Virtual School Meanderings

December 12, 2017

December Update 2017

One for my Kiwi readers.

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VLN Primary School logo VLN Primary School
December Update 2017
Mangere Central School Japanese students talk to their eteacher in Japan
Mangere Central School Japanese students talk to their eteacher in Japan, by Maria Heron
CoOLs or Not CoOLs? A sustainable future for online learning in NZ primary schools by Rachel Whalley
The VLN Primary continues to grow in leaps and bounds every year, yet we are still not quite there in terms of becoming a recognised and fully supported part of our education system. This year we had 870 learners in the VLN Primary School network! What will next year bring? Read more
Kia ora koutou katoa

Naumai, haere mai ki te Kura Tuatahi – Akonga Aka Mariko. Welcome to the VLN Primary School

Our goal is to:

Create Connected, Passionate, Purposeful Learners

When the rush and excitement of the last days of the school year has passed and you have time to come up for air, please take some time to read through our latest newsletter which is packed full of our good news stories from 2017.

Our leading story highlights the current challenges we are grappling with around reduced funding and growing numbers of online learners. There is uncertainty over future support of online learning including the possibility of Communities of Online Learning. Concerns about sustainability are not unfamiliar territory to us, as our long term schools will be well aware of. However we ask that you use your collective efforts to help us advocate for increased resources and support for the VLN Primary.

We share our 2017 Yearbook created in Hail, showcasing the highlights of the year that has been. Students share their work and stories from our Rural & Remote Schools project, our visual arts class and our Tagalog tuakana from Rosmini College.

We farewell the wonderful Ginette and introduce three new members of staff who will be teaching with us next year. Best wishes to Lisa Wang, our Chinese teacher who is away on maternity leave next year; and big congratulations to Sofie Jacobs and her husband Will, who recently welcomed their new baby Jack into the world. It is great to see our VLN Primary family growing! Sofie will continue in her teaching role next year, working in the flexibility of being an eteacher with the demands of being a new mum.

A big thank you to our teachers, governance group, partners and supporters for enabling us to extend learning opportunities for our children.

Ngā mihi mō te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou ki a koutou katoa



Meri Kirihimete
Meri Kirihimete – 2017 A Year in Review

Another successful year for the VLN Primary and online learning in NZ schools. We wish all our school communities, whānau, students, teachers, partners and supporters a very Meri Kirihimete and a safe and enjoyable summer break. Read more to browse the highlights of the year that has been… Read more

Rural Schools are special schools!
WOW – Webpages – Rural Kids

WOW – stands for Work of the Week – a tradition shared in the Rural & Remote Schools project. This term they share their webpages, made with Google sites, that showcase their cool schools and the unique places they live. Read more

Tauriko School Visual Arts students 
Tauriko students learn Visual Arts online

Tauriko School children share their experience of learning visual arts online with Sofie, and proudly share their favourite work. Read more

Students helping students to learn - Filipino
Talking Tagalog and Tuakana Teina

Rosmini College Student John Yap talks about his Filipino language experience with VLN Primary School. John has been teaching other students the Filipino language, Tagalog, online with the VLN Primary School for 2 years. Read more

Nicki, Olivia, Ginette - eteachers VLNP
Farewell Ginette

The VLN Primary team, eteachers and trustees would like to thank Ginette for her support of our students, teachers and schools over the last three years. Read more

Rick Whalley - eTeacher in Action
Rick Whalley – Digital Technologies

Previously our extension maths teacher, Rick returns to teaching online with the VLN Primary. He will be teaching our Digital Technologies programme. Read more

Campbell Potter
Campbell Potter – learning through Minecraft

Campbell is a  part time teacher, farmer and family man. He is an experienced, digitally fluent teacher specialising in outdoor education and social studies.  Read more

Su Yang - Mandarin 
Mandarin eTeacher: Su Yang

Welcome to Su who will be relieving for Lisa Wang who is on maternity leave for Semester 1 (2018). Read more

  Explore the full publication  
Go to the website     Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter     Follow us on Google     Follow us on YouTube
Attribution-ShareAlike (by-sa)   Some rights reserved, VLN Primary School, 2017

Please note that I am a member of the Governance Group for this e-learning cluster.

