Ole Proposal

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Ole Proposal

  1. 1. A 21st Century Online Learning Environment (OLE) A Proposal By Trevor Storr Darren Sudlow Aorakinet Director of eLearning Cantatech eLearning Leader September 25, 2008
  2. 2. Section 0 Contents Contents 1 Executive Summary 4 2 Phoebe Storr, born 11 August, 1997 7 2.1 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3 Context - Our Problem 8 3.1 Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3.2 Our Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 4 The Contemporary OLE Landscape 10 4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.2 Cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.3 Leadership and Management of OLE's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 4.4 Technical Expertise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 4.5 Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 4.6 Pedagogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 5 Our Proposal 13 5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 5.2 Scope of This Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 5.3 Functionality Requirements of Proposed Software Stack . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 5.4 Interoperability Requirements of Proposed Software Stack . . . . . . . . . . . 14 5.5 Data Standards Relevant to this Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 5.6 A Note on Open Source Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 5.7 The Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 5.8 Application Hosting and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 5.9 Management Structure and Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 5.10 Professional Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 5.11 Role of MOE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 5.12 Evaluation and Feed Forward to the Wider Educational Community . . . . . . 28 5.13 Time line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 5.14 Business Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 6 Advantages of Implementing a Cross-Cluster OLE 32 6.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 6.2 The Buckinghamshire Grid for Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 6.3 The Revised New Zealand Curriculum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 2
  3. 3. Section 0 Contents 6.4 Personalising Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 6.5 Initiatives for Maori Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 6.6 Schools Plus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 6.7 Other MOE Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 6.8 Collaboration and Economies of Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 6.9 Developing Capability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 7 Risk Analysis 38 7.1 Personnel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 7.2 Political . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 7.3 Technical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 7.4 Financial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 8 Next steps 40 8.1 To Further our Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 9 Summary 41 9.1 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 10 Acknowledgments 42 10.1 Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 1
  4. 4. Section 0 Contents Nomenclature ADL Advanced Distributed Learning BOTs Board of Trustees CETIS Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards EHSAS Extending Higher Standards Across Schools ESDM Education Sector Data Model GNU GNU's Not Unix HR-XML Human Resources Extensible Markup Language ICT Information and Communication Technologies ICTPD Information and Communications Technology Professional Development IMS IMS Global Learning Consortium JISC Joint Information Systems Committee LAMS Learning Activity Management System International LEAP An ePortfolio standard produced by JISC CETIS LIP Learner Information Package MOE The New Zealand Ministry of Education MUSAC A SMS produced by Massey University NEN National Education Network NZQA New Zealand Qualications Authority OLE Online Learning Environment PL Professional Learning RAFA Raising Achievement For All SCORM Sharable Content Object Reference Model SMS Student Management System 2
  5. 5. Section 0 Contents TELA MOE Teacher Laptop scheme TLF The Learning Federation WAN Wide Area Network 3
  6. 6. Section 1 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 Executive Summary For many of the smaller, rural secondary schools in New Zealand, the challenge of providing a suciently broad range of curriculum options for students at the senior level of the school cannot be met within existing, local resources. Some of these schools have the added challenge of being situated in isolated regions where opportunities for collaboration are minimal. As high speed internet access has extended to cover New Zealand schools, the potential to use web based services and solutions for collaboration in teaching and learning has become a reality. The challenge presented to schools is to better connect learners, teachers and leaders within and between schools by providing: leadership of learning, co-ordination of resources, provision of professional learning for teachers, virtual learning spaces for students and technical expertise and support. One of the major innovations using web based technology has been the introduction of Online Learning Environments (OLE). OLE's are virtual 'places' where students and teachers can conduct learning activities and are considered to be an essential component of future schooling. They also provide schools the opportunity to connect with each other at a level that cannot be achieved by most at this point in time. The barriers to schools eectively using an OLE are numerous though. We see the major barriers as following: cost, leadership and management, technical expertise, professional learning and pedagogy. Schools cannot overcome these barriers without support. We propose that an eective OLE should be available to all New Zealand schools at no or little cost. This OLE pilot will be limited to two clusters of schools, Aorakinet and Cantatech, and the Southern Region Health School. In total these 23 schools comprise approximately 10,000 learners. In limiting the size of this project, we aim to develop expertise and experience of OLE leadership and professional learning in a way that is manageable. We aim to have developed capability and practise that can be scaled towards national implementation. We propose to implement a suite of open source software that will meet or could be adapted to meet the following requirements: • Allow online courses to be developed that meet sound pedagogical principles. • Allow teachers to share and collaborate in the production and use of teaching resources and professional learning. • Allow participants to create eportfolios that are freely viewable by parents and other parties who have the learner's consent. • Provide desktop video-conferencing and shared whiteboard facilities. • Be interoperable with relevant SMS systems in order that learner enrollment to the OLE is transparent process. 4
  7. 7. Section 1 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • Allow parents and caregivers to access appropriate learner data. • Be open standards compliant to enable interoperability with existing and yet to be developed applications. • Are web-based and fully functional using all common web browsers and are capable of being scaled appropriately. • Is capable of being integrated into a common framework so that users access the applications through a single point of authentication. Interoperability of the core applications in our proposal will enable the services to be used by a range of stakeholders. We make recommendations on which data standards are required to enable eective interoperability. The applications outlined in the proposal will require enterprise level hosting and maintenance. The potential benets of the technology described in our proposal is dependent on teachers adopting new ways of working, learning and sharing. Teachers will need to learn how to use the technology and be aware of pedagogical theory that informs the creation of eective learning. Our model of professional learning will be able to satisfy the seven elements described in the recent Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration for Teacher Professional Learning and Development1 . To achieve this we propose that professional learning be developed over a two year period. A cadre of teacher experts will formed to facilitate professional learning in their home schools. This proposal reinforces the direction the Ministry of Education has been guiding our edu- cation system. By enabling implementation of initiatives such as The Revised New Zealand Curriculum, Personalising Learning, Schools Plus, Ka Hikitia, and Te Kotahitanga this pro- posal supports the Ministry of Education's key goals of: • Ensuring the education system prepares all students for the 21st century. • Improving outcomes for underachieving students and especially Maori and Pasika stu- dents and students with special education needs. The MOE has a central role in our proposal by providing nancial support and access to the facilities of central government including advice, expertise and assistance with governance. There are ve distinct cost areas in this proposal: infrastructure and setup, ongoing hosting and maintenance, OLE system administration, project management and professional Learning. A period of two years will be adequate to determine if our proposal is a workable solution to the barriers we have described. The development of this project into a sustainable national 1 Teacher Professional Learning and Development Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES); Helen Tim- perley, Aaron Wilson, Heather Barrar, and Irene Fung; University of Auckland 2007; http://www. educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz/goto/BES 5
