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How can learning online impact teacher practice?
Updated by Tessa Gray

CORE Education's community of practice edSpace is 2-3 months young, we're in the early stages of establishing and nurturing a professional network driven by social exchange. Some might ask, how can interacting with other educators online impact on my own practice?

 

It can be hard to track the impact educators can have on each other’s practice while being part of an online community. Sometimes it's a take-away, a thought to ponder, a resource to revisit, an idea to implement or an experience or understanding to share. The following examples collated from several interactions across the Virtual Learning Network, demonstrate how online interactions have created learning relationships, partnerships where community members have been able to share opinions, ideas, resources and reflections; that can ultimately enhance learning opportunities for their learners.

 

These stories also involved educators (previously) enrolled in the Ministry of Education’s National Aspiring Principals’ Programme.

 

 

Impact and outcomes from engaging online

 

 

One story in particular, Impact of the Enabling e-Learning community groups in the VLN demonstrates the causal relationship between engaging online and improved classroom practice.

In this story, the junior teacher (assistant principal) identified a need to increase literacy levels for a group of target students and wanted to motivate those learners, to be more on-task and to take ownership of their own learning. In the end she chose to use iPads to lift learning in literacy for her priority learners and sought professional and technical support in the VLN/EEL groups. After engaging with other community members through a series of online threads and private conversations, the teacher found new digital resources to use, trialed these in the classroom and tracked improved outcomes for those target students.

Shifts in teaching and learning

As a result of building trusting relationships, targeted interventions and engagement online (sharing of appropriate apps, e-learning processes and associated research) the impact was: 

  • shift in teacher knowledge, confidence and practice

  • improved engagement and learning outcomes in literacy (increased sound recognition, letter formation) for priority students

  • changes in the practice of others - within and beyond her school (online and off)

 

This story demonstrates shifts in perspective (beliefs and values), as well as the application of increased knowledge, clearly showing an impact on teaching and learning – where increased levels of student motivation, improvements in literacy as well as teacher knowledge and skills were identified.  

 

In these cases, technology has provided a successful platform for social engagement across New Zealand, where community engagement (inquiring, responding, debating, sharing ideas/research/practice), has lead to some examples of transformational change.

 

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