Hunting and Gathering

Over the last few weeks or so I have been gathering quite a bit of information from the various people involved in this project.   This started with the meet and greets of course and expanded to the first eteachers and site supervisors VC meeting for the cluster this year.  Last year the group was unable to meet at all, apart from the orientation day and although some think it really is needed, a few others probably don’t.  The meeting was very productive, although didn’t involve as much discussion as I would have liked.  This was mainly because I was going through procedure and prototcols in the new e-manual.  The meeting did reveal some issues around NCEA guidelines and moderation.  For example, whose NCEA guidelines do students follow – the delivering school or their own?

The first VC Principal’s meeting was a wee bit disappointing as we only had half turn up!  Getting the Principal’s to wrench free from their day to day duties will be one of the challenges I face.  Those who were there, committed to the idea of a shared online learning environment and going with the majority decision in terms of a particular LMS.  From here we have a major face to face meeting coming up on the 11th of April.

I have also been VCing into the various schools and speaking with students about how their distance learning courses were going.  The response has been very positive, although one or two were having problems which you would expect.  At the moment all students are completing an online survey using surveymonkey.  This will provide detailed information which I will present to to the management group and eteachers.  This will then enable us to base decisions on concrete evidence.

Purely out of interest I decided to survey the other eprincipals around the country.  The results were very interesting and made me feel comfortable about what I was doing.  Much of my time over the last two weeks has been spent working from home.  Every now and then I have travelled into Darfield, but working from home has enabled me to get through quite a bit of work.  The flexibility of hours has been great, but it comes with this feeling of guilt that I should be in a structured school environment deeling with day to day school madness.  Have I become slightly insitutionalised?  I’m sure I will get over it anyway.

The survey results suggest that the eprincipals were an experienced bunch in terms of distance learning; they largely work from home with only two permanently based at a school; they visit their cluster schools regularly with the majority doing it monthly, although a few do visit weekly (one keen sod visits every day!);  nearly all have a centralised online learning environment with Moodle the favourite (yay go Moodle!), closely followed by Knowledgenet and Scholaris; they work 40-60 hours a week with a couple of maniacs doing 70+ hours; they will report to the ministry using a mix of tools whether they be written, media or web based; half teach and half don’t (easy stats to interpret those); and they REALLY LIKE Eddie Reisch (or they are lying).

Now, I think I am finally up to date with my posts.

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