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Leading e-Learning

“Schools should explore not only how ICT can supplement traditional ways of teaching but also how it can open up new and different ways of learning.”

The New Zealand Curriculum p. 36 

As principals lead their communities and schools in developing and reviewing their school curriculum, it is essential that there is a clear statement of intent regarding the use of digital technologies to support and transform learning.

Specific leadership strategies fall into the following broad approaches:

  • Developing a school-wide understanding of the role and importance of digital technologies to enable successful learning for all students. 
  • Developing a school vision that prepares students for the future, which is supported by the use of digital technologies. 
  • Modelling technology use by senior leaders in the school, as well as making sure teachers appreciate and experience new technologies as learners themselves before being expected to use them in classrooms.
  • Encouraging teachers to take risks and use technologies in innovative and meaningful ways to improve student learning. 
  • Making the most of available technology.

Extending innovative e-learning leadership

While digital technologies are a key element of future-focused education and can be used to support pedagogical innovation, they frequently present complex problems for school leaders (Fullan 2011Fullan and Langworthy, 2014). 

Educational consultant, Julia Atkin, discusses the process of leading e-learning in a school. She explains the importance of creating a shared vision, developing a vision that reflects the competencies students need to develop, and the importance of identifying the staff's educational needs to ensure the vision can be put into practice.

Research
  • Fullan, M. (2011). Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform. Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 204. Melbourne: Centre for Strategic Education.
  • Fullan, M. and Langworthy, M. (2014). A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning, London: Pearson.

Key considerations

  • How do you ensure the learning needs of all your students are being met? 
  • How is e-learning reflected in your school vision?
  • How are you engaging with your school community?
  • What systems have you put in place for ongoing professional learning and development?

Discussion starters

Use these discussion starters in conjunction with the e-Learning Planning Framework to begin facilitating the development of "capacity" in your school to enhance learning with and through technologies.

Discussion starters for principals and school leaders

Students in the classroom
  • How active is the principal in fostering e-learning across the school?
  • How is e-learning leadership distributed throughout the school?
  • Who is involved in e-learning strategic planning for all students, for example, e-Learning leader, e-learning mentors, Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)?
  • Have the e-learning skills, knowledge, understandings, roles, and responsibilities for staff been clearly identified?
  • How will individuals, teams, and the whole school be supported to build e-learning capability?
  • How you are engaging with your parent community about e-learning?

Discussion starters for teachers

  • How are you leading e-learning in your classroom to ensure all students are included and their learning needs are being met?
  • How you are supporting, or leading, e-learning with your peers?
  • How are you using digital technologies to engage with parents, and the wider school community?

Enabling e-Learning: leadership community discussions

Join the discussions or create your own thread in the enabling e-learning: leadership community.

Practical steps

Steps for principals and school leaders

Establish a clear structure for leading e-learning

  • Establish a clear structure that shares responsibility for leading e-learning across the school, led by the Principal.
  • Select key personnel with clear roles and responsibilities for leading and supporting learning with digital technologies – develop e-leaders in your school.
  • Support individuals, teams, and whole-school staff development through planned and targeted professional learning opportunities.
  • Make sure organisational systems (time, space, infrastructure) are in place for the sustainable leadership of e-learning across the school.
  • Provide teachers with time and guidance to inquire into their practice and understand how they can use digital technologies to improve student learning, include a focus on using digital technologies to support learners at risk of not achieving.
  • Align reflection and review cycles to teacher learning and appraisal to sustain successful e-learning across your school.

Principal Melissa Bell and e-learning leaders at St Hilda's Collegiate describe the e-Learning PD they have in place to support teachers. It began with upskilling teachers on how to use their "system" and working digitally. Key features include short, weekly meetings, and classroom support from the e-learning team.

Developing e-learning at Hillcrest High School 

e-Learning teacher Mervyn Cook, from Hillcrest High School, discusses the connect between teachers and students engaging with technology to support e-learning.

Implementing iPads in school – professional development

When implementing new technologies, staff professional development is important. Principal, Chris McKinlay, describes how iPads were introduced first to staff and then into the classroom. He talks of the importance of a whole school approach, and outlines plans for further PD.

EDtalks: Feel the fear – change and ICT leadership

In this EDtalks video, Tony Gilbert, deputy principal at Green Bay High School, discusses planning and leading change focused on developing ICT capability. He talks about the importance of having a plan that is developed and shared with staff so they understand the purpose for change.

