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Supporting Learning Community Clusters within the Learning with Digital Technologies programme

Supporting Learning Community Clusters in Southern Learning with Digital Technologies programme: Pauline Moore and Sarah Dwan

A focus of facilitation in the LwDT South Region is supporting Learning Community Clusters to develop and implement professional learning goals for their member schools. Learning Community Clusters (LCC) are made up of schools from across the primary, intermediate, and secondary sector, generally from the same geographic area. There are 11 LCC, comprising 65 schools. LCC leaders have worked with their member schools to develop a shared cluster vision and goals, from which programmes of PLD to meet these goals have been designed.  In this PLD model the three Christchurch providers, (Te Toi Tupu, Consortium of Professional Learning  and Te Tapuae o Rehua)  are working in collaboration to support LCCs to implement their professional learning development plans.  

Each LCC has unique features and is operating in a way designed to meet the needs of its own communities. As a result each has approached the PLD process is individualised, however some common themes have emerged. With the Christchurch renewal programme many schools are in a transition period with some schools being rebuilt, others being redeveloped, schools recognise the need to embrace innovative pedagogies in order to meet the needs of twenty-first century learners. A common theme that has emerged across the LCCs is inquiry into modern learning practice, including the effective use of technologies to support modern learners.

LwDT PLD 1

LCC models are individualised. Some LCC have opted for an eLeaders model where nominated staff from different schools come together and are then supported by LwDT South facilitators to lead the change process within their schools. Other models include LwDT South working with all staff from across LCC schools; working with senior and middle leaders from the LCC and working with syndicates. Several LCC have created a model that includes several methods of PLD delivery.

LwDT PLD 2

It is inspiring to see a real willingness from schools to work collaboratively. Many school leaders and teachers have been generous with their time, their knowledge, skills and resources. Schools are using ‘teaching as inquiry’ to inform the change process. LwDT facilitators have supported leaders to contextualise learning for their own cluster and school needs and learners. Teachers have had opportunities to participate in workshops to share thinking, learning and strategies across and between schools. Workshops have included sessions about integrating iPads into the classroom, using GAFE for collaboration, digital citizenship and modern learning pedagogies. Several LCC are engaging their parent community in discussion evenings to explore Digital Citizenship.

LwDT PLD 3

In Term 2 the Opāwaho LCC held a teacher only day where modern learning practices were modelled by facilitators. Workshop topics included collaboration and connectedness, ubiquity, agency and personal learning networks followed by a range of personal learning options relating to the effective use of e-Learning tools. This day also included visits to modern learning environments established by some schools within the LCC. Another LCC is currently visiting MLE environments in syndicate groups and then spending time discussing what they have seen, planning the ‘next steps’ for their schools and giving consideration to how the LCC can support them on this journey. The conversations that occur and the ideas that are exchanged at such events certainly demonstrate the positive mind-shift that derives from collaboration.

“[LwDT South facilitators] ran an engaging and highly motivating teacher only day, held at Wairakei Primary School on the last day of Term 1. The purpose of the day was to provide e-Tools to support our literacy programmes and their workshops lived up to our expectations. Being placed into groups that targeted our teaching levels meant we could take away content to enhance our programmes immediately, as well as make connections with other teachers in the cluster who are at the same level. This meant the learning was relevant and thought provoking.”  Ollivia Nancekivell, Junior School Teacher, Wairakei School 

Indeed, schools are now starting to report many positive results from the collaborative aspects of working in a LCC model. These include a growing awareness of modern pedagogies, increasing e-Leader confidence to work and lead in their own schools and a general enthusiasm for future collaborative ventures.  

“I am delighted at the engagement shown by teachers and their enthusiasm to take away an idea and implement it.”  Pamela Arthurs, Principal, St Peters

This graph reflects the focus after two workshops: developing positive relationships, developing a climate of sharing and cooperation and promoting communication and transparency across a LCC. 

LwDT graph

In Term 4 a focus for LwDT South will be supporting LCCs to reflect on and review this year’s PLD in order to plan for an effective 2015 programme that is both visionary and self sustaining in nature.

Please note: LCCs also include Early Years centres, though they are not covered by this MoE PLD provision.

For more information on the LwDT professional learning and development programme, visit the Learning with Digital Technologies project page or contact Margaret Lamont.