e-Tour Reflections 2010

e-Tour - Thursday May 27 2010 (Pt England, Mission Heights, Willowbank)

Papatoetoe Central School


"I particuarly enjoyed seeing how Pt England had embedded e-learning through all aspects of their teaching and learning. It was great to see the classroom computers in constant use by the children throughout the day. I also found it interesting that Willowbank are splitting up their ICT suite next year so that they will embed ICT in their classroom programmes. I came away from it quite inspired!!!"


"I really enjoyed the day seeing what other schools are doing as it showed me where we can be aiming for and I was also able to compare what we are currently doing with where we want to be. It was great seeing the children independently working on thier own learning and how excited they were about showing us it! Great to see such passion from the children and teachers."

Ramarama School


It was excellent to visit three totally different schools with different visions and different strengths! I was particularly inspired by the seamless integration of e-learning at Pt England. I really liked how they focus on only a few specific programmes but use them well throughout the school so that they become tools for learning as opposed to fancy frills adjacent to learning. It was good to see how confident and engaged all students were. I thought Mission Heights had a really interesting way of using space- with their shared learning areas and plans for a 'cybercafe'. As someone else remarked, I would like to have seen teaching and learning during a more 'normal' period of the day to see exactly how they use their impressive infrastructure. I came away with many new ideas and a greater awareness of possibilities!


Waiuku Primary School


Great day and I really enjoyed seeing the other schools. Great to observe the atmosphere, teaching spaces and school layout as well as all the great things happening in eLearning. I have wanted to visit Pt England School in the flesh for a few years now as I have followed their work, collaborated with some staff from there and got to personally know Dorothy & Russell Burt - this visit was a highlight for me! At Pt England I particularly enjoyed the students sharing aspects of eLearning with us. Dorothy's reference to the achievement data she had collected was also particularly powerful. Having never taught in a schooling-improvement school I found it powerful that they had evidence that eLearning programmes they are putting in place are ACTUALLY working and lifting their students achievement up to (and often exceeding) the national norm. In stark contrast to Pt England was the much newer school environments of Mission Heights and Willowbank. I particularly loved the layouts of both these schools with the shared space in between the 3 classrooms. I would, however, have really liked to have seen the normal teaching/learning programmes at Mission Heights and Willowbank taking place but it was still interesting to see, in particular, the choice programme that operates at Mission Heights. Overall I think what I took away most from the visits is the importance of having a shared vision of eLearning with staff and a clearly defined purpose for tools that you are using - that way we can really get to the eLearning rather than the "ICT" and transform teaching and learning programmes for the better.


It was great to have a range of totally different schools to explore. I found Pt England particularly interesting especially, because as Rachel has previously menitoned, research has been done to prove that e-learning has lifted achievment. They had changed their approach to motivate and assess using sight sound and motion - SISOMO. It was a powerful thought for me that children's attitute towards reading had changed through the dangled carrot of book reviews to an audience via podcasting. I was inspired to go and look further into some of the research paper that Dorothy had done. At Mission Heights I actually felt that the large space for the computers in the shared area was a bit of a waste. The use of e-beams for their interactive board is something I would like to know more about. I have only heard of them once before.

Everglade School


Reremoana School


I had a fantastic time on the e-tour. It was interesting to see not only the way that the schools delivered and organised e-learning but also the school/class environments, artwork and many other aspects of the school - you can get ideas from everywhere.

I was particularly impressed and inspired by what they do at Pt England School. I feel that everything there including their ethos and the way they do things was something to aspire to as not only a teacher (fitting it all in) but as a school. I was particularly interested in what Dorothy had to say about how they allow their students to have 'loose' privacy settings on their blog comments. Although this was in contrast to what I have been led to believe is best practice in schools it fit in more with my own pedagogy of e-learning - that kids need to experience the 'real world' internet in a safe environment so that when opportunities arise they can be used as teaching moments rather than something to keep hush hush.

The choices programme that was saw running at Mission Heights was very interesting and reminded me of 'elective' programmes from when I was at primary school. I liked the layout of the computers both in the class room and pods of stationed in the shared spaces between classrooms but I wonder whether we saw them at their optimum use time or not.

Willowbank reminded me in a lot of ways of our own school. It was interesting to look at a more 'inquiry' line of thinking here as that is something that I have identified that I need to work on personally. Again, I wonder with the time of day that it was whether it was the optimum time to see how they were using ICTs and participating in e-learning (although I acknowledge that this couldn't be helped. In particular at Willowbank I enjoyed listening to the principal and how they use Tony Ryan as a somewhat of a mentor. It would be good to look into something like this for our cluster.

Last note - I loved the idea Dorothy had about doing an after school tour of schools!


I appreciated all aspects of the recent e-Tour. Pt England school’s achievements reflected their seasoned e-learning journey. It was clear that they had a well embedded philosophical and pedagogical use of e-learning - staff and students. I appreciated hearing the background of the school, and could clearly see how the way it operated was in correlation to their community’s needs. An example of this is embracing the concept of SISOMO. I liked seeing the equipment (old and new) being used seamlessly, as a tool not as an extra. The students were fantastic ambassadors, both those who initially presented, and the students I spoke with in classrooms.

I could identify with Mission Heights School, so early in to their new school journey. I enjoyed finding out why certain decisions had been made in regards to infrastructure/equipment etc. As others have mentioned I would have like to see the school operating in a ‘normal’ circumstances -. I wonder if we would have gained a fuller appreciation of how the equipment was being used in regards to the school’s philosophy.

I could also identify with what was happening at Willowbank, as there were also some similarities between us and them. I found it interesting that they were moving away from the ICT suite and having computers in classrooms only. This was a decision we made upon opening and we have often been asked why we don’t have a dedicated ICT room.

What was particularly valuable for me was sharing the experience with Viki and Kate and being able to reflect immediately together on the bus. We are all very keen to find a way to get other staff out into exemplar schools so they too can see what is possible.

e-Tour Reflections 2011