Leading e-learning at St Margaret's College 

Brian Woods, digital learning facilitator at St Margaret's College, outlines their approach to integrating 1-1 laptops into the classrooms, and a learning management system in this clip from NZC Online. Brian describes their process for change and the rationale for beginning with an opt in volunteer scheme. 

Te Apiti ICT Cluster – Strong leadership of e-learningStrong leadership of e-learning focuses on developing e-learning leadership with school principals to drive change through planning, facilitation, and the inquiry cycle. The reflective summary describes how each school has written an e-learning action plan based on their goals. The summary includes video clips with principals describing their e-learning leadership.

Matata School, "First-time principal embraces Blended e-Learning"Matata School principal, Angelique Bidois, says in this Education Gazette article, "Being on the Blended e-Learning (BeL) contract has focused our thinking more intentionally on utilising e-learning tools and technologies, along with effective teaching strategies, to improve learning outcomes for our students”. Staff are using the e-Learning Planning Framework to identify where they are in terms of e-learning capability, and plan their next steps.

Mt Albert SchoolUnasa Enosa Auva’a, principal of Mount Albert School, articulates his role as leader of e-learning in this YouTube video clip Mt Albert school principal May 2011

Role of the e-leader

"Our definition of e-leadership describes it as a social influence process that takes advantage of ICT to produce changes in attitudes, knowledge, behaviour, and performance."

Mishra, Henrikson, Boltz, and Richardson (2016)

The role of e-leader can be developed to support the implementation of your digital technologies plan. This may include:

  • exploring and sharing current research, effective e-learning pedagogy, and practice
  • supporting teacher inquires into practice and identifing how digital technologies can support inclusion, student engagement, learning, and collaboration
  • modelling and sharing effective use of technologies
  • setting up systems to support students with using digital technologies for learning
  • researching new software for learning, making recommendations, and providing support to teachers for use with students
  • liaising with your schools technical support to ensure your infrastructure is working
  • developing policy and systems for digital citizenship and cybersafety
  • setting up social media systems to connect with parents, whānau, and the wider community
  • promoting the value of e-learning with students, parents, and whānau within and beyond the classroom
  • supporting staff to use digital technologies to develop collaborative partnerships with colleagues, parents and whānau, and the wider community.

Allister Williamson describes his role as e-Learning coordinator at Pakuranga College, which involves overseeing their professional learning programme. They have systems in place to support teachers with learning to use digital technologies effectively. These include: whole school audits of capability, a system of rubrics to support teachers with next steps for learning, a professional learning programme based on teacher inquiry supported by e-mentors.

Jane Danielson, Principal of Hingnaia Peninsula School, describes the role of the e-leader in her school as being, "a person who will facilitate learning for our whole community – students, teachers, and parents." She outlines the process for developing understanding of how to use technologies to enhance the learning process. 

Leading teacher PLD

In a continuously evolving digital landscape, the role of the e-leader can be crucial in bringing your school into the 21st century.

Core components of new pedagogies

Core components of new pedagogies

"New pedagogies" – a new model of learning partnerships between and among students and teachers, aiming towards deep learning goals and enabled by pervasive digital access.

Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (2014). A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning. Pearson

By taking a leading role in on-going professional development an effective e-leader can support deep learning enabled by digital technologies through:

  • researching, sharing, and modelling the effective use of digital technologies
  • reviewing e-learning strategies from different pedagogical perspectives
  • supporting teachers with their inquires and modelling the use of e-portfolios as a means of collecting evidence for teacher-led inquiry
  • supporting teachers to take risks
  • promoting collaboration between teachers, teams, and school clusters in teacher planning
  • supporting teachers with using tools such as the SAMR model to understand how digital technologies can impact on teaching and learning
  • increasing digital literacy and confidence, and reducing fear among staff by organising participation in hands-on professional development activities and modelling the use of new technologies
  • supporting staff to use your school's learning management system (LMS) and student management system (SMS) effectively.

Woodend School Deputy Principal, Adriene Simpson explains how to use the spiral of inquiry as a framework to identify how to move forward with innovative learning practices and learning with digital technologies. She highlights the importance of their e-leaders in this process.

Key resource
e-Learning Planning Framework

Establishing and supporting teaching as inquiry

School stories describing how schools have setup and used the teacher inquiry cycle as part of their professional learning and development programme.

