The day started with the 2 keynote speakers - Jane Nicholls and Derek Wenmoth. I am always interested in what these two people have to say about e-learning and the journey that is happening.
Image used under CC: AlohaMamma
The first workshop looked at how blogs had been used to as the portal for learning stories to strengthened the home-school partnership. I was amazed at how much time and effort had been invested by these teachers to upskill the students and the parents. 1-1 sessions had been undertaken where the teachers worked with families to teach them logging in, leaving comments and more. It has taken alot of hours to develop this and now the centre is working on a 'family asks' basis for the learning stories to be given this way and the families must ensure that they are willing to put in the same amount of hours as the centre. It was refreshing to see how much family involvement was going on with these blogs and how many of the families and students that had left the centre had undertaken ownership of the blog and carried it on. What a powerful way to show learning over the course of a school career or lifetime!!
My next session wowed me in the way the students own interest and passions shone through in what the students were doing and the way they were learning. Their passions were the learning. This is where a lightbulb really turned on in my head in regards to the degree of difference in what is happening in ECE to Primary education. The centre running the workshop talked a lot about students interests and passions and developing those in the centre as the central idea to the learning. Students were involved in learning experiences that breached home to school and back and involved a range of people. Having taught juniors but not spent alot of time in ECE centres this has made me re-think more about how the first year of primary is so far removed from what happens in alot of these centres.
While not on a whole, I think many junior primary teachers would get a shock to see what e-learning experiences their students are involved in before they enter their classes at 5 years of age. I had the chance to talk to several ECE educators about the transition period from ECE to primary and how hard it is. There seems to be several schools who are developing close networks with the schools around them to (see Grasslands Kindergarten blog and their links to Rhode Street School). We are currently looking at getting some of our junior teachers into visit some ECE centres. Also I am keen to look around at what is happening at our ECE centres where our students come from - how this meets with what we are doing and expecting from our students when they arrive at our school from these centres.