Schools in New Zealand are very good at using their websites to build home/school partnerships and to connect, communicate, celebrate and share with their community. So, why not use these website ideas and take them one step further by building up shared online learning hubs inside Ultranet. You can use these to connect staff with professional learning and school administration and to connect your whole community with the curriculum.
Most schools I work with choose to use The eLearning Planning Framework, (written by the Te Toi Tupu Consortium on behalf of the Ministry of Education) as a self review tool to plot their next steps for school-wide implementation of elearning. Often we begin with the “Beyond the Classroom” dimension. Rewriting the descriptors as questions encourages us to think about the purposes for using technology and the purpose for online learning in our schools.
- How do you use technologies to engage with whānau / iwi and community, in culturally responsive ways?
- How do you engage with whānau / iwi and community to help students learn effectively and safely online?
- How do you find ways to make digital technologies and digital literacy available to support home-school partnerships?
- How does your school use digital technologies to connect for learning, locally and globally?
Usually, it does not take long for our professional learning discussions to move on from “Beyond the Classroom” to the other dimensions of the framework. In so doing we are continually refining our existing understandings about how we design and deliver curriculum with what I call A3 level access (anywhere, anytime, anyplace), as well as providing inclusive learning opportunities for our 21st century students.
Using Ultranet Webpages and Virtual Classrooms to develop shared online learning zones for all ages and stages
Many schools are now starting to do just this. A great place to start is to provide A3 access to curriculum resources and content. The following examples show how some schools have developed kid friendly zones which provide access to learning resources and curriculum for the students. The idea is that these shared online learning hubs present curriculum content in a variety of ways with links to websites as well as movies, illustrations and audio files.
What could you achieve with an online hub for your staff at your school?
Bethlehem School have set up numerous shared online hubs for their staff. These hubs form an integral part of their school intranet. Here are 3 examples.
So where to from here?
Could you achieve even more with your staff online learning zone?
How are you “supplementing traditional ways of teaching as well as opening up new and different ways of learning” for your students?
Our new Ultranet Virtual Classrooms have been developed with all of this in mind and are set to provide a digital platform to help take the design and delivery of curriculum to new levels. I am looking forward to unpacking the principles behind Universal Design for Learning; providing multiple means of engagement, representation, action and expression using Ultranet Virtual Classrooms as my Digital Hub.