  8. 8. Section 1 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY venture that can oer OLE services to schools will be informed by the outcomes and evaluation which will be made available to all stakeholders and any other interested parties. Any project of this nature has associated with it a number of risks that need to be managed including personnel, political, technical and nancial risks. By collaborating together, we aim to increase the cost eectiveness of OLE provision and also reduce the risks of operating an OLE to the extent that it is seen as a 'service' that schools use. To meet our time line of implementation during 2009 and 2010, it will be necessary to have secured funding by mid-November 2008. 6
  9. 9. Section 2 2 PHOEBE STORR, BORN 11 AUGUST, 1997 2 Phoebe Storr, born 11 August, 1997 2.1 2013 In 2013, Phoebe will be in Year 11. She can expect to have, with a single log in, access to an online space that includes: • Desktop web conferencing through an open source platform which allows access to her synchronous lessons led by her teacher living a considerable distance away. This also provides opportunities for her to meet and collaborate with other students across the country. • An online portfolio system which enables her to display evidence of learning. • An online learning environment that has blended learning courses developed by her face-to-face teachers, but also allows her to take courses that she would not otherwise have access to. These courses enable learning where she wants and when she wants. Any learner in 2013 will expect to have enormous exibility and choice to develop their own educational pathways. What they have, is a situation that is truly 'personalised'. Their school has been forced to consider the 'big' questions about the future of education and their role in it. They now run a exible, open timetable system that is not ruled by hour long periods. Learners wonder how dierent things will be in another ve years time. Now imagine you are a teacher in 2013. You have access to a rich environment, which allows courses to be developed that are truly blended. You have made online areas that support your face to face classes, but you are also running a course by distance that is fully online and is taken by a number of student from around the country. Signicantly, there are also online areas which allow you to work with other teachers across New Zealand. This has enabled you to develop thematic courses than run across schools and regions. In this environment you see a marked increase in student engagement. The students enjoy the opportunity to meet and work with others. In terms of your own learning this environment has had a signicant impact. A repository and search system allows you to share your resources with hundreds of teachers across New Zealand. You have access to an enormous range of resources that are relevant to your teaching. Professional discussion occurs both synchronously and asynchronously and takes place across the country. You are able to dip into courses that are designed to support your own learning. Your eyes have been opened to the enormous potential of learning in a collaborative environment. The wonderful thing is you are no longer tied to a timetable that restricts how you and your students learn. 7
  10. 10. Section 3 3 CONTEXT - OUR PROBLEM 3 Context - Our Problem 3.1 Context For many of the smaller, rural secondary schools in New Zealand, the challenge of providing a suciently broad range of curriculum options for students at the senior level of the school cannot be met within existing, local resources. The Correspondence School has traditionally provided a service to students in these schools through its dual-enrollment programme, en- abling students to continue with their studies in their local school, with some of their subjects being provided at a distance through the Correspondence School. In 1994 a group of seven area schools in Canterbury worked together to establish a cluster linked by an audio-graphics network, allowing a teacher in one school to teach a `class' com- prising students in one or several of the other schools in the cluster. Since then, other schools have established similar cluster arrangements, including the OtagoNet cluster, established in 2001, which uses video conferencing technologies to link teachers and students together. Clustering has enabled rural schools to not only oer a diverse senior curriculum, but also oer sta professional opportunities that would usually be found in larger urban schools. Since 1994, this clustering of rural schools has developed into the Virtual Learning Network of 20 rural and urban clusters. This proposal has been prepared by Trevor Storr, Director of eLearning, Aorakinet and Darren Sudlow, ELearning Leader, Cantatech. Both Aorakinet and Cantatech are large clusters of 22 Secondary and Area schools that together span the area from Cheviot, North Canterbury to Oamaru, North Otago. The combined roll of Aorakinet and Cantatech is approximately 9500 learners. As 'ePrincipals' we have the responsibility to lead collaborative eLearning both within our clusters and nationally. This dual-facing role enables us to see both the realities and challenges of classroom practise and how national strategies and organisational structures impact on student learning. 3.2 Our Problem As high speed internet has progressed, with the assistance of projects such as PROBE2 , to cover all schools in New Zealand, the potential to use server applications for collaboration in teaching and learning has become a reality. The challenge presented to cluster schools is to better connect learners, teachers and leaders within and between schools by providing: • Leadership of learning. 2 http://www.e.govt.nz/resources/research/case-studies/project-probe/chapter1.html 8
  11. 11. Section 3 3 CONTEXT - OUR PROBLEM • Co-ordination of resources, including personnel, technical, nancial and logistical. • Provision and access to: professional learning for teachers, virtual learning spaces for students, technical expertise and support. • Cost eective, interoperable, scaleable, web based services and solutions. To make this happen our clusters require nancial support for setup, leadership and profes- sional learning for the rst two years of the project. 9
  12. 12. Section 4 4 THE CONTEMPORARY OLE LANDSCAPE 4 The Contemporary OLE Landscape 4.1 Introduction OLE's (online learning environments) are virtual 'places' where students and teachers can conduct learning activities. Most OLE's are accessible through a web browser and enable learners to access their virtual course 'anytime, anywhere' subject to good connectivity. Many secondary schools have an OLE, though it is probably fair to say that they are under-utilised, while many Primary schools are not yet using an OLE. The barriers to schools eectively using an OLE are numerous. We have categorised these barriers as follows: • Cost • Leadership/Management • Technical expertise • Professional Learning • Pedagogy 4.2 Cost The cost of an OLE to a school is dicult to quantify precisely. The obvious cost is web- hosting and software licensing, but hidden costs include time and eort required to manage an OLE. Proprietary OLE's often charge schools $5-$12 per pupil annually, including hosting. Additional setup charges are also incurred which may total several thousand dollars. While it is possible to host an OLE in school it is unwise to do so as upload speeds are likely to act as a bottleneck to clients and therefore commercial hosting is recommended. The commercial hosting costs for open source OLE's such as Moodle or Interact are dicult to quantify on a per pupil basis as hosting is charged per server instance. Catalyst IT Limited (Wellington) currently charge Aorakinet $120 per month for a potential 6000 accounts. Hidden costs for operating an OLE are also dicult to estimate. Operating an OLE includes setting up and maintaining user accounts, software updating and maintenance, disaster recovery planning and help desk activities. These will often be assigned to a teacher who ts these tasks in around other roles. 4.3 Leadership and Management of OLE's Leading the deployment of an OLE and successfully managing an OLE once it is in place requires skills that many schools are unlikely to have. Additionally, the pool of expertise 10