Developing systems to improve student learning outcomes

Simply giving students access to digital technologies is not enough to make effective use of digital resources. An effective e-leader supports teachers to and students to collaborate and seek deeper learning outcomes using digital tools and resources.

Examples of goals and actions for e-learning 

Pedagogical goals for e-learning  Strategies and actions for achieving e-learning goals                                
  • Increase student agency

Develop systems for students to define their own learning goals and seek out the digital tools they need to achieve them, for example:

  • graphic organisers to scaffold students into organising their learning
  • flip learning – use video, google sites, moodle so students can preview, review and revisit key concepts
  • Encourage students to become active creators of knowledge

Provide access to multimedia tools for students to create and share their learning, for example:

  • podcasts
  • GAFE – blogger, google sites
  • prezis
  • school YouTube account
  • Provide opportunities for collaborative learning – teacher-student, student-student, student and experts both inside and outside the classroom
Use collaborative tools such as PadletMyPortfolioGoogle Classroom, Google Docs, and other forums, wikis, and blogs.
  • Identify and remove barriers to learning and provide an inclusive environment

Identify digital technologies and ways they can be used to support students to participate fully in the school curriculum, for example:

  • Support students to set realistic goals and be reflective learners

e-Portfolios such as MyPortfolio can be used by students to collate, display, evaluate, and reflect on their work, as well as take control of their own learning, for example:

Key resources
A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning

A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning

This paper describes how schools can use digital technologies to embody current pedagogical approaches – see pages 30-38.

Supporting development of digital infrastructure to create an innovative learning environment

The possibilities of wifi have led many schools to re-consider the traditional computer-lab model for using digital resources. There are many innovative ways to build a digital learning environment. Your e-leader can help plan and implement arrangements that best support your e-learning vision.

An e-leader can support your infrastructure and digital learning environment development by:

  • researching and advising on what kind of digital environments best support your e-learning vision, for example planning a BYOD trial
  • implementing security and privacy protections, and developing a program for digital citizenship
  • setting up systems to review which devices best support student learning in your school
  • identifying and trialling new software and apps to support student learning, teacher, and student collaboration
Key resources

Conditions for effective smart learning environments 

Rob Koper's 2014 paper gives a deeper interrogation into the pedagogical implications of different digital learning environments.

OECD (2015), Students, computers and learning: Making the connections, Pisa, OECD publishing

For a broad overview of current international trends in ICT infrastructure, see this OECD report.

Building and maintaining parent and community relationships through social media

Digital technologies allow schools to engage with parents, whānau, and the wider school community. An e-leader can take on a defined role in supporting your school to use social media to build and maintain community relationships. 

An effective e-leader can build communication with parents and community partners by:      

  • using social media to engage with parents, whānau, and the community by updating school events on school websites, blogs, Twitter and/or Facebook
  • using digital technologies and social media to build a sense of school culture, for example, by encouraging students to promote school values by performing them in dance, filming it, and making the video available on the school website/Facebook page
  • maintaining a school YouTube channel that showcases events, student movie-making, and learning
  • using social media to increase student voice by allowing them to take control of projects and show them to the community
  • using blogs and e-portfolio platforms like MyPortfolio to place student work online to keep parents connected to their child’s learning
  • managing the ethical use of social media in schools by forming a social media policy
  • using collaborative tools such as Google Docs to help staff work together with other schools, clusters, other institutions, and community groups
  • developing policy and systems for digital citizenship and cybersafety.

Teacher, Nicki Fielder and students from Apiti School explain the different social media tools they use to connect with parents and the wider community. These are all housed within a Weebly and have been selected for specific purposes. They include:

  • wikis for student e-portfolios
  • blogs for sharing student writing
  • a school YouTube channel to house all the student created videos.

Developing e-leaders in your school

The size of your school will affect how many e-leaders you will have and whether you create an e-leadership team, which may include your technical support, communications person, and e-mentors or e-leaders.

Practical steps in developing e-leaders 

  • Identify staff members who are excited by/have strengths in using digital technologies to enhance student learning.
  • Develop clear roles and responsibilities for leading and supporting learning with digital technologies.
  • Support e-leaders with their own professional learning, this maybe through sharing across a cluster, or providing them with time for their own research.

Three teachers from Woodend School explain how being part of the Katote cluster has benefited them. The schools in the cluster have collaborated by sharing ideas from their PD and the tools they have implemented in their classrooms.

