DE NEWS: 2012-T3-Week 01

"A fair idea put to use is better than a good idea kept on the polishing wheel."  Alex F. Osborn

School & Network News

Hay School of the Air - Minimising the Gap

CongratsThe parents and supervisors of Hay School of the Air met with their leader Tricia Jarratt, Mike Tom and Kym Knight from Rural and Distance Education Unit to develop ideas and strategies to minimise the gap between the perceptions by the staff and community of the delivery of teaching and learning and the actual performance.

A perception analysis tool was used to collect and analyse the data. This tool allowed all stakeholders to list the actions their students require to achieve maximum learning outcomes. Teachers and community members then ranked (from 10 to 1) the level of importance and also the current performance. The gap between importance and current performance was then identified highlighting those areas which had the greatest gap. A number of innovative and interesting strategies were brainstormed and listed to guide the teachers and supervisors to address the gaps.

This collaborative, consultative and analytical approach provided all stakeholders with the opportunity to have input into the teaching and learning of the students.

Congratulations to all involved!

Open High School trials Stage 6 English (ESL) to high support needs schools

The Open High School has recently begun trialling the delivery of a Stage 6 English (ESL) course aimed at highly disadvantaged students in regional schools in NSW.

This project is a joint initiative with the Rural and Distance Education and Multicultural Programs Unit.

The purpose of the trial is to look at ways of offering a single course subject for ESL learners located primarily in regional and remote locations where both community and teaching resources are limited to support these students.

In 2011 a similar trial was conducted from a face to face ESL classroom at Homebush Boys High School that involved co-teaching, however this proved to be a very complex and unsustainable as an ongoing model.  

Open High school is being supported by two project officers, Suzie New at RDE, who is supporting the teachers and students with distance education technology and Barbara Pillans at MPU, who is supporting the teachers and students with ESL pedagogy.

Linda Moctezuma an experienced ESL teacher, is writing and delivering the course via Moodle and video conferencing under the supervision and guidance of Ilian Yang, Head Teacher of Indonesian and Jacqui Baer, Head
Teacher Technology is designing an outstanding Moodle course.

In Term 4 the course will be delivered by a number of language teachers as Linda focuses on writing the course. To facilitate this, a 3 day Professional Learning program has been prepared for 9 teachers at Open High School and Helen Hennessey, the ESL distance education teacher, at Karabah High School. Highly experienced ESL consultants and teachers will inform the teachers about the Stage 6 English (ESL) course and ESL pedagogy.

One of the outcomes of the trial is to determine the level of additional support that is required for both the supervising teacher and the student which is above what is normally expected in the delivery of a single course subject.

Students are eligible for Stage 6 English (ESL) if they have been learning English in an English speaking school for 5 years or less prior to the beginning of year 11. Stage 6 English (ESL) is recognised by all universities.

It would be wonderful to see equity for ESL students in our regional communities and a range of great resources available for sharing within our DE community through Equella.

Bourke Walgett DE - Students having fun at the Term 2 Mini School

Bourke-Walgett School of Distance Education finished off the term 2 by having a Whole-School Mini School in Bourke. The theme for the three day mini schools was Olympics. The students were organised into 3 teams,  representing Japan, Argentina & Ireland, and earned points for their team throughout the duration of the mini school.  

The Mini School commenced with an Opening Ceremony where students were able to show case the colours of their countries and the mascots they created. In the afternoon students engaged in a public speaking course with the Western Region CAP Consultant, Damian Clarke. This was followed by a tour around Bourke and a fun and very competitive Trivia Night to end the days activities.

Day two was a day filled with a variety of Mini Olympics Sporting activities and Athletics skills run by the Active After Schools Representative, Tracy Quayle. This was a highlight for the students and a great way to experience many different sports that are played at the Olympics. Students participated in modified sports ranging from: Equestrian, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Swimming/Diving (I assure you that no water was involved), Volleyball, hockey, basketball and many more. 

In the later part of the afternoon the CMA ladies from Bourke took the children to a local billabong. The students learnt about water testing as well as the different insects and  aquatic life that live in the river systems around Bourke. The day was wrapped up with a very entertaining Talent Quest night where all students, parents and  teachers demonstrated their different talents. Everyone had a great deal of fun, especially the students who took the opportunity for "rip off" the teachers.