  13. 13. Section 4 4 THE CONTEMPORARY OLE LANDSCAPE available to schools that can give unbiased and non-vendor specic advice about how best to take advantage of OLE's in New Zealand is small. The challenges that schools face include considering which OLE is most suitable for particular circumstances, through to the organisation of classes within the OLE and management of user logins and other administrative tasks. These skills are time-consuming to learn and acquiring knowledge of best practise is not easy as school based OLE management is not a mature eld. OLE technologies are rapidly evolving and most schools are unlikely to have the technical skills or the physical resources to trial and evaluate new and exciting developments, especially if these developments are open source. This leaves schools in the unenviable position of relying on vendors to drive the innovation of school based OLE's in New Zealand. The reality is that many OLE's used in schools are developed and run by businesses rather than educators, resulting in schools losing the exibility to implement an OLE that meets the needs of their learners. 4.4 Technical Expertise Should schools run an OLE 'on site' then competent technical expertise will be required for the initial installation and conguration. This is likely to be a signicant barrier to innovative OLE use and experimentation. Many advances in learning technologies are currently taking place, and some of these are open source. Traditional business models are unable to accommodate the disruptive nature of open source technologies leaving New Zealand schools in the position of being unable to participate in these advances. As previously mentioned, vendor led business models favour those that maximise prot, not learning. 4.5 Professional Learning Professional Learning and development that enables teachers to use OLE's in a way that is suitable for learning with their classes is often overlooked by schools, or given insignicant resourcing. It is our opinion that teacher development and support is at least as impor- tant, possibly more so, than the technology and software in implementing eective OLE use. Schools are likely to nd diculty in nding expertise and providers of professional learning, as well as the resourcing of it - for example the cost not only of providing the professional learning, but also in teacher relief required to attend the professional learning. 4.6 Pedagogy In this context, pedagogy refers to the types of learning that can eectively take place using an OLE. Most schools do not have the expertise to to develop eective pedagogies that can 11
  14. 14. Section 4 4 THE CONTEMPORARY OLE LANDSCAPE be implemented using an OLE. The danger is that OLE's are implemented and used in a way that reinforces traditional classroom practice, rather than being used as a means to bring eective change in New Zealand schools. 12
  15. 15. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL 5 Our Proposal 5.1 Introduction We propose that an eective OLE should be available to all New Zealand schools at no or little cost. The software components for this are freely available at no cost, but these alone do not constitute an eective OLE. In this section, as well as software requirements, we will outline the scope of our proposal, the leadership and management structure and provision for accountability, a model for professional learning and Pedagogy to make the OLE an eective tool for teaching and learning, the role of the MOE in enabling our proposal, a time line and budget, the advantages of our approach, a risk analysis and what needs to be done next to implement our proposal. 5.2 Scope of This Proposal Our initial thoughts are that this proposal should be limited to Aorakinet, Cantatech and the Southern Region Health School. In total these schools comprise approximately 10000 learners. By limiting our scope to these schools we will have space to develop best practice before involving very large numbers of teachers and students. The development of capability to eectively run an OLE is essential before a wider roll-out is considered. The time line for this project is two years. The software services that this proposal provides will be oered to other schools as soon as capability and capacity allows. This project should be considered a pilot of a potential national project. 5.3 Functionality Requirements of Proposed Software Stack We propose a suite of software that will meet or could be adapted to meet the following requirements: • Allow online courses to be developed that meet sound pedagogical principles. • Allow teachers to share and collaborate in the production and use of teaching resources and professional learning. • Allow participants to create eportfolios that are freely viewable by parents and other parties who have the learner's consent. • Provide desktop video-conferencing and shared whiteboard facilities. • Be interoperable with relevant SMS systems in order that learner enrollment to the OLE is transparent process. 13
  16. 16. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL • Allow parents and caregivers to access appropriate learner data. • Be open standards compliant to enable interoperability with existing and yet to be developed applications. • Are web-based and fully functional using all common web browsers and are capable of being scaled appropriately. • Is capable of being integrated into a common framework so that users access the applications through a single point of authentication. The concept of a suite of applications integrated into a framework along with adherence to open-standards based interoperability are key ideas of our proposal. No single application currently fullls our requirements. By taking a `best of breed' approach we intend to achieve not only a great user experience, but also the exibility to include or drop applications as future needs change. For example, MrCute, the content indexing solution outlined below, currently integrates well with Moodle and has the particular function of indexing content. However, other content indexing applications exist with functionality that is extensive compared to MrCute. Alfresco 3 and Nuxeo 4 are applications which enable enterprise document, content and knowledge management and collaboration. These are presently stand-alone applications but with time could be integrated into the proposed suite and add extended functionality without compromising the core services outlined above. A single application that attempted to fulll the requirements listed above would quickly become feature poor compared to the `suite of applications' approach that we are advocating. All the applications outlined in this proposal can be thought of as independent entities that can be combined together to provide a capable and fully-featured OLE. No single application has critical dependencies on any other application resulting in a range of services that can be adapted to our needs as they change. 5.4 Interoperability Requirements of Proposed Software Stack Interoperability refers to the conventions and rules for data exchange between applications. In- teroperability is becoming increasingly important in all sectors of technology. Stakeholders are becoming more aware that the ability to transfer, access, edit and manipulate data using applications other than those that were used for creating it is essential for several reasons: • So that dependency on individual applications is reduced. • So that dependency on individual vendors is reduced. 3 http://www.alfresco.com/ 4 http://www.nuxeo.com/en/ 14
  17. 17. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL • So that data can be used by several applications in ways that were not originally antic- ipated. • So that data can be exchanged and reused eciently. Interoperability is best achieved through the use of open standards. These are data schemas which are openly available to the public and royalty free. If data is encapsulated using an open standard, then developers are free to create applications that can access and use the data. Bruce Perens 5 has written more extensively on the principles and practice of open standards. Interoperability can be achieved using proprietary le formats or standards but this results in a lesser degree of risk management than if an open standard were used. The applications we are proposing are web based and provide a service to schools and learners. We consider it vital that the services are fully accessible and functional using any modern web browser and all computer operating systems in common usage i.e. Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, Linux. This is vitally important as we for see web based services being accessed from `ap- pliance' type computers that run only a web browser. The cost of these appliances will be minimal compared to a present day computer. Interoperability of the core applications in our proposal will enable the services to be used by a range of stakeholders including: • Learners - to access courses. • Learners - to receive notication by Short Message Service from their teachers that events have occurred on their OLE course. • Parents - to access data about their children. • Parents - to receive data by Short Message Service about pupil absence. • Teachers - to teach learners. • Community - including adult learners. • Boards of Trustees - as part of their governance role. • Prospective employers - to view learner ePortfolios. • Other educational establishments - to view learner ePortfolios and to collaborate with the production of learning resources. • Government agencies - to deliver national strategies. The current state of interoperability across the range of applications we propose is in the developmental stage particularly with respect to SMS integration with OLEs. For example, at present, importing data from the MUSAC SMS suite into Moodle is not currently possible but, 5 http://perens.com/OpenStandards/Definition.html 15
