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Online learning guidelines for school leaders

Rachel Whalley —

It is really important at this time for schools to prepare, plan, and practise for online learning in their schools.

Following on from our recent eTeaching 101 webinar, and article 'Keep them 'connected': Advice for taking learning online', this article gives guidelines on how school leaders can organise for successful online learning. There are some key considerations that need to be taken into account when planning:

# Establish leadership for online learning in your school. This may be you or an experienced teacher in your school. They will provide first level support in your school, keep up with new developments and collaborate with others within and outside of the school.

# Have clear expectations for teachers, students and whānau so that your whole school community understand what is involved. Keep regular communication with them.

# Don't aim to replicate the classroom experience or school schedule. Online learning is different than face to face. Let your school community know when and how you expect teachers to be available, what is expected from learners and how to get support. 

#Aim for simplicity and consistency with technology choices. Choose one asynchronous platform (eg Google Classrooms, SeeSaw) and one synchronous platform (eg. Zoom, Google Hangouts). Limit the number of other apps teachers use with their online classes. Insist that all teachers use the same platforms, so students, parents and support staff can easily participate. Provide support and guidelines for your community on how to use these tools and professional learning for teachers.

#Encourage teachers to collaborate within and across schools in developing and teaching their online programmes together. Teachers can take responsibility for different parts of a programme, for example within a subject area, a primary year group syndicate, or a cluster of sole charge rural schools. This will ease the workload and will build in resiliency if teachers become unwell. 

#Social connections and wellbeing are important for teachers. Schedule regular staff meetings and keep a chat channel open during school hours for teachers (eg Zoom channels, Google chat). For some teachers this will be a huge learning curve, give them a voice in planning and preparation, acknowledge any anxiety they may have, and provide professional and personal support.

Examples of planning from both Primary & Secondary schools:

Albany Senior High School 

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School 

Wellington High School 

Other resources:

eTeaching 101 presentation (recording is available through NEX or email rachel.whalley@vln.school.nz)