On the final day of the Mini School an exciting scavenger hunt was conducted. Students were tasked with finding specific items and funny activities during the hunt. The Mini School was wrapped up with a Closing Ceremony and an announcement of the winning country.

Prue Warden, Assistant Principal,Bourke-Walgett SODE said "All teachers, students and parents had a "ball" over the three days. We are so lucky to have such enthusiastic teachers to run these mini schools and could not do it without the support and help from the parents and supervisors.

In term 3 Bourke-Walgett SODE are off to Brisbane for their school excursion and expect to enjoy another fun filled week.



New DE Collegial Networks! Seeking membership! Are you interested?

DE NetworksCareers Network: This network would offer teachers with responsibilities in careers an opportunity to exchange ideas and resources.

Brett is interested in conducting a VC meeting in week 2 to establish future directions for the network of interested teachers.  If you are interested in participating in the network please contact Brett Hall at Sydney DEHS on 93830425 or his email address brett [dot] hall [at] det [dot] nsw [dot] edu [dot] au.  

A group of teachers met last year in November and shared information and discussed topics such as:

  •  Improving Student Contact
  • Improving Student Engagement
  • Student Reengagement
  • Support for Aboriginal Students
  • Welfare programs
  • Careers/Transition  to Work
  • Year 10 Extra Curricula Activities

PBL (Project Based Learning) Network: Do you want to transform your teacjhing and learning to reflect one of the significant 21st century pedagogies gaining a wide acceptance around the world. If so, this is the network for you!

Please contact Sharon Hodgson on 66869112 or sharon [dot] hodgson [at] det [dot] nsw [dot] edu [dot] au if you are interrested in being a member of this network.

15-17 Years Network for DE teachers: Are you interested in being a member?

Following the DE Symposium it has been identified that there is a need for a Network group to address the diverse needs of these students and support each other by sharing resources, ideas, concerns and strategies to engage these students.

If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Karyn Burgun at Dubbo School of DE by email; karyn [dot] burgun [at] det [dot] nsw [dot] edu [dot] au

Karyn will organise a video conference early in term 3 for team members to meet and express ideas for the future and the needs of this group.


DE Related News

What is Project Based Learning?

8 elements of PBLIn Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student "voice and choice," rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products & presentations. To find out more visit the internationally reknowned Buck Institute.

Equella News

ESAThe Rural and Distance Education Unit has just finalised discussions with Education Services Australia so that Equella users will have intergrated access to a range of their national digital teacher resource repositories including Scootle

Scootle is a 'one stop shop' that provides teachers with access to more than 13,000 digital resources in the National Digital Learning Resources Network. Scootle provides easy ways for teachers to find, organise and use the digital resources which include:

  • interactive, multimedia resources
  • audio, photo and video resources that result from partnerships with national private and public cultural and collection agencies
  • open-ended tools for teachers and students to create learning resources
  • interactive assessment resources
  • work samples
  • collections of curriculum resources
  • teacher ideas and units of work.

UDL Studio

Another learning management system (LMS) has come online for teachers to use. You may be familiar with Moodle, edmodo and LAMS but UDL Studio allows teachers to create dynamic, UDL supported learning environments. 

DE Quality Teaching essential question

 Following on from Mike Tom's presentation at the DE Dymposium on 'If DE was a person/' This weeks essential question is:  How and when do you provide timely feedback to your students? We are posing this question for thought and discussion. We would love to hear and share your thoughts and strategies. Please email kym [dot] knight [at] det [dot] nsw [dot] edu [dot] au any of your comments. 

Upcoming Events!

Professional Learning Offered by the RDE Unit

Equella-The Nuts and Bolts.

This whole day workshop is now available to be presented in schools, to all staff, by the RDE team.
Please contact Kym Knight to organise your school's training.

Other workshops that can be delivered for teachers are:

Please contact Kym Knight or Greg Alchin on 0263348070 if you would like one of these workshops presented at your school.

DE wiki

DEduce provides information for NSW DE teachers!

Newsletter contacts

Call Kym, Greg or Suzie on 0263348070 or by emailing rde [at] det [dot] nsw [dot] edu [dot] au