  18. 18. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL due to the adoption of the open specications discussed above, is theoretically possible. With further development, wider integration of SMS - OLE would be possible that would lead to a portal that allows the functionality described above. 5.5 Data Standards Relevant to this Proposal Data standards relevant to this proposal are those that specify encapsulation of data in the following domains: ePortfolios, audio and video, Student Management Systems, digital repositories and distributed learning. In the sections that follow we make recommendations on which data standards are suitable for the domains previously listed. 5.5.1 ePortfolio data standards No single commonly used and widely accepted data standard for eportfolios exists. The IMS Learner Information Package (LIP) specication is very comprehensive but probably too complex for most applications. Other data specications including IMS ePortfolio, HR-XML 3.0, LEAP 2.0 have been created that try to overcome IMS LIP's complexity, but none of them have gained widespread adoption. To ensure that data can be ported from one ePortfolio system to another, as a learner follows their own educational pathway, is currently not easy. However, as long as the data standard selected is open, then the possibility of writing a custom transformation application to port data from one standard to another, exists. The UK's JISC has produced a useful overview of ePortfolio interoperability6 . 5.5.2 Audio and Video Data Standards Video and sound data standards are important for the easy use of our proposed browser-based video-conferencing application. To enable audio and video to run in a web browser, plugins are required. These are additional, usually small, applications that add functionality to the browser. The most common plugins to enable audio and video in a browser are based on Adobe Flash, Java, Realplay or Microsoft Windows Media Player specications. Only the Adobe Flash and Java specications are open standards that are available to the public and royalty free. 5.5.3 Student Management Systems Student Management Systems are applications that manipulate data associated with learners in schools. For example, data is kept by schools recording pupil names, addresses etc. The 6 http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/e-portfolios/interoperability 16
  19. 19. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL New Zealand Education Sector has selected a semantic interoperability solution, the New Zealand Education Sector Data Model (ESDM). This standard is published and maintained by the MOE. To enable learner data to be ported into the OLE, it would have to be transformed from the ESDM format to one that the OLE may use. 5.5.4 Digital Repositories and Distributed Learning Data in an OLE is in the form of courses, captured interactions, learner data and re- sources. Several data specications exist that dene the complex relationships between the constituent data sets that comprise an OLE. These specications include among others the IMS Learning Design specication, the IMS Question and Test Interoperability specica- tion, the IMS Content Packaging specication and the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specication. The Centre for Educa- tional Technology Interoperability Standards (CETIS) have produced a more comprehensive overview of the various specications that describe digital repositories and distributed learning data 7 . The specications produced by both IMS and ADL are open and freely available. 5.6 A Note on Open Source Software The software that is recommended in this proposal is licensed under open source licensing terms. This licensing aords us several advantages in terms of usage and risk-management. The individual components of the software stack are licensed as follows: • Shibboleth, 8 Apache License, Version 2.0. • Moodle, 9 GNU General Public License, Version 2. • LAMS, 10 GNU General Public License, Version 2. • Dim Dim, 11 GNU General Public License, Version 3. • Mahara, 12 GNU General Public License, Version 3. • MrCute, 13 GNU General Public License, Version 3. • Ubuntu server, 14 various open source licenses. 7 http://zope.cetis.ac.uk/static/briefings.html 8 http://shibboleth.internet2.edu/ 9 http://moodle.org 10 http://www.lamsinternational.com 11 http://www.dimdim.com 12 http://mahara.org 13 http://www.wortech.ac.uk/mrcute 14 http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/serveredition 17
  20. 20. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL Open source licensing allows users to freely distribute, use and modify software. In addition, if a user makes changes to the source code of a program, they are obliged to make those changes freely available to others. A more complete account of open source licensing can be found at the Open Source Initiative's website15 . It would be a mistake to assume software licensed using an open source license is without cost. All software has a cost associated with usage and in our case these will be measured in time taken to install, congure, maintain, and operate the software. Licensing costs however will be nil. Apart from cost advantages with regard to licensing, the use of open source software is advantageous for us in terms of risk-management. The core component of the proposed software stack, Moodle, has a very large user and developer base which mitigates against the software being abandoned. In fact, the opposite is the case, Moodle is undergoing continuous and rapid development to incorporate new features. The proposed software stack also stores course data in a SCORM compliant format which allows interoperability with other SCORM compliant software. This is signicant as it allows us to port data to other SCORM compliant OLE's and prevents us lock in to the proposed software stack. Additionally, we believe there are ethical reasons why we as educators should use open source software. Sharing our knowledge and experience gained with the worldwide educational community could act to further promote and improve the software used in this proposal. The New Zealand government16 has produced a brieng paper that outlines recommendations for government agencies with regard to using open source software which notes that `value for money and tness for purpose principles should continue to underlie any software procurement decision made by government agencies'. 5.7 The Software 5.7.1 Shibboleth17 The Shibboleth System is a standards based, open source software package for web single sign- on across or within organisational boundaries. It allows sites to make informed authorisation decisions for individual access of protected online resources in a privacy-preserving manner. Shibboleth allows users to have a single authentication point to access services that would otherwise require multiple entry of authentication credentials. For example, using Shibboleth to provide authentication services to a Moodle/Mahara/LAMS cluster would allow a single username:password combination to access these services as shown in Figure 1. Shibboleth Single Sign-on and Federating Software was developed specically to address the challenges of: 15 http://www.opensource.org/ 16 http://www.e.govt.nz/policy/open-source/open-source-200303/chapter1.html 17 http://shibboleth.internet2.edu/ 18
  21. 21. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL Figure 1: The proposed OLE Software Stack. 19
  22. 22. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL • Multiple passwords required for multiple applications . • Scaling the account management of multiple applications. • Security issues associated with accessing third-party services. • Privacy. • Interoperability within and across organizational boundaries. • Enabling institutions to choose their authentication technology. • Enabling service providers to control access to their resources. An individual uses his or her login and password to access resources oered by the organi- zations. IT shops can use their authentication technology of choice - Shibboleth sits on top and provides the web single sign-on functionality. A long-term goal could be to enable Shibboleth style authentication to access resources across a range of services provided to schools including NZQA. The open source nature of this system provides for interoperability with the wide range of services the MOE may oer in the future. 5.7.2 Moodle18 Moodle is a course management system widely used overseas and in New Zealand. Moodle is designed to encourage a social constructionist pedagogy and is particularly rich in web2.0 type tools that allow learners to collaborate together in constructing knowledge while having the necessary 'traditional' elements such as quizzes and 'lessons'. Moodle has a very large user and developer base which mitigates the risk of the software becoming unmaintained. Moodle is modular and its functionality is easily extended by installing additional modules. This allows SMS vendors to develop ways of allowing SMS systems to automatically enroll students on courses. Indeed, Kamar are presently developing a module to do this. 5.7.3 LAMS 19 LAMS is a tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. It provides teachers with a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration. LAMS creates 'digital lesson plans' that can be run online with learners, as well as shared among teachers. The LAMS Community allows teachers to share and adapt digital lesson plans, and discuss their 18 http://moodle.org 19 http://www.lamsinternational.com 20