December 10, 2017

Ten Trends In Education: Have Your Say

One for my Kiwi readers to begin their week.

Be in to win 1 of 5 $100 Prezzy cards when you complete our short survey
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Ten Trends 2018 Survey
Kia ora Michael

We’d love your feedback please.

Each year CORE Education’s researchers, educators and digital technology experts pool their expertise and combine their understanding and evidence of the ways that digital technologies are influencing all aspects of education. The result is our list of the ten trends that are expected to make a growing impact upon education in New Zealand in the coming year.

This year we want to add more value to our reports by drawing on the experience and knowledge of educators immersed in teaching and learning. So we’re inviting a wide range of people to provide feedback by filling this short survey (5-10 minutes). We’re also asking for stories from your classroom practice, or from the impact at a whole school or system level.

Take a few moments to familiarise yourself with the Ten Trends.

Please add your response to each section of the survey – it won’t matter whether you have read the full Ten Trends document or not – your feedback is valued in order to help us understand the range of perspectives that exist.

Where possible, please add any ideas, suggestions or links in the spaces provided. We will integrate these in the 2018 version of the Trends.

Complete Survey Here >

Be in to win

As an incentive for taking the time to complete the survey, we invite you to enter your details to go in the draw to win 1 of 5 $100 Prezzy cards!
Prizes will be drawn and winners notified on 31 January 2018.

Contact us

We love receiving your feedback and ideas of things you want to read about.
Feel free to email us anytime!

Wherever you are located in New Zealand, if you are looking for specific professional learning and development, talk to one of our consultants who can tailor PLD to you, your school or your Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Copyright © 2017 CORE Education, All rights reserved.
You have received this newsletter because you have attended one of our events and were happy for us to update you on future CORE events, subscribed to our newsletters at, registered with LEARNZ virtual field trips at, registered with Connected Educator NZ at, or registered with EDtalks at

Our mailing address is:

CORE Education · 144 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central · Christchurch, Canterbury 8013 · New Zealand

December 7, 2017

Education News And Advice – CORE December Newsletter

And for my Kiwi readers.

Inspiration for educators | Professional learning | Resources | Articles
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Kia ora Michael

As we rush towards the end of term, and reflect on another year of educational challenges and achievements, we hope you are all looking forward to a well-deserved break.

We feel very fortunate to work with so many across Aotearoa, helping you all push the boundaries of educational possibility for our ākonga, and we look forward to continuing these relationships.

No doubt 2018 has already featured in a number of conversations; this month we feature a few of CORE’s professional learning solutions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us now, so we can discuss what you’d like to focus on as you plan your next educational year. We’re always happy to chat!

Centrally-funded PLD – how is your 2018 looking?

Whether you have clear direction or are seeking help in shaping your PLD, our nationwide team of expert Facilitators can make a difference to you and your ākonga. Wherever you are in Aotearoa, whatever your needs, we can help.
Learn more about our Facilitators >
Make an enquiry >

Be inspired by our 2018 Workshops

There’s nothing like a hands-on, in depth workshop to get you going in Term 1 – and we have an extensive range to inspire you. Face-to-face, online, on your site, centrally funded or direct to kura … whichever way works for you, we have you covered. You can register now so you can start your year with some inspiration.
Browse our 2018 Workshop selection >

New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL)

Are you looking to build knowledge and practices that develop deep learning and foster whole system change? The NPDL programme provides an ideal focus for Kāhui Ako activity.
Find out more about this global project >
If you’d like to delve deeper you should attend NPDL’s NZ Deep Learning Lab, to be held in Auckland, 19-20 July 2018.
Find out more about NZ Deep Learning Lab 2018 >

Innovative Learning Environment planning matrix

Early next year the updated ILE planning matrix will be released by CORE Education. It is a matrix designed to support your thinking and planning as you create and transition to these new innovative spaces. For more information, or if you would like to discuss support for transitioning to an ILE, contact

