On the CORE Education blog, we have been discussing the need for creative and flexible solutions to deal with prolonged disruptions to school as a result of the Christchurch earthquake (see Derek’s post on Blended solutions)
Several schools have been discussing their approaches to dealing with the upheaval in their schools, on the MLE Reference Group forum. They have kindly agreed to share their stories.
Cloud-based mail and online learning areas
St Andrews College: “Many of St Andrew’s’ students have left for other centres. Over the last week 600 of their 960 students have been accessing material in their online Secondary Learning Area using subject sites and class sites. All students will have been receiving emails. The school has introduced Quake Learning Messages—teachers can create brief learning messages based on year level, subject, and class. Some TICs are using subject sites to provide materials, and most teachers are communicating with students by email directly from our SMS using a web client. Information updates are emailed on a daily basis and posted on the intranet.
“Live@edu (i.e. cloud-based mail) has been fantastic—all of our mail went over to this at the end of 2009. There has been, correspondingly, no down time with email. Quite a few staff have linked their phones to email (and some students). It has enabled me to respond quickly to teacher’s requests for assistance.” [Grant Saul, St Andrew’s College]
Social networking and wireless extended to new families
Mount Aspiring College: “We have 130 additional students (a 19% increase over our roll on 21 February!) at school this week from all over Christchurch….[There has been] a huge demand from these students to have access to our wireless network, and we have accommodated this. For many of the students and their families, this is their only internet access while they are in Wanaka.
“Social networking with peers has been one of the big requests. Thus, we have relaxed our internet filtering rules for specific students, and allowed access to, for example, Facebook. Mount Aspiring College has two video-conferencing units—if home schools have a need to go face-to-face with their “refugee” students then we can arrange this easily. [Tim Harper, Mount Aspiring College, www.mtaspiring.school.nz]
Updates for families via Twitter and the website
Simple and effective: Kendal School has an app on their home page of its website that displays the principal’s Twitter feeds, keeping parents and local community informed. Easily managed from a phone or home computer, one post on Twitter and it’s there for everyone to read.
Lessons online with Ultranet
The Cathedral Grammar School: “We are currently developing lessons within Ultranet. Our staff have taken an accelerated learning curve to get lessons to students. Already having interoperability (interop)working meant all accounts were already created. We have used a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) model of computing for a large number of years, so we were able to re-establish our network as soon as we were able to enter the cordon. We are looking at full virtualisation in the near future. We are also on the brink of releasing live@edu accounts to all staff and students as the interop, for that is also working….. It is just a matter of a little PD.” [Adrian Gray, The Cathedral Grammar School]
- Jill Hammonds of CORE Education is working with educators across New Zealand to upload a range of learning activities to a wiki for primary students – Shakeup School Wiki (See also the CORE blog, 15 March Towards a temporary virtual solution for schooling in canterbury)
- The GCSN (Greater Christchurch Schools Network) are trying to get some material up onto a Moodle 2 site as soon as possible to help schools and students who have been affected by the recent earthquake. The idea is to upload material and courses onto this site, and then share them with other schools via the Moodle in Schools HUB. Read more on Derek’s Blog: Resources for Canterbury schools
- Marielle Lange has set up a space for schools to request assistance or provide it: Schools EQNZ