  23. 23. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL experiences of using LAMS. Teachers can nd digital lessons plans that are freely available to use and adapt, and they can share their own creations and adaptations. 5.7.4 Dim Dim 20 Dim Dim is a free web conferencing service where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via web cam with absolutely no download required for attendees. Clients access the Dim Dim server using a web browser. The anticipated roll out of bre to schools during the next ve years will drastically alter the range of services that schools will be able to access. We envisage learners and teachers engaging with each other via desktop web cams using a free solution such as provided by Dim Dim. Three versions of Dim Dim are available, open source community, professional and enterprise which vary according to hosting and support provided. Unlike other proprietary products, Dim Dim could be installed within a bre based NEN enabling high quality desktop-to-desktop web conferencing. 5.7.5 Mahara 21 Mahara is an open source e-portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities. Mahara is designed to provide users with the tools to demonstrate their life-long learning, skills and development over time to selected audiences. Mahara means 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Maori. 5.7.6 MrCute22 MrCute is a module available for Moodle that enables content repository type functionality to be added to Moodle's OLE capabilities. MrCute is an acronym for Moodle Repository Create Upload Tag Embed, and is intended as an optional Moodle module and block which allows direct and straightforward access to institutional and other repositories of online learning materials. MrCute is currently being developed by the Worcester Institute of Technology in the UK. MrCute allows content to be easily shared by teachers. Content can be indexed and searched by keyword or content. The implications of this are in terms of ease of use. For example, all content on a Moodle site with the keyword or tag of 'genetics' would be returned using a MrCute search, regardless of where the content creator saved it. In short, this module facilitates the eective sharing of content. A short video showing how MrCute makes accessing TLF learning objects a simple task is available23 . 20 http://www.dimdim.com 21 http://mahara.org 22 http://www.wortech.ac.uk/mrcute 23 http://moodleman.edublogs.org/2008/04/10/tlf-learning-objects-in-moodle-yes-we-can/ 21
  24. 24. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL 5.7.7 Ubuntu Server24 Ubuntu server is a Debian based Linux distribution packaged by Canonical. Ubuntu server will be used as the server operating system on which the applications and packages in this proposal will run. Ubuntu server has the usual range of Linux tools and services. 5.8 Application Hosting and Maintenance The applications described above will require enterprise level hosting and maintenance. The reasons for this are: • Expertise: Enterprise hosting solutions will have access to timely expertise so that applications can be maintained eciently. • Infrastructure: Enterprise hosting solutions will have the required infrastructure includ- ing upload bandwidth and disaster recovery solutions. • Cost: Enterprise hosting solutions are likely to be able to provide a more cost-eective solution than one provided by ourselves. • Core Business: Our core business is educational leadership, not enterprise hosting. The applications will best be hosted in New Zealand as this will result in a faster experience for the end user. It is likely that hosting will move to servers located within a bre-based NEN so that speeds are increased further. 5.9 Management Structure and Accountability The management and accountability model of this project needs to take account of the diverse range of project stakeholders. We see this project being led by a steering group comprised of three project managers sharing a full-time position and a 0.2FTTE OLE systems administrator. The role of this group is to lead the project and ensure that procedures are developed and tasks monitored and completed. Accountability, evaluation and nancial compliance tasks are also the responsibility of this group. The members of the steering group will have both individual and co-responsibilities to ensure that a degree of risk-management reduction is in place in the event of a member of the steering group moving on. Areas of expertise required for the steering group members are: • Project management. • Technology - leadership of the service implementation, development and provision. 24 http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/serveredition 22
  25. 25. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL • Professional Learning and Pedagogy- leadership of teacher learning to enable eective OLE use. • Operations and Liaison - leadership of the on-going operation of the OLE and liaison with users. For the purposes of this proposal, the entity in which absolute accountability resides would be a School Board of Trustees. The administration tasks needed to keep an OLE operating smoothly should not be the responsibility of a teacher. These tasks include: • User and password maintenance including rights and permissions. • Setting up the front-end hierarchy of courses and metacourses. • Verifying faults/errors reported by users. The project will employ an OLE administrator for the duration of the project. This role will considerably reduce the burden on schools of operating an OLE. 5.10 Professional Learning The aim of our professional learning model is to develop and share pedagogical expertise. The potential benets of the technology described in our proposal is dependent on teachers adopting new ways of working, learning and sharing. Teachers will need to learn how to use the technology and be aware of pedagogical theory that informs the creation of eective learning. Additionally, the challenges of participating as professionals in a collaborative environment will need to be articulated and understood. We believe that appropriate professional learning will result in teachers feeling more condent and capable in using the technology and so lead to greater use. Professional learning needs to be delivered in many ways so that teachers can access learning at appropriate times and even `just in time'. 5.10.1 Best Evidence Synthesis There is recent research on what constitutes eective professional learning for teachers. The Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration for Teacher Professional Learning and Development25 used studies involving 97 New Zealand and international individuals and groups which met a set 25 Teacher Professional Learning and Development Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES); Helen Tim- perley, Aaron Wilson, Heather Barrar, and Irene Fung; University of Auckland 2007; http://www. educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz/goto/BES 23
  26. 26. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL of methodological criteria and had substantive student outcomes associated with teacher professional learning and development. The studies identied seven elements in the professional learning context as important for promoting professional learning in ways that impact positively and substantively on a range of student outcomes; • Extended time for opportunities to learn was necessary but not sucient. Learning opportunities typically occurred over an extended period of time and involved frequent contact with a provider. How time was used was more important than the exact nature of the provision (for example, release from teaching duties). • External expertise was typically necessary but not sucient. Engagement of external expertise was a feature of nearly all the interventions in the core studies with funding frequently used for this purpose. • Teachers' engagement in learning at some point was more important than initial vol- unteering. Neither who initiated the professional learning opportunities nor whether they were voluntary or compulsory was associated with particular outcomes for students. • Prevailing discourses challenged. Where prevailing discourses were problematic they were typically based on as- sumptions that some groups of students could not learn as well as other and/or emphasized limited curriculum goals. • Opportunities to participate in a professional community of practice were more impor- tant than place. Interventions in the core studies were both school-based and external to the school. • Consistency with wider trends in policy and research. Approaches promoted typically were consistent with current research ndings, recommendations of professional bodies (e.g. national subject associations and/or current policy. • Active school leadership. School based interventions in the core studies had leaders who provided one or more of the following conditions: 24
  27. 27. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL ∗ Actively organised a supportive environment to promote professional learning opportunities and the implementation of new practices In classrooms. ∗ Focused on developing a learning culture within the school and were learners along with the teachers. ∗ Provided alternative visions and targets for student outcomes and monitored whether these were met. ∗ Created the conditions for distributing leadership by developing the leadership of others. Table 1: Professional Learning Activity 2009 -Phase One: Aim: To develop a cadre of eTeachers capable of providing professional learning in their own school during year two of the project. • One teacher from each school plus three project managers. One week visioning and course development - February 2009. Two days planning for Term Two - April 2009. Two days planning for Term Three - June 2009. Two days planning for Term Four - September 2009. Three days planning for Year Two - December 2009. Support through online forums and VC to form a community of practice. 5.10.2 Our Model of Professional Learning Our model of professional learning will be able to satisfy the seven elements described above. To achieve this we propose that professional learning be developed over a two year period. The focus for the professional learning in year one will be in developing the capability of one teacher from each of the schools who are part of Cantatech, Aorakinet and the Southern Regional Health schools. These eTeachers will lead professional learning in their school. It is important that a school's own sta lead the professional learning of their teachers. This will ensure sustainability and the exibly to develop approaches that t with a school's professional development plan It will be recommended to schools that the chosen eTeachers are also part of the Distance Learning Programme. This will enable professional learning to be linked to pedagogical approaches in a distance environment and further develop the quality of teaching. Tables 1 and 2 describe our preferred model of professional learning. In terms of time the rst year would involve: 25
