng. I love this concept but it wasn't possible for my students. Most of them had no internet at home, let alone a device to work on other than a parents smart phone. I came up with a modified blended learning version for in school that I like to call, blended rotation.

Here is how I see it working.

- five or more stations are set up

- one station could have the online tutorial

- one could be having a go at the learning and practicing individually

- one could be a hands on, materials exploration of the learning

- another could be with the teacher getting further support

- if a student comes in late, they can slot right in

- learning could be done this way in many learning areas

- teacher could roam a bit

I cannot wait to get back into the classroom to give this a go, now I have wrapped my head around it.

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During term 1, I planned and taught all classes digital technologies lessons from the new curriculum. It was fun to teach all classrooms and see students love learning about how to think like a computer.

I had my first child and was on maternity leave while I completed the Mind Lab Postgraduate certificate.

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Started new teaching position in a decile 9 school on Auckland's North Shore. I assisted the eLeader in the school and attended ULearn. An incredible conference.

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On maternity leave with my second child. Covid19 lockdown happened and I wanted to do my bit as a teacher. I had started my own private YouTube channel, reading picture books for my toddler to follow along with. I decided to make this public and shared it on different education social media pages. A story was uploaded each day and now there are hundreds. Teachers used the stories as apart of their online distance learning.