Professional Learning Group, eLearning and eTools

As tools and pedagogical practises evolve and change who do we rely on as Christian Educators to inform us on Best Practise? Do iPods and iPads make a difference to student achievement.

This Professional Learning Group proposes to use the passion and knowledge of people within our collective of schools to commit to meeting together, participate and provide readings and to reflect through the use of blogs about eTools and eLearning practises which we consider noteworthy. ie those which we consider will contribute to student achievement.

The group would meet together once a term, participating in and providing professional reading in eLearning and contributing to an eLearning blog in response to each reading.   The objective for the professional group would be to put together a paper/presentation about effective eLearning tools and practises for Christian Schools in New Zealand.  People from outside the group would be able to keep abreast of the readings and reflections through the participants blogs.

In order to participate in the group candidates would FIRSTLY, and very importantly be teachers who are recognised by their school leadership as a very good classroom practitioner, and secondly (not to be confused as the most important) someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about ICT.  Our meetings will be spread around participant's schools and schools with a strong reputation in this area. The expectation is to see good practise where possible.

Requirements for participating schools would be that the teachers involved will be released for two days per term – one for meeting, discussion and debate, and one for professional reading and reflection.  Schools would also need to cover some travel and actual expenses.

To register your interest in this Professional Learning Group please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Nationalised Testing and Accountability


This morning I could hardly believe what I read in the newspaper. An article was written of a principal's reaction to the soon to be reality of Nationalised testing.  This principal said he would find the test which produced the best results and then fudge the tests so he would have the most successful school around and parents would flock to his school!
I agree with one thing - that we would be well advised to use the test which gave the best results ( this really a good Christian response?  Maybe as far as being good stewards goes) However, to fudge test results, what would this prove!
I do realise there is a concern from many principals that the results of the testing will be published to the masses in the form of league tables. That parents would not be able in interpret the leagues accurately with decile, gender and ethnicity in mind. However it does evoke a Christian response!! I am unsure of the validity of the concern from any Christian Educators perspective.  
Surely we will have the opportunity to 'educate' our parents (newsletters/website/parent meeting) about the outcomes of the school and what if the testing finds 'failures' in and shortcomings in our systems and/or school curriculum.  Do we not want the best for our students?  I know the resounding answer to this question is yes, but is it yes, so long as I do not have to eat humble pie?
I have always found parents to be very supportive of the school so long as nothing 'surprises' them.  With the ongoing standardised testing we have at school, parents already know which areas of the curriculum our school is strong at and where the weaknesses are.  They also know what we are doing to strengthen such weaknesses.   
As a Christian Educator I would have serious concerns if coming accountable to our parents would be such a concern.  The publication of assessment results surely is secondary to the accountability we have before the Lord in the running of our schools. 
Well that is my take for what it is worth, bring on the testing, I look forward to finding areas I can improve on...hang on haven't we been doing this for years...I guess I might be concerned if I had been hiding weaknesses from the parents...



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