  28. 28. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL • A full week of immersive professional learning between February and April 2009. • Two days at the end of each term to plan for the following term. • Three days in December 2009 to reect, evaluate and plan for 2010. In the second year professional learning will be linked to existing school initiatives. Examples might include EHSAS, ICTPD contracts, RAFA, etc. This will reduce the professional learning burden for sta and also provide a context for learning how to use the OLE. This will allow professional learning to be adapted to the needs of each school. Schools will have one third of their sta released for eight days (two days a term) in the year. Those schools not involved in a project will have contexts developed based on a shared focus within strategic plans. Professional learning will be developed so teachers can continue their own learning on a exible, individualised basis. This will include: • Consulting with learning design experts to produce a range of exemplar courses so that teachers have real examples of good course design. • To produce template courses for various subjects, ready for teachers to complete. • To develop an online 'teacher experts' professional community that engages in ongoing discussion around Pedagogy and is available for consultation and professional learning when requested by teachers. • To develop a series of online tutorials specic for our OLE. • That a helpdesk for the OLE be considered. • To run an annual one-day workshop to promote eective learning design and Pedagogy. In short, the 'stand and deliver' model of providing professional learning is no longer appropri- ate. Teachers need access to professional learning and expertise at short notice, just when it is needed. The teacher experts described in this model have a dual role of facilitating profes- sional learning through an online community and giving professional learning to individuals or groups as requested or required. The professional learning will take place using web2.0 tools, video-conferencing or if need be, face-to-face. In eect, the teacher experts will provide help desk facilities for both OLE use and ePedagogical advice. 5.11 Role of MOE We have outlined the rationale that supports our proposal, the technology required to imple- ment it and the strategies needed to enable the professional learning that will allow teachers to use it. The MOE has a central role in providing nancial support and access to the facil- ities of central government including advice, expertise and assistance with governance. We 26
  29. 29. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL Table 2: Professional Learning Activity 2010 -Phase Two: Aim: To develop a cadre of eTeachers capable of providing professional learning in their own school during year two of the project. • Area Schools Project: Recognises that area schools will use OLE's with younger learners than High Schools. Cadre teachers work with 1/3 of teachers in own schools. Develop projects between schools. Relief for 1/3 of area school teachers for two days per term. 132 teachers / 3 = 44 teachers. 2 days per term relief x 44 teachers = 352 teacher relief days. • `Already in a project', Project: These schools will be in an MOE funded initiative e.g. EHSAS, ICTPD during 2010. 11 schools are in such initiatives. eTeacher from phase 1 will be provided with 10 days relief to work within the existing initiative. EHSAS schools will have cadre teachers work with 1/6 of teachers in own schools. Ensures that OLE project aligns with existing school development plans. 10 days relief x 11 teachers = 110 teacher relief days. 8 days relief x 37 teachers = 296 teacher relief days. • Personalising Learning Project for `Schools not in a project': These schools are not in an MOE funded initiative e.g. EHSAS, ICTPD during 2010. Apart from the Southern Region Health School, these are secondary schools. Cadre teachers work with 1/3 of teachers in own schools on `Personalising Learning' using an OLE. Develop projects between schools. Relief for 1/3 of teachers for two days per term. 168 teachers /3 = 56 teachers. 2 days per term relief x 56 teachers = 448 teacher relief days. • Support for all three projects through online forums and VC to form a community of practice. 27
  30. 30. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL propose that as a matter of public good and the future development of education in New Zealand that this project should be fully funded because: • The experience gained during the operation of this project will be invaluable when considering how a larger, perhaps national OLE, could be developed. • Without a project of this kind the New Zealand schooling sector will not have the experience or expertise required to take advantage of the scalability that OLE's oer. • This investment will increase the capability and capacity to deliver aggregated, scalable web2.0 services to New Zealand schools in a way that commercial providers are unlikely to consider. 5.12 Evaluation and Feed Forward to the Wider Educational Community A formal evaluation of this project is necessary for several reasons: • For purposes of accountability. • To inform best practise for further developments in this project. • To enable the wider educational community to share and use our experience and capa- bility. Evaluation and review of the eectiveness of the project are scheduled for December 2009 (mid-point) and December 2010. The results of the evaluation will be made available to all stakeholders and any other interested parties by publishing them on the Virtual Learning Network Website plus, if appropriate, by presentation at suitable conferences. 5.13 Time line A period of two years will be adequate to determine if our proposal is a workable solution to the barriers we have described. A draft time frame for the project is shown in table 3. 28
  31. 31. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL Table 3: Indicative Project Time line 2008 1. Initiation and planning (November - December). 2009 1. Achieve a working Moodle/LAMS instance with authentication handled by Shib- boleth on enterprise server. 2. Trial Dim Dim. 3. Implement professional learning model for eTeachers- ongoing throughout 2009 . 4. Evaluate progress made during 2009. 2010 1. Dim Dim - production phase. 2. Open up OLE service to other schools at a sustainable subscription rate. 3. Phase 2 of professional learning: In school learning. 4. Project evaluation and plan for post 2010. 5.14 Business Model There are ve distinct cost areas in this proposal: • Infrastructure and setup. • Ongoing hosting and maintenance. • OLE system administration. • Project management. • Professional Learning. 29
  32. 32. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL The development of this project into a sustainable national venture that can oer OLE services to schools will be informed by the outcomes and evaluation. Sustainability will require ownership of the venture by schools. The most eective way of enabling this is for schools to form a partnership with the MOE. The cost of hosting and maintenance, infrastructure and setup, OLE system administration, project management and professional learning should be an ongoing shared responsibility. Any costs need to be aordable for all schools. As OLE's become an essential part of future schooling, teachers nationwide will need to become familiar with their use. The evaluation of the project professional learning model will provide useful data about how best to nationally develop this capability in teachers. 5.14.1 Summary of Budget Costs A summary of the spending areas and costs is shown in Table 4. A breakdown of these costs and assumptions that were made during their calculation is available from the authors. 30
  33. 33. Section 5 5 OUR PROPOSAL Table 4: Summary of Budget Cost Areas Setup Architecture setup $8000 Architectural and core application setup $8000 Graphical themeing of core applications $4000 Single sign-on authentication across application stack $12000 School sign-on/setup management features $8000 Create SMS compatible output $5000 Total setup $45000 Per month hosting and administration $800 Per month for ongoing enhancements $1000 Total hosting for 2 years $43200 Project Manager and System Administration Salaries - Nov 2008 to Dec 2010 $178500 Oce and personnel costs $30000 System administrator for OLE $40000 Computer and broadband for sysadmin $3440 Total project management and system administration costs $251940 Professional Learning Year One - Develop cadre of eTeachers One week visioning and course development - at start of Term One $62100 Two days planning for Term Two - at end of Term One $27270 Two days planning for Term Three - at end of Term Two $27270 Two days planning for Term Four - at end of Term Three $27270 Three days planning for Year Two - at end of Term Four $38880 Total Professional Learning during Year One $182790 Professional Learning Year Two - widen scope to other teachers Area Schools Project $88000 EHSAS Schools Project $94452 ICTPD Schools Project $7500 Personalisation Project -remainder of schools $112000 Total Professional Learning during Year Two $301952 Total Budget $824882 Less $20000 contribution from schools(waived for pilot) $804882 31
