Using teaching as inquiry to inform an e-learning action plan - the process, the outcomes and the plans for 2012

Below is an overview of our ICT PD plans for 2011, outcomes and our plans for 2012. This was originally written for milestone reporting purposes, but hopefully it provides a view of our ICT PD journey - where we came and where we are heading to. If you are interested in seeing more about our ICT PD programme you can check our group on the Ministry of Education (NZ) Virtual Learning Network (VLN).  

Epsom Girls Grammar School on the VLN

Background and Context

Year level: Years 9-13
Cluster type: Single School Cluster
Context: Large Decile 9 Girls Secondary School
Research model used:Teaching as Inquiry

Aims and Purpose

The intention of using a Teaching as Inquiry cycle to inform an 'E-Learning Action Plan', was to provide staff across the curriculum areas with a tool and a process to guide their integration of e-learning tools and strategies (ICTPD National Goal 3) in way that was directly related to student outcomes. It was hoped that this process would both support the teacher in their planning, provide a plan that would signal the areas that they needed ICT PD support in, and also provide a level of accountablilty as 'E-learning Action Plans' were published and shared. The main aim and purpose of this process was to keep the focus primarily on the student and their learning and not the ICT tool and/or strategy.

 Method, Interventions and Actions


Learning Areas were expected to undertake a year-long Teaching as Inquiry project to support ICT PD PLGs. This would allow Learning Areas to contextualise the ICT PD to meet the needs of their specific learning area. All ICT PD would still be guided by the national and school goals and LADS and e-mentors will work closely with the Director of e-learning to assure a focus on how we can improve student engagement through the integration of ICT strategies to enhance:
a)      Student centred learning
b)      Strong learning relationships between teachers, students and caregivers
Since any teaching strategy works differently in different contexts for different students, effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students.
Inquiry into the teaching–learning relationship can be visualised as a cyclical process that goes on moment by moment (as teaching takes place), day by day, and over the longer term.  (NZCp.35)
image

Summary of key results

Impact on students/teachers/whanau:
The impact on students is hard to measure within a one year cycle. Several professional learning groups gathered feedback from students through evaluation forms and discussion. Students were particularly positive in regards to having access to resources and activities online and anecdotal evidence would suggest that there is an increased expectation that teachers will "put that on Moodle" or provide online means of students completing tasks. Student responses have been recorded in some of the Learning Area E-learning Action plans/PLG reports that can be accessed through the links below.
The impact on teachers has been noticeable and feedback gathered at different points of the year would suggest that teachers have increased their understanding and appreciation of the possible advantages of integrating e-learning into their teaching practice.
Links to actual reflection/classroom practice:

Drawn Conclusions and identification of recommendations and next steps

Much of what we have achieved this year has been viewed as successful, therefore we will continue with the process of using a 'Teaching as inquiry to inform an e-learning action plan', and will also continue with the support structure of a dedicated e-mentor in each Learning Area.
However, in 2012 we would like the ICT PD contract to focus more directly on the relationship between the Key Competencies (Thinking), Effective Pedagogy (Differentiation and Collaboration) and e-learning.

Three key areas of focus for 2012:
  1. Establishing online classroom environments on Moodle for all courses.
  2. Encouraging students to bring and use ‘student owned devices’.
  3. Completing another cycle of a Teaching as Inquiry e-learning action plan with a greater focus on Key competencies (to ensure we continue to reflect and question the effect of integrating e-learning and ICTs).
Moodle and Google Apps introduced in all Year 9 Subjects
All Year 9 courses will offer at least one specific opportunity for the students to engage with Moodle and Google in the first term. The Director of e-learning will work with e-mentors and LADs to develop resources and strategies for doing this.