Key resource

School leadership for ICT and teachers' use of digital tools (2013) is a review of different types of leadership in e-learning. In the article, Geir Ottestad's outlines three pedagogical approaches to e-leadership in a school: distributed, pedagogical, and transformational.

Videos of New Zealand schools sharing their e-learning leadership. Use the filters to select videos relevant to your situation.

Julia Atkin

Leading e-learning

Educational consultant, Julia Atkin, discusses the process of leading e-learning in a school. She explains the importance of creating a shared vision that reflects the competencies students need to develop, and identifying teacher needs to ensure the vision can be put into practice.

Jane Danielson

Role of the e-learning leader

Jane Danielson, principal of Hingaia Peninsula School, explains the role of their e-learning leader.

Support for teachers

Support for teachers

Principal Melissa Bell and the e-learning leaders at St Hilda's Collegiate describe the professional development they have in place to support teachers with teaching and learning.

Technology supporting the school vision

Technology supporting the school vision

Principal Melissa Bell describes St Hilda's school vision and how it is supported and enabled by technology.

Implementing iPads in school - professional development

Implementing iPads in school – professional development

Grant's Braes School principal, Chris McKinlay describes how iPads were introduced first to staff then into the classroom.

Orewa College - A vision for e-learning

Orewa College – A vision for e-learning

Mark Quigley, Deputy Principal, and Tony Zaloum, Director ICT Projects, explain their vision for e-learning as they embark on implementing BYOD for Year 9 students at Orewa College.

Strategic planning for e-learning

Strategic planning for e-learning

Irene Cooper, principal of Hillcrest Normal School in Hamilton, talks how e-learning helps to engage differently with students.

Developing e-learning at Hillcrest

Developing e-learning at Hillcrest High School

e-Learning teacher Mervyn Cook, from Hillcrest High School, discusses the connect between teachers and students engaging with technology to support e-learning.

Hereora leaders discuss shared plans and goals

Hereoa – Clarifying goals using spirals of inquiry

Hereora cluster leaders discuss how the spirals of inquiry has been a useful tool to develop focus and coherence across the cluster. 

Hereora leaders share cluster development

Hereora – Becoming a truly collaborative cluster

Hereora cluster leaders share how a collaborative and future-focused inquiry has supported new cluster goals and a shared vision.

Hereora: Discussing future-focused collaboration

Hereora – A future-focused collaboration

Hereora leaders share how their cluster wide future-focused inquiry is providing students with opportunities to have agency over decisions around learning.

Pedagogy underpins practice in an innovative learning environment

Pedagogy underpins practice in an innovative learning environment

Gavin Burn and Cathie Zelas explain their process of moving from a traditional learning environment to an innovative learning environment at Halswell School.

Planning the new build, a school and community partnership

Planning the new build, a school and community partnership

Halswell School principal, Bruce Topham explains key steps in planning and building an innovative learning environment that is part of the community.

Planning for change

Planning for change

Graeme Barber, Principal at Woodend School, discusses the importance of having a shared vision as your prepare for change. When planning their new build, the community was involved.

Planning for success for Māori across the Katote cluster

Planning for success for Māori across the Katote cluster

Supporting Māori learners success is one of Katote clusters goals. Woodend School principal, Graeme Barber discusses the process of inviting feedback from whānau. 

Supporting successful BYOD implementation

Supporting successful BYOD implementation

e-Learning co-ordinator, Allistair Williamson explains key steps for implementing BYOD at Pakuranga College. 

BYOD – Planning your digital strategy

BYOD – Planning your digital strategy

Michael Williams, principal Pakuranga College, discusses some of the key questions they worked through when developing their digital strategy.

Professional learning – e-Learning coordinator role

Professional learning – e-Learning coordinator role

Allister Williamson explains his role as e-Learning coordinator at Pakuranga College, which involves overseeing their professional learning programme.

Planning for success – Be clear about your purpose

Planning for success – Be clear about your purpose

The principal and deputy principal of Pakuranga College talk about planning for successful implementation of BYOD across the school.

Selecting a device for BYOD

Selecting a device for BYOD

Michael Williams and Billy Merchant from Pakuranga College, explain their change in pedagogy from telling students which device to purchase to being "device agnostic". 

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Resources

Resources

Kiwi leadership for principals (KLP)

This document presents a model of leadership that reflects the qualities, knowledge, and skills required to lead New Zealand schools from the present to the future, and focuses particularly on the role of the principal as an educational leader. It can be viewed or downloaded from the Educational Leaders website.