  34. 34. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE 6 Advantages of Implementing a Cross-Cluster OLE 6.1 Introduction This proposal reinforces and supports the direction the Ministry of Education has been guiding our education system. The MOE's `Brieng For Incoming Ministers of Education'26 states two key goals for its work in education: • Ensure the education system prepares all students for the 21st century. • Improve outcomes for underachieving students and especially Maori and Pasika stu- dents and students with special education needs. In this section we outline how our proposal helps schools implement the above two goals, primarily by enabling implementation of recent MOE initiatives including the Revised New Zealand Curriculum, Personalising Learning, Ka Hikatia and Schools Plus. We begin though, by noting a similar initiative to our proposal that has taken place overseas. 6.2 The Buckinghamshire Grid for Learning An environment similar to the one proposed here is already in existence overseas. The Buck- ingham Grid for Learning,27 now in its fourth year of development, is a wide area network (WAN) constructed using optical bre connections. It currently connects over 95% of Buck- inghamshire schools (over 200) to a fast, resilient system that provides safe, ltered internet access through JANET 28 (the national Joint Academic Network) and enables each school to be part of the NEN (National Education Network). However, the provision of connectivity is just one aspect of The Buckingham Grid for Learning as it also provides a suite of tools for teachers and students that includes, email, web conferencing using Adobe Connect and nally a LMS using Moodle. This proposal will begin the journey in implementing an OLE that will surpass what is available in Buckinghamshire. 6.3 The Revised New Zealand Curriculum The revised New Zealand Curriculum signals a dramatic change in the way schools operate in terms of their core function - learning. It gives schools the exibility to devise a school based curriculum, one that reects the needs of their students and communities with which 26 http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/BriefingIncomingEducationMinister05Dec07. pdf 27 www.bucksgfl.org.uk 28 http://ja.net 32
  35. 35. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE they engage. Local communities play an important part in their school's curriculum design and this environment would support the development of such a curriculum. But students also belong to '21st Century communities'. These stretch beyond regional, geographic or national boundaries. In the world we live the idea of connectivity is paramount. For a country as geographically isolated as New Zealand, it is even more important. The OLE meets these needs in a way not possible before. One of the revised curriculum's consistent themes is the idea of connectivity. It is part of the vision outlined early in the document, ...who will be condent, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners. That same page refers to students being members of communities and both the principles and values underpinning the curriculum emphasise the importance of communities. Schools involved in this project are rural and often isolated. Despite this they are members of a number of dierent communities that go beyond their local district. Until now video conferencing has provided much of the connectivity that these schools need, but this is a limited resource. It enables students, teachers, parents, BOTs, to engage with many dierent communities on many dierent levels. It connects learners on a scale that provides real meaning to the term '21st Century learning'. In terms of eective pedagogy, the curriculum clearly expects teachers to facilitate shared learning with their students. The aim being to develop the class as a community and for students to share their learning with each other. The OLE would enable learning to be developed far beyond what is conceivable in a traditional classroom. Moodle is built on a social constructionist philosophy in which learners and the teacher construct knowledge together, but an OLE also allows the development of cross cluster learning. Learners from dierent schools could engage, discuss and reect using social networking technology such as forum and chat rooms, as well as through web or video conferencing. It would allow knowledge to be constructed across classrooms and schools, which would provide real coherence to learning. The curriculum also targets eLearning as an aspect of eective pedagogy: `For instance, e-learning may: assist the making of connections by enabling students to enter and explore new learning environments, overcoming barriers of distance and time facilitate shared learning by enabling students to join or create communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom assist in the creation of supportive learning environments by oering resources that take account of individual, cultural, or developmental dierences enhance opportunities to learn by oering students virtual experiences and tools that save them time, allowing them to take their learning further. 33
  36. 36. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE Schools should explore not only how ICT can supplement traditional ways of teaching but also how it can open up new and dierent ways of learning.' The OLE enables teachers and learners to do all of the above. The revised curriculum demands to see learners who are 'connected', 'actively involved' and 'lifelong learners'. Our schools plan to improve competencies such as 'managing self' and 'participating', develop a curriculum that embodies principles such as 'learning to learn' and 'community engagement'. They are also required to foster values such 'innovation, inquiry and curiosity'. An OLE that allows students to develop their own learning pathways, to self- manage, to connect and collaborate with others will reinforce the core elements of the revised curriculum. The revised curriculum places the students at the centre of learning, as does this proposal. 6.4 Personalising Learning In 2006 the term personalising learning was at the forefront of Ministry's Lets talk about: Personalising Learning. The ideas within the document are aligned with the revised cur- riculum, but currently most schools struggle to implement these. They are restricted by structures that reect 20th century needs. The ability to 'personalise' learning is one of the real strengths of online environments. The notion of learning 'anyplace, anytime, anywhere' is the real value of the OLE. The ICT Strategic Framework for Education from 2006-7 articulated a vision: To improve learner achievement in an innovative education sector, fully connected and supported by the smart use of ICT. This was supported by goals including A more learner-centred education system transcending organisational boundaries. This goal is perfectly realised by our proposal which allows for exibility of learning and connectivity across schools and regions. 6.5 Initiatives for Maori Students Links to Maori education may be less obvious and are therefore worth examining in detail. 6.5.1 Ka Hikitia The MOE recently released a new strategy for Maori students entitled, `Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Maori Education Strategy 2008-2012'. This strategy is based on realising Maori potential, and at its heart lies the idea of `Ako', an approach to teaching and learning that embraces two key themes. The rst theme recognises that the relationship betwen the 34
  37. 37. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE educator and learner is integral to achieving quality educational outcomes - `Maori students, whänau, hapü, iwi and educators sharing knowledge and expertise with each other to produce better mutual outcomes.' The second key theme recognises the importance of allowing Maori to learn as Maori and that the student's culture is embraced by the teacher and school. At the secondary level the strategy recognises that the engagement of Maori students is critical to their educational success. 6.5.2 Te Kotahitanga The Te Kotahitanga research programme began in 2000 and was developed to improve teach- ing strategies and in particular the eectiveness of teachers to increase the engagement and academic achievement of Maori students within mainstream secondary schools. The rst phase of the programme commenced in 2000 with a research project. After the collation and analysis of narratives from Year 9 and 10 Maori students, a professional development programme was developed and implemented in four schools. In 2002, the ndings were used to inform a professional development programme which was introduced into eight more secondary schools. One of the key areas identied for improving Maori success in education is eective teaching and learning. In particular, how a teacher builds relationships with students and develops strategies involving collaboration and co-construction. 6.5.3 Links to this proposal The percentage of Maori students in each school is shown in Table 5. Clearly, Maori are a signicant consideration in every school. The successful implementation of Ka Hikitia will be important for the students and local the Maori community One of the most important tools in this OLE is Moodle. Moodle is built on the philosophy of co-construction and many of the tools available in this environment allow teachers and learners to build knowledge together in a partnership. It encourages the sort of learning that both Ka Hikitia and Te Kotahitanga outline as important for Maori success in education. While many seem to think anything online represents a disconnection in relationships, this is far from the truth. Technology allows individuals and communities to connect on a scale not possible without it. Professional learning is a key ingredient for improving teaching and learning for Maori students. This OLE would allow collaboration and professional learning between sta across clusters and schools. Synchronous and asynchronous technology would enable ongoing discussion on what strategies work for Maori students. This technology already exists, but the collaboration 35
