Virtual School Meanderings

September 15, 2016

FLANZ September Newsletter

Another one for mu Kiwi readers…

FLANZ Newsletter September 2016
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September 2016

FLANZ Newsletter

The Education (Update) Amendment Bill

Not exactly a riveting title, but what it entails has got people excited for a range of reasons. The thinking behind the Bill has been “to consider how a legislative framework can place learners at the centre of the education system, providing an enduring vision of success for all young New Zealanders…”.

Communities of Online Learning (CoOL)

Communities of Online Learning (CoOL)

Part of the Bill proposes a legislative framework for online learning, acknowledging that students will access their education through online delivery, with providers from the schooling, tertiary education and private sectors.


FLANZ members have been active in talking about this –Niki Davis,Derek Wenmoth and Rachel Whalley(VLN Primary) – and FLANZ is planning to contribute to the submission process about the Bill.

Have Your Say
Contribute to the FLANZ submission on CoOLs. FLANZ is gathering members’ views and ideas for inclusion in a submission.

Got to the FLANZ Submission Formand add your ideas and thoughts today.

Be the next to host a FLANZ Conference (Reminder)

The biennial FLANZ conference showcases best practice and theory in the broad field of open, distance, flexible and mobile learning across all aspects of the education sector including the compulsory, tertiary, and professional development settings.

Expressions of interest should be sent to the FLANZ Administrator and must be received by Monday 26 September.


VLN Primary School wins Award

Our last Newsletter reported VLN Primary’s participation in the ANZ Internet Awards in the “Diversity and Digital Skills” category.

The VLN entry was awarded with a Highly Commended.

Well done Rachel Whalley and the team at the VLN Primary.

ANZIA Winner

Recognition for JOFDL

Fred Saba’s Distance-Educator.comweb site is a major online hub for aggregating and viewing material about OFDL. JOFDL starred in a recent Newsletter from the site, giving the journal a real dose of international exposure! Saba picked out the Editorial from Vol 20(1) as worthy of mention.

The future for education?

We mentioned lifelong learning in our last newsletter. We’ve since been referred to the Ministry of Education’s “draft vision for education in 2025”. Subtitled “Lifelong Learners in a Connected World” this vision (presented as an infographic) is worth checking out. The status of the vision is unclear. Is there a Newsletter reader out there who might help by letting us know?

Here’s hoping this sort of long-term thinking can help reverse the trend in lifelong learning we reported in our last Newsletter

Hot topic for the tertiary sector

A recent issue of the journal Online Learning focuses on a topic that is currently vexing numbers of tertiary institutions: Learning Analytics.

The issue features a wide range of articles that will give a good background to the topic, starting with a useful review of the research literature and including some useful case studies of LA use. JOFDL Editorial Board member Peter Albion co-authors one of the papers. Download the issue from the Online Learning site.

Research Briefs

Learning Design

Improving online and blended teaching is partly a matter of design. Improvements can be incorporated in the initial design stage or when a course is reviewed. At the UK Open University this study analysed how teachers changed course designs to make them more student centred and supportive of students.

What did they do, and how?

One especially forearly childhood educators … but of interest to us all. This is where it starts!

(Really) young children play with technologies a lot. How is that play integrated into the provision of play-based learning? Susan Edwards suggests that what’s needed are new concepts of play – concepts relevant to play in post-industrial societies.

Question Time

Given the CoOL debate, I thought it might be interesting to interrogate the current state of online learning in the compulsory sector and develop a question about that. Get some data first I decided. There’s lots of “oh, we must head this way” or “oh this will ruin our education system” but little in the way of data. What is happening already?

I wondered … “How many students are outside the typical face-to-face classroom situation for all or some part of their study, where some form of online technology is the basis of the major part of their interaction with teachers, other students and course material?”

Easy – just like the data that the Ministry of Education gathers on students enrolled extramurally in tertiary education. Sure, definitions are fraught – just what is “online”? But let’s see what we can find.

I searched… and my question is this:

Can anyone produce even a moderately accurate and up-to-date picture in answer to the question I ask above? If so, how?

I’ll admit it, I can’t see how it can be done from currently available statistics.

Does it matter? As a long term question we could debate that. But, right now, since online education in the sector is clearly happening already, it would be nice to have some data to throw into the discussion of CoOLs.

Contact  FLANZ at or visit the FLANZ website 

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c/o Kalina Vladinova-Aylor (Admin)

Open Polytechnic, 5040

New Zealand

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