Self-review tool for in-school leaders

This self-review tool, from NZ Curriculum Online, supports in-school leaders as they work with their teachers and boards of trustees to use the National Standards.

Ruia – Teacher appraisal for Māori learners' success

A resource for principals and other school leaders who want appraisal to lead to deep learning for teachers and to educational success for Māori students. Find out more about this Ministry of Education resource and its development on the Educational Leaders website.

e-Learning Planning Framework

The framework provides school leaders with:

  • a self-review tool for schools to gather evidence about practice
  • a road map for building e-learning capability
  • a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning programmes
  • resources and services to support schools as they build capability.

Framework for developing a strategic plan for learning through ICT.docx 

This planning template is adapted from the review questions from Naace's (previously Becta) Self-review framework. It takes into consideration The NZ Curriculum and is designed to assist strategic planning for learning about, with, and through ICT.

Effective educational leadership (Measurable Gains Framework, 2.2)

This rubric helps school evaluate how well they are progressing in relation to effective educational leadership that develops culturally responsive learning contexts and systems.

Leading change

Resources, supporting materials, and digital stories focused on how to lead successful change in your school located on NZ Curriculum Online.

LoTi Framework

The LoTi Framework measures classroom teachers' implementation of e-learning. It focuses on the effective use of digital tools and resources to promote higher order thinking, engaged student learning, and authentic assessment practices in the classroom. This is an American website.

ICT PD strategic planning wiki

This wiki provides guidance and support on how to develop a long-term strategic plan that will enable your school's vision to be realised. Within the wiki are useful readings, templates, and examples of strategic plans.

Educational leaders

The future schools and innovation section provides current research and readings on leading and managing change.

eLearning ICT showcases l eLearning leadership

This link, from the Department of Education and Childhood Development, Victoria, Australia, provides some useful quotes, ideas, and resources to support e-learning leadership in your school.

cloudlearn report: phase 1 effective practice for schools moving to end locking and blocking in the classroom

Cloudlearn report phase 1: Effective practice for schools looking to end locking and blocking in the classroom

For further information in using social media safely and ethically.

Research

Research and readings

A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning

A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning

This paper describes how schools can use digital technologies to embody current pedagogical approaches.

Extending innovative e-learning leadership

Extending innovative e-learning leadership 

This 2015 study by Niki Davis, Julie Mackey, and Carolyn Stuart gives examples of how schools in New Zealand are using digital technologies to enable e-learning.

e-Learning and implications for New Zealand school: a literature review 

This 2010 literature review by Noeline Wright, draws together academic case studies and publications that discuss e-learning from a New Zealand school perspective.

Conditions for effective smart learning environments 

Rob Koper's 2014 paper gives a deeper interrogation into the pedagogical implications of different digital learning environments.

OECD (2015), Students, computers and learning: Making the connections, Pisa, OECD publishing

For a broad overview of current international trends in ICT infrastructure, see this OECD report.

Eight forces for leaders of change

This article from Educational Leaders by Michael Fullan, Claudia Cuttress, and Ann Kilcher, outlines eight forces for managing the change process, and contains suggested topics for discussion and evaluation. This information is useful for those beginning a phase of change. It provides a useful reading to share with staff so that they understand the various stages in the process of implementing change in a school.

Leading change

This New Zealand Education Gazette article, 9 March 2009, looks at how leadership was the key to fostering Māori education success in a small rural Northland school. It outlines examples of the clearly visible correlation between culture and learner achievement. 

School leadership and student outcomes – Identifying what works and why

This leadership synthesis has analysed national and international evidence on the impact of leadership on a wide range of student outcomes.

School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why – best evidence synthesis (BES)

The big finding of the BES is that when school leaders promote and/or participate in effective teacher professional learning, this has twice the impact on student outcomes across a school than any other leadership activity. New Zealand principals spend less time on those activities that make the most difference than many of their international peers.

Extending innovative e-learning leadership

In this project, the researchers worked with experienced principals to identify and analyse effective e-learning leadership strategies, and make these visible and accessible for other school leaders.

School leadership for ICT and teachers' use of digital tools

Geir Ottestad outlines three pedagogical approaches to e-leadership in a school: distributed, pedagogical, and transformational.

e-Leadership and teacher development using ICT

This article explains how your use of digital technologies can be understood through a "Replacement, Amplification, and Transformation (RAT)" framework. Published: 2016. 

More readings »


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