  38. 38. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE Table 5: Percentage Maori Roll of Aorakinet and Cantatech Schools School % Maori on Roll Akaroa Area school 20 Amuri Area School 15 Ashburton College 10 Cheviot Area School 11 Craighead Diocesan School 4 Dareld High School 10 Ellesmere College 11 Geraldine High School 6 Hurunui College 11 Mackenzie College 4 Mountainview High School 10 Mt Hutt College 7 Opihi College 16 Oxford Area School 7 Rangiora New Life School 12 Roncalli College 4 St Kevin's College 8 Timaru Boys' High School 6 Timaru Girls' High School 8 Twizel Area School 14 Waimate High School 9 Waitaki Girls' High School 10 36
  39. 39. Section 6 6 ADVANTAGES OF IMPLEMENTING A CROSS-CLUSTER OLE is sporadic and unsustained. This OLE 'pulls together' varied and distant groups and would make ongoing conversation sustainable. There is of course enormous potential to bring Maori communities, learners, whanau, and iwi together across the country. Maori students would have the opportunity to work with other Maori students from dierent regions. Students would have access to relevant courses that reect who they are as. 6.6 Schools Plus The new government scheme, Schools Plus, aims to ensure `young people stay in school, complete qualications in line with their abilities and needs, and go on to build on these qual- ications beyond school. ' It clearly links with both NCEA and the New Zealand Curriculum by providing further learning pathways for students who would otherwise leave school. In particular, it will focus on tertiary and vocational training. This OLE would enable schools to provide exible learning options for their students by enabling them to connect to a number of training providers around the country. Distance would no longer matter. This opens up a range of options for schools and learners that wouldn't otherwise exist. 6.7 Other MOE Initiatives The use of a managed OLE to support recent MOE initiatives such as Distance Music Pro- grammesis obvious but, currently, no managed OLE, with a concurrent professional learning program, is available. The current proposal could be used to support these initiatives and others as they arise. 6.8 Collaboration and Economies of Scale By collaborating together, we aim to increase the cost eectiveness of OLE provision and also reduce the risks of operating an OLE to the extent that it is seen as a 'service' that schools use. We see that if MOE funding were available beyond the end of this project, that primary and other small schools would particularly benet by being able to use a managed OLE and take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration with others. 6.9 Developing Capability In limiting the size of this project, we aim to develop expertise and experience of OLE lead- ership and professional learning in a way that is manageable. We aim to have developed capability and practise that can be scaled towards national implementation. 37
  40. 40. Section 7 7 RISK ANALYSIS 7 Risk Analysis Any project of this nature has associated with it a number of risks that need to be managed. In this section we outline some of those risks and how we anticipate managing them. 7.1 Personnel There is a risk that the personnel involved in this project may leave and take with them knowledge that is vital for its success. To mitigate this risk the three ePrincipals who belong to the steering group will have a degree of role-overlap. Additionally, it will be a requirement that technical specications and procedures are comprehensively documented. Due to there being ve 'teacher experts', the risk to the project caused by the loss of any one of these posts is minimal. 7.2 Political There is some risk that commercial vendors will see this project as a risk to their business model. They may complain to the MOE or other agencies about this. We believe that this risk is mitigated because: • This project is being proposed, managed and delivered by schools. • No similar open source business model for aggregated services exists in New Zealand. • It is a matter of public good that these services be made available to New Zealand schools. 7.3 Technical There are some technical risks associated with this project. Some of the services we propose are not fully mature and we anticipate that there will be technical problems that we will have to overcome. These risks are mitigated by the time frame that progresses from implementing the most mature packages rst (i.e. Moodle) through to those that are least mature (e.g. Dim Dim). Additionally, enterprise hosting will signicantly reduce the risks to data held on the server as the hosting specication will include back-up hosting. Third-party technical expertise will also be available as needed. 38
  41. 41. Section 7 7 RISK ANALYSIS 7.4 Financial There is some risk that if initial funding for this project is secured, it is not sustained beyond two years. This risk is mitigated by ensuring that the platform of services oered is used by a wide range of initiatives and stakeholders e.g. other projects that the MOE has an interest in including Ka Hikitia, itinerant music teachers, ICTPD and others. The intention is to make the services we oer an obvious mechanism for enabling learning of all kinds. We see this project as the initial phase of the development of an MOE funded core service to enable eLearning that may be viewed in a similar way to the TELA Laptops for Teachers Project. Other funding models for this project have been considered, for example partnership funding where the MOE contributes (for example) $2 for every $1 that schools contribute. If insucient funding were available in future years, this type of arrangement with schools would have to be considered. Finally, if the project were to nish outright, the data in Moodle is SCORM compliant enabling it to be transferred to other OLE's. 39
  42. 42. Section 8 8 NEXT STEPS 8 Next steps 8.1 To Further our Proposal The rst and most important decision that needs to occur is a discussion with interested parties about the purpose of this project and the details of how it will progress. Once agreement has been gained, funding will have to be sourced. The leadership and accountability model we have outlined is outside the framework implied by `Tomorrow's Schools'. This could be a major obstacle to this project and lobbying may need to take place to gain support for our ideas. To meet the time line suggested above, it will be necessary to have secured funding by mid-November 2008. 40
  43. 43. Section 9 9 SUMMARY 9 Summary 9.1 Summary To deliver the educational needs of today's learners, schools need access to a good OLE that provides portal style access to a range of services such as NZQA, desktop video-conferencing, digital portfolios and learning resources. Teachers need ways to collaborate and share exper- tise. Schools also need a platform through which initiatives such as Ka Hikitia and Schools Plus can be received. The software required to build a platform that can satisfy this need is available at no cost. What has been missing, until now, has been a plan that sets out a series of steps to implement an OLE designed for 21st Century learners. We believe this proposal addresses the key components required to evaluate how a 21st Century OLE might operate. We have outlined the considerable barriers that schools face in using an OLE eectively and how these may be overcome. We have also described what software and technical support and infrastructure is required along with a professional learning model so that it is used ef- fectively by teachers and learners. Our leadership and management model takes into account key stakeholders. Our time line is realistic and our demands of the MOE reasonable. We have the commitment and will to make our proposal work. We believe that now is the time to turn our vision into actions. 41
  44. 44. Section 10 10 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 10 Acknowledgments 10.1 Acknowledgments This paper is the result of discussions and debate amongst the MOE funded 'ePrincipal' group. However, several colleagues need to be recognised for their ability to challenge our thinking and clarify our thoughts. Eddie Reisch, Senior eLearning Advisor, MOE, has always been a phone call away and has assisted greatly with developing our ideas on integrating the technical and pedagogical aspects of this proposal. CAM, Chris Allot-McPhee, Senior eLearning Advisor, MOE, has also provided reassurance and expertise with regard to our ideas on leadership and management. Maurie Jackways, former Principal of Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, has helped greatly with researching the best evidence synthesis on professional learning. Lastly, we wish to thank Chris Parsons, Principal of the Southern Region Health School, for support, encouragement and turning our vision into action. Trevor Storr, Director of eLearning, Aorakinet, tstorr@waimate-high.school.nz Darren Sudlow, eLearning Leader, Cantatech, ds@dareld.school.nz 42

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