The organisation I selected is a small school in a rural area of New Zealand.
This assessment was conducted as a personal learning exercise to gain understanding of the ePLF and my assessments are restricted to public documentation without detailed insights into all organisational processes.
Evidence used to inform my value judgments included the current school charter, Student achievement policy, school curriculum and discussion with a staff member.
Leadership and strategic direction
School documents refer to e-learning and use of technology in the classroom. The importance of cyber safety is included at policy level and suggests the regular use of safety programmes to support digital citizenship skills. While use of these are mentioned there is no description of how they will be used to support or enhance learning. There is not yet an explicit plan for developing digital citizenship skills. Staff have indicated that they are supportive of these developments.
The culture of the school is very supportive and teachers work together to develop sound practice. Teaching as inquiry is expected and incorporated into the appraisal system, however does not explicitly focus on e-learning skills. ICT PD has largely focused on the use of technologies, not pedagogical practice to support effective use.
Technologies and Infrastructure
Significant investment in resources has been made over the past few years to ensure that teachers and admin staff have reliable access to internet, including mounted projectors, school-wide intranet, and student devices. However, as the usage is increasing the reliability is decreasing as it struggles to cope with demand.
Technical support is limited by budget and school location. This has meant that key staff members have developed many problem solving skills. The school does have a flexible budget for technical needs, however increased costs of upgrading infrastructure to include more robust wireless access and UFB will need to be considered.
Teaching and learning
The school staff and leadership have identified the importance of e-learning and want to establish a cohesive curriculum that include e-learning appropriate to their context. Digital citizenship has been explored with some classes, however it is not consistent throughout the school. Teachers are using their own technologies based on their knowledge and skill level and trial specific technologies to address identified learning needs. Older students within the school are beginning to use technologies to support authentic learning, however most activities require a response, not collaboration.
Assessment is largely completed in traditional formats, however participation online is seen as an effective record of learning.
Beyond the classroom
The use of school blogs, online access to newsletters and photographs has increased community engagement; however this does not regularly address impact of technology on learning. The community do not regularly respond online although many do comment on blog posts in person rather than committing to online publication of comments. Some families do not have internet access at home due to financial restraints or infrastructure limitations.
While the school is at the emerging stage, from discussions with the staff member, the school as a whole is keen to develop their practice to enhance the learning opportunities of their learners and see development of e-learning policy and practice as an effective way to do this.
Ministry of Education. (2013). e-Learning Planning Framework. Retrieved from Enabling e-Learning: http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/e-Learning-Planning-Framework2#framework