Sample of Teacher Reflections
"I have used technology a lot this year and it definitely makes access to information and resources more readily available for the students rather than having the limited resources available in the library. Students are far more excited about presenting their information as a photostory than a ‘boring report’. Those students who do not physically want to pick up a pencil to write will readily go to the computer to produce some work."
-E Eddington
"I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the fact; we are not teaching these students about ICT, we are trying to keep up with what our students already apply in their everyday lives. We have no idea what jobs our students will be doing when they are in the work force, but the one thing that is known, is that it will involve technology that we haven’t even imagined. So it’s essential that as educators we are incorporating the current technology and latest ICT pedagogy to ensure our students are engaged now and prepared for the future. I also agree with the comment Todd made below “E-learning will only be a driver of change in the classroom if the technology used in the classroom can support its demands.”
-J Kelly
"Students are immediately engaged when they are provided with ICT learning opportunities. Any task seems more exciting, and I find that the effort they put into ICT tasks is reflected in the quality of work they produce. I have found that they apply problem solving skills much more readily, without actually realizing themselves that they are problem solving. The more ICT programmes we use, the more risks the students take with their learning, consequently becoming more independent and taking responsibility for their own learning."
-K Turner
“One of the barriers to using Web 2.0 tools at our school is the hardware. With our relatively slow internet connection it makes using the internet to research and publish work slow and intermittent. When a whole class is using the computer lab to log onto their Wiki pages for example, this process slows right down and can take 20-40 minutes simply to sign in. When trying to upload video or audio this can turn into a crawl and simply not be worth the other benefits of Web 2.0 applications.
This is something that is outside the schools control and will be improved when the new high speed school internet comes on line in the next two years but until then many teachers find using offline tools such as Microsoft Office, Comic Life and Audacity to be much more beneficial and better use of student and teachers time.
Where the school is ahead of others is in its use of other hardware issues it does have control of such as multimedia capabilities in every room. Each class having a data projector and if required a sound system to back it up.”
-T Betts

The use of a wiki to support communication and learning in the music department at Chisnallwood Intermediate has transformed our ability to keep in touch with students, parents, caregivers and the wider community (both locally and internationally), and has greatly simplified organising the many events that we are involved in. It turned out to be a huge asset in the week of the Christchurch earthquake.

In 2005 we completed building a new Performing Arts Block, and this process benefited from learning from other schools. It involved a lot of research, and I wanted other music block designers to be able to get information about our facilities and their design in a much more accessible fashion. This was an early motivator for putting detailed information about our facilities on the web. At the time Chisnallwood had a website which was based on Flash, and this meant it couldn’t be indexed easily by search engines, and was difficult to update and post news items.

This meant that initially I had to set up a separate static site to make information available about the performing arts centre. After a while, our school website hosts (Zodal) offered me a Wordpress site. I found this was a very useful way to keep in touch with parents and community, but then in 2010 the Zodal site temporarily closed for a few months – just at the same time as our staff were all getting the opportunity to learn to use wikis and other technologies through the ICT contract. I realized that I should take advantage of this and I had a fabulous lesson with Nick Leith from eTime on using Wikispaces. He taught me how to set up a wiki, and I could see that because other teachers were using this system, students (and therefore parents) would be familiar with it through class wikis and could therefore easily navigate my new Chisnallwood Music Wikispace.

Judith Bell ( Music Director )

Classroom teacher sharing with the community.

I have found that the Wiki in Room 16 has been most useful for the children to show their parents what we have been working on in class. The parents are able to physically see the work and activities rather than just be told about it by the children. The students have often told me that their parents have liked what they have seen, and it is so nice for them as parents to be able to join in with their child's learning by seeing this and then being able to discuss it with their child (mostly the parents that work and find it hard to pop into the class). The parents have also enjoyed seeing the photos of their children taking part and having fun at such events as athletics, cross country etc. I have found that the more I have used the wiki, the more I have wanted to use the wiki.

Laura Howard

This is the first year I have actually set up the wiki and used it properly. It has been a massive success as a communication tool for both parents and students as ALL students have access to the internet. I no longer give out homework sheets as all tasks and activities are on the ewiki permanently at least a week before the homework actually commences. All communication newsletters, information re camps, trips etc and permission slips are on the wiki site for downloading when required.
I also use the wiki to show examples of students work using collage and individual photos and writing. Movies of dance lessons, camp activities etc are readily available. Students, at times, write accompanying mini reports and comments relating to these. I am able to offer congratulations to students who have achieved high results in international and national competition which gives them the kudos they deserve. I guess the best thing for me is that students and parents are informed and up to date at any given time about all aspects of our class programmes.
Parents have feed back to me how great it is having all this information at their fingertips.

Liz Eddington

The main use of the wiki has been to give students a safe domain to practice and build confidence with their IT skills and communicate to their peers and myself. Parents have found it useful as they have been able to view what the students have been up to throughout the year and also know what is expected in terms of homework assignments. In the past I have had students relatives from around the world ask to be members so that they could comment on their niece/nephews work. We spent a lot of time getting to know the wiki at the start of the year which was beneficial. Students often ask each other questions and help each other out, especially when it comes to homework. The wiki has been great as an easy way to keep in touch with my class outside of school time. The only downside is that some of the programs we used, like podcast, would fail and the students work would be missing on the wiki.

Todd Blake

The wiki has been really good as a communication tool with the wider community, on a local scale I have used it this year to report back to parents on work being done in class and as a tool for students as in having copies of notices and current homework tasks available so students never have the excuse “I did not get a notice” or “I did not know what the homework was.”
On a wider scale the wiki is being visited by people from all corners of the globe ( I think every country in the world has hit us now) much to the amazement of the class. We get about 30-50 visitors a day and have a total close to 9,000.
Parents have responded well being able to see things that are happening in class, check up on what their child actually has to do for homework and being able to keep up with school wide things going on. Parents have commented it is a way to initiate conversations with their child. They can look at the wiki to see what happened this week at school whereas in the past if asking “What happened at school today?” the might have got a shrug and a grunt.
It has made my life easier and has improved the student’s self-management.

Tim Betts

The wiki provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in the running of an everday classroom. It provides another place for spelling and homework to be dispalyed and allows parents and students instant access to it. I run the wiki as a syndicate and this cuts down the work for the indiviual teacher. The students enjoy seeing there work online but are not allowed assess to it form home because it created to many problems. I would like to use the wiki more often but find the classroom computers hard to get onto it with.

Islay Knight