A case study of e-learning initiatives in New Zealand’s Secondary schools

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A review on the Powell 2010 paper

Research Findings:

The purpose of this study was to examine e-learning within New Zealand Secondary Schools between the years 1998 to 2010.  Specifically,the study focused on;governmental and educational policies that support e-learning initiatives,student services that are currently available,academic assessment,marketing,public relations and the administration of E-Learning.    Participants of the study were made up of 18 members of the Ministry of Education’s E-Learning team,E-Principals,and online secondary teachers in New Zealand.  Domestically E-Learning has developed largely from an identified need,that is,to support rural schools and students,to enable access to a variety of curriculum subjects that are not ordinarily available at their school.  The result has been the creation of an individualised learning programme that is every bit as effective as face to face learning.  E-Learning is supported in New Zealand’s schools by the ICTPD programme,Virtual Learning Network (VLN),TELA Program,the Correspondence School and the Te Kete Ipurangi website.   Findings from this research could be used to inform other countries interested in adopting online learning.

Implications for Practice:

Whilst this report was a national ‘macro’ study,many of the principles can be interpreted for the ‘micro’ or classroom setting.  First and foremost,blended learning calls for a student-centred approach.  Therefore,when planning any blended learning programmes consider the following;what are you trying to achieve in terms of student engagement?

Encouraging collaborative work fosters a sense of student ownership and ‘buy in’,this is especially pertinent when a student sees the learning as ‘relative to themselves’ and filling a need.  Integrating digital technologies may require some students to ‘up-skill’ in their use of IT,which may present an opportunity for competent students to show inexperienced students ‘how to’,creating an environment of shared learning.  Creating and utilising shared resources,along with contributing to Communities of Practice,helps to deepen the understanding of blended learning for implementation.

Reference:

Powell,A. 2010 A case study of e-learning initiatives in New Zealand’s Secondary schools
ProQuest LLC,Pepperdine University,Education,2011. UMI Number:3445071

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