MyPortfolio will be introduced in two ways:
  • As the mode for completing and sharing teacher appraisal and reflections (optional)
  • As the mode for completing and sharing Student Goal Setting in tutor groups (optional)
The overarching ICTPD structure will remain the same:
  • PLGs will be in Learning Areas
  • PLGs will be formed to meet the needs of each Learning Area
  • Each PLG will complete an E-learning Action Plan based on the topic focus of their choice
  • Each learning Area will have an allocated e-mentor
  • All staff will be offered a number of ICT PD workshops based on their needs
  • All staff will have access to a range of online ICTPD that can be accessed at any time
The focus will change:
2011 – Student Outcomes informed the ‘e-learning action plan’
2012 – Key Competencies (thinking) and Effective Pedagogy (collaboration, differentiation) will inform the ‘e-learning action  plan’

Changes to PD delivery:
  • Most “tools and software” workshops will be available online rather than face-to-face workshops.
  • Most “ICT PD workshops” slots will be Learning Area/PLG based and led by e-mentors to allow for focus on the teaching and learning rather than the tool.
  • More time will be dedicated to teachers having time to develop their own resources
Change to Director of e-Learning, e-Mentors and Tech Angels:
  • The Director of e-Learning will meet with each e-mentor (and LAD) on a fortnightly basis to assist with strategic planning around integration of e-learning and planning for Learning Area professional development.
  • The Director of e-Learning will have the Tech Angels as a tutor group to allow on-going development of the team.
  • Each Tech Angel will be allocated to a Learning Area to provide targeted support.
Suggested timeline for 2012
Term One
Weeks 1-5 PD focus on Key Competencies and Effective Pedagogy not IT (TOD with Pam Hook in Week 5)
Weeks 6-10 PLGs formed and ‘E-learning Action Plans’ developed
Term Two
ICTPD Workshops and/or PLG time
Mid-year feedback (milestone) gathered at end of Term 2
Term Three
ICTPD Workshops and/or PLG time
Term Four
Sharing and final feedback (milestone)

ICT PD Model 2012

Next year will be about consolidating the work we have done this year. We will continue to use the teaching as inquiry cycle to inform an e-learning action plan. There will a focus on key competencies, with a particular focus on how thinking skills can be developed, using collaborative practices and differentiation, and how this can be supported through the integration of ICT in and beyond the classroom.
image
 
ICT PD 2012 – Using Teaching as Inquiry to support an e-learning action plan
(Greater focus on specific aspects of Key Competencies)
Focussing Inquiry
What aspect of ‘thinking’ do I want to focus on?
Which class/group of students do I want focus on?
Thinking might include:
  • divergent thinking
  • creative thinking
  • critical literacy
  • digital lieracy
  • information literacy skils
  • questioning skills
Teaching and Learning Inquiry
What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn this?
In this teaching inquiry, the teacher uses evidence from research and from their own past practice and that of colleagues to plan teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritised in the focusing inquiry.
What are the collaborative and diffierentiation strategies that will best support thinking?
  • differentiation e.g. RAFT activities, tiered activities, student choice etc
  • collaboration - co-construction of text, bus stop activities etc
What are the specific ICT tools (or combination of ICT tools) and/or strategies that will best support the aspect of effective pedagogy I am focusing on:
  • Moodle - which specific resources and/or activities
  • Google Apps
  • MyPortfolio
  • Other tools and software
Teaching and learning
Teaching and Learning takes place - ICT Strategies are implemented into the classroom
i.e Moodle course pages are used in and beyond the classroom to support differentiation and/or collaboration and learning activities  that support specific aspects of thinking and developing key competencies.
Learning Inquiry
What happened as a result of the teaching, and what are the implications for future teaching?
In this learning inquiry, the teacher investigates the success of the teaching in terms of the
prioritised outcomes, using a range of assessment approaches. They do this both while learning activities are in progress and also as longer-term sequences or units of work come to an end. They then analyse and interpret the information to consider what they should do next.
i.e Have you increased/improved your pedagogy and developed strategies that support collaboration and differentiation through the use of specific ICT tools and strategies? Have you raised levels of thinking? How? Why? Why not?


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