Why communities of schools?

Why cluster or develop communities of schools?  Here are a few reasons taken from a proposal that will go to AorakiNet and Cantatech Principals soon.  Thanks to the VLN community for the contributions.

Benefits to the learner

  • Broad subject choice and greater personalisation of learning as a result
  • Flexibility. Students are not confined to a classroom for a certain number of hours on a given day, they can approach their coursework with flexibility
  • Fewer timetabling constraints on subject choice
  • Working with new people.  The opportunity to work with students from a range of different backgrounds and from different parts of the country can be appealing to students who live in a small rural community
  • Self-paced learning. For slow and quick learners. This reduces stress and increases satisfaction
  • The opportunity to take responsibility for their learning and develop lifelong skills
  • Potential for more individualised learning with smaller course groups than in many secondary schools

Benefits to staff

  • Professional development in the pedagocial application of eLearning (whether fully online or blended)
  • Professional development in eLearning tools (Moodle, Google Apps, etc.)
  • An opportunity to teach their specialist senior subject regardless of  numbers ‘locally’
  • Remote access to meetings and professional development
  • The opportunity to connect with like-minded teachers and develop professional networks
  • Access to a free online environment that includes an LMS (Moodle), Google Apps for Education and an ePortfolio system (Mahara)

Benefits to schools

  • Able to access 23 online courses through the cluster and over 250 courses through the Virtual Learning Network
  • Able to more effectively personalise learning for students
  • Professional development of some teachers in the pedagogical application of eLearning
  • Involvement in the Blended Learning Project running from 2010-2012
  • Able to develop self-managing students
  • Access to a free online environment that includes an LMS (Moodle), Google Apps for Education and an ePortfolio system (Mahara) for all teachers and learners.
  • Opportunities for teachers to collaborate through the LMS and Google Apps and therefore better cater to the needs of individual students.
  • Access to collaborative projects including:
    • a gifted and talented programme for juniors
    • development of online communities of practice for general teaching staff
    • A national Scholarship mentoring programme
  • eLearning advice and guidance for school leadership
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