The senior leadership team at Hampden Street School explain how their e-learning plan supports their strategic plan in terms of planning for, developing, and utilising digital technologies to support learning and teaching. This has been a long and ongoing journey of development for them. Key to their success is commitment to their pedagogy.
John O’Regan: So we've really found at our school that we've chosen our devices and our tools that we're using based on the learning needs of the students so the vision is driving it.
Don McLean: We started to realise the need for a pedagogy that matched what we're going to do. We were just buying in devices and buying in bits and pieces in the school, the latest and greatest. There's nothing to connect that to the actual learning and the important thing was to develop a strategic plan and alongside it we had sort of an e-learning plan that's led us to where we wanted to go in terms of digital technology in our school. So that's been a long journey and now we’re at a point where we have students very capable on ICT.
We have staff on board and we have a capacity within the staff that now can support other staff and new staff as they come in, in terms of getting them up to speed with using the visual devices. And that’s been well supported by our Board of Trustees and that strategic plan, so each year we’ve added to the goal and added what we needed in terms of devices and things like that.
The idea is that once you’ve decided that this is what we’re going to do, and you say, “Well this is our learners. This is what would suit our learning style in our school and our teachers, staff, and that whole packet”. It's about commitment. I visited schools overseas and the thing that stood out for me was that a lot of the things they were doing weren’t all that different from what we did New Zealand. But these were top schools in terms of innovation and the key thing they had was commitment. They committed to what they were doing. This is their pedagogy. This is what they wanted to do and they committed to it.
I think in New Zealand we we’re a little bit guilty of dipping our toe in the pond and saying, “Oh, this is quite good,” and then pulling it out and going to the next pond because that looked a little bit better. If you’re looking at your school and you're saying, “This is the way you want to go”, then committing yourself to that and learning and maybe adapting and evolving as you go rather than pulling out and trying the next pond next door.