In 2012 many new schools across the country began their Ultranet journeys. As the year draws to a close they are reflecting on what they have achieved and looking ahead to the next steps.
The teachers at Newlands School in Wellington have focused on creating their virtual classrooms. Their implementation team meet each week to share progress, encourage and support one another and to make themselves available to assist other teachers. They are working on ‘one step at a time’ and are very aware they need to work as a team to keep progress at a steady pace.
Forrest Hill School on Auckland’s North Shore set forth with gusto aiming to tackle both virtual classrooms and redevelopment of their website in their first 12 months. They have ended the year having successfully launched their new website and with vibrant class pages that support the learning happening across the school.
Key elements in their approach that have contributed to their success have been:
- Ensuring the implementation team were confident with the functionality of Ultranet before mentoring others across the school.
- Giving much thought to ‘mapping’ out the user experience they wanted to create.
- Setting an expectation that all teachers would establish their own virtual classroom and providing differentiated support to enable this to happen.
- Having the implementation team committed to ‘leading by example’, modeling effective use and generating evidence of beneficial outcomes so as to encourage other staff to get on board and use Ultranet as a further platform for learning.
And their recommendations for those travelling this path in 2013 are…
“Choose a group of people who are interested and who get enthusiastic about new things. Have a team (5 people rather than just a couple). Set a specific time every week to share ideas, help each other with problems and have a play – this is vital! This was also a key factor in the success of wider deployment – there were five of us to help roll it out! In staff meetings we took turns teaching new skills and our morning meetings were designated ‘free time’ so that we weren’t doing anything specific but we could just help everyone from where they were at. The staff liked that aspect.”
- Implementation team at Newlands Primary School.
“In terms of a top tip regarding successful implementation I would say that we worked hard to move together as a staff, so that we were all working on building the same pages/parts of Ultranet, and then using them in our class. This meant that we were able to share and talk about the same/similar problems, and also successes, which others could learn from and build on themselves.”
- Implementation team at Forrest Hill School.