Kathy Moy-Low (past principal of Holy Cross School) describes how she planned and implemented processes to ensure sustainability and capability of e-learning across the school. She explains her role as a leader, the importance of selecting key leaders, and professional development. e-Learning was a major professional development for 2013. Kathy explains the importance of linking professional development into team meetings, staff meetings, senior leadership meetings. Through sharing teacher inquiries and facilitating a culture of learning among teachers, teacher practice is improved and consolidated across the school. Kathy comments, "One of the factors on building sustainability is providing a safe environment for teachers to take risks in their e-learning practice."
As a leader of this school, it’s important to keep in mind the sustainability and capability of the leadership for e-learning. When I look back in our journey over the last few years I’ve seen teachers who I didn’t expect to come to the fore with e-learning have come to the fore. So, I guess the first step is to pick your key leaders, and then to look at who is the next stage behind that. Who are the practitioners in the classroom that are showing best practice for e-learning? And, trying to keep, as a leader, slightly ahead.
Another part of the sustainability is that, when we took e-learning on as a major professional development for this year and indeed 2014, then it links to all the meetings and you’re looking forward, and driving the school. So, key people in syndicates are identified so that there’s no syndicate weak in e-learning best practice teachers, so that the teams support each other. We’re making sure that it’s mentioned at senior staff meetings. It’s a regular item on the agenda. We’re making sure it’s mentioned at team meeting or syndicate meetings. We are making sure that it’s mentioned at vertical group meetings, so that everyone is talking about the inquiry of e-learning this year.
At Holy Cross, we facilitate a culture of learning among our teachers, and I’m a great believer that you can be a beginning teacher or you can be a teacher with 10 years plus experience, but if you show best practice in e-learning or best practice in the development that we’re doing, then you can be a leader of it, and it’s that culture that has helped build the sustainability as well.
One of the factors on building sustainability is providing a safe environment for teachers to take risks in their e-learning practice, and this year that’s been quite important. We haven’t had someone making a four minute walk through, or someone going to look at what they’re doing and critique them. We’ve let them smell the roses as I put it. Go and talk to your colleagues, look what’s best practice, go and have a go.
We’ve sent teachers out on Apple bus tours. We’ve gone to neighbouring schools where good practice is happening in e-learning, and we’ve tried to help the teachers have the resources that they need. If that means changing the furniture in their classroom, if it means getting more devices, if it means having sitting down and having time with the e-learning advisor to chew over an idea before trying it in their classroom, then that’s been our approach this year.