Enabling school-wide eLearning practices in New Zealand secondary schools : strategies to overcome challenges

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Eyre, Robin
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Hays, Jay
Reinders, Hayo
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
secondary schools
New Zealand
Eyre, R. (2015). Enabling school-wide eLearning practices in New Zealand secondary schools : strategies to overcome challenges. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management. Unitec Institute of Technology.
New Zealand schools are directed by the New Zealand Curriculum to explore how ICT can open up “new and different forms of learning”. This is often referred to as eLearning. To enable eLearning to occur across a school, the leadership needs to manage the change to pedagogies, develop infrastructure, and plan how to provide access to devices for the students so they can use digital tools when it suits their learning. The aim of this study is to collect information from a range of secondary schools around New Zealand, to identify strategies and challenges that schools who have already begun their eLearning journey have faced, and how they addressed these situations. This study uses a qualitative, interpretive approach to understand and describe how different school leaders have enabled eLearning, by asking participants to discuss their experiences in two ways. The first phase of the research was a questionnaire in the format of a Google Form that was emailed to all New Zealand secondary schools, and provided an overview of the goals of the eLearning programme, the strategies the schools used to implement it, the challenges they faced and how they were overcome. The second phase was comprised of semi-structured interviews with eight schools, selected to represent the diversity of New Zealand secondary schools. These interviews provided a deeper understanding of the schools experiences, and the reasoning behind their decisions. The key findings of the research are that most schools are motivated to implement eLearning systems to prepare students for a future world of work where collaboration, connectedness and independent learning are key skills. The main strategies schools used included building a team to lead the change with Senior Leadership fully supporting the process, and connect Professional Learning and Development in the school to the changes. Infrastructure such as wifi was often identified as a significant concern at the start of the process, but one that was usually addressed with careful planning. Many respondent schools have implemented Bring Your Own Device programmes to ensure students have access to a device whenever it suits the learning in the classroom. The recommendations of this thesis to schools starting their own eLearning journey are to build a team of cross-faculty staff with Senior Leadership support, to form a vision and lead the change; to share the vision far and wide with the community to build ownership and engagement; and to develop a detailed strategic plan that includes infrastructure and professional development.
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