Allister Williamson’s role as e-Learning coordinator at Pakuranga College 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.
Alister: The school decided to implement an e-learning coordinator who essentially had oversight over the whole programme. My role is primarily around professional learning and making sure that we provide a structure in which staff feel comfortable using digital technologies. On the flip side of that, looking at the students’ competency at using their devices, making sure that they are able to use them educationally as much as what they’re competent already at using them socially.
The teaching and learning progression rubrics, the whole focus around those is giving teachers some understanding as to what is the student’s minimum experience here at Pakuranga College, what is the minimum teacher competency level, what should that look like? What should that feel like? And then from there, once teachers have placed themselves upon that continuum, it provides the e-mentors with the ability to see where their staff are at so they can provide, again, more specific professional learning to their staff, but it also provides staff with an understanding of where can they go to next? It’s not an accountability stick saying teachers must be here, we need you by the end of this year to be at this level, it’s more a case of just providing staff with some clarity around what does the programme look like and where can they be on that continuum?
We were very specific as to not make that an appraisal document because then you’ve got that resistance coming back. We’ve still got a generation of teachers they’ve taught for X amount of years without it and it’s worked for them so why should we add this? And once we dig down and see that it’s about the student that’s now in front of us, they have changed, suddenly now the, perhaps, the understanding as to why we’re doing it is the adjustment.
One of the main things we did throughout this year was do a secondary audit. One of the main things to come out of that audit was that staff really required clarity around what they were doing and not introducing too much because obviously, if we want to do things school-wide, we need to make sure that we provide enough resourcing and enough professional learning that staff feel confident and capable to be able to deliver on it.
Each week, we send out a newsletter with information around the main strategic tools that we use, but then also sitting in behind that, we have an e-learning hub that’s been created. On there, it’s a bank of resources that’s been built up over a number of years, and again provides teachers with an understanding around BYOD, our e-learning programme and the ethos behind it and then also teaching and learning resources that teachers can use within their daily practice.
We have an e-learning budget for professional learning so there is the opportunity to go on external professional learning opportunities but in those e-learning meetings which we have two to three times a term, it is very much about Billy and I providing professional learning and more so as the years have progressed, the e-mentors providing each other with professional learning.