From the blog

The four most significant shifts in modern pedagogy
The four most significant shifts in modern pedagogy
Nikki Urlich summarises shifts in education, how overwhelming “getting it right” may be, and celebrating successes and accomplishments.  More >
Building collaboration - chicken or egg?
Building collaboration – chicken or egg?
What makes collaboration work in some contexts and not in others? Explore further with Greg Carroll.
More >
Powerful play
Powerful play: Continuity and inquiry for children
Keryn Davis talks about allowing children space and time to play.
More >
Subscribe to the blog >

Professional learning – workshops, programmes & events

Online Programme
Introduction to Innovative Learning
Starts 12 February
Establishing iPads in your classroom
Establishing iPads in your classroom
Dunedin – 5 March
Online Programme
Innovative Learning Practice
Starts 12 February
Tūranga Why Why? Localising curriculum
Tūranga Why Why? Localising Curriculum
Auckland – 5 March
Online Programme
Innovative Learning Assessment
Starts 12 February
Numeracy in ILEs - Junior Primary
Numeracy in innovative learning environments – junior primary
Wellington and Christchurch – 6 March 2018

Contact us

We love receiving your feedback and ideas of topics you’d like to read about.
Feel free to email us anytime!

Wherever you are located in New Zealand, if you are looking for specific professional learning and development you can talk to one of our consultants who can tailor PLD to meet your needs and those of your school or Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. Have a deeper discussion with one of our consultants to find out how we can help.

Copyright © 2017 CORE Education, All rights reserved.
You have received this newsletter because you have attended one of our events and were happy for us to update you on future CORE events, subscribed to our newsletters at, registered with LEARNZ virtual field trips at, registered with Connected Educator NZ at, or registered with EDtalks at

Our mailing address is:

CORE Education

144 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central

ChristchurchCanterbury 8013

New Zealand
CORE Education · 144 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central · Christchurch, Canterbury 8013 · New Zealand

December 5, 2017

Your Ethos Community Newsletter For November

Another one for my Kiwi readers.

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – November 2017

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

And so it officially begins – the month of Christmas carols, mad dashes to over crowded malls and far too many events! I hope you’re surviving the chaos and have your eye on the prize – that little break at the end of the month.

If, like me, you’re of the introverted ilk and find the heavy social period a little exhausting, take a look at this article on surviving Christmas as an introvert. This can be one of the most stressful / tiring periods if you get your energy from being alone, but there are plenty of strategies to help face it full on and actually help you get some enjoyment from it too.

Particularly in New Zealand, due to our long summer break, there also seems to be the mad dash to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. And, if you’re finding the work / life chaos is all a bit much and your brain is screaming ‘enough’, Sarah Whiting has shared a great post all about how to deal when there is just too much going on in your brain –  Brain Overload- How We Can Help Our Minds in Busy Times. Sometimes your poor old brain runs out of room and you need to find ways to order and priorities the many thoughts / tasks you are concentrating on. Relevant year-round (unfortunately) but perhaps now is a good time to start putting these measures in place.

And, if you need a little r&r to get you in the spirit, John S Oliver has linked us to some great videos and tips on practicing the meditative art of Qigong –  Consider this alternative to yoga. John prefers to practice this over yoga and finds it calming – perhaps you will too?

As always, there are plenty of fabulous other posts, so sit down, grab a cuppa, take a break from the December madness and reflect on the month that was, here at Ethos.

Welcome to new members – November

The Ethos Online Community now has 449 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to the new members to the community:

  • Kaye  Gilhooley, an Educational Product Developer based in Christchurch. Kaye is particularly interested in Instructional Design and blended learning approaches

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

In this newsletter, as always, we have some interesting posts. Please jump into the conversations and feel free to ask questions.

  • Eduspeak unlocks the education-focused lingo that people outside for the profession may not always understand. I personally found this very helpful. Thanks Leigh Hynes for sharing

  • ePortfolios make learning visible to their users. They also make their user visible, being able to describe not just what they do but how and why they do it, self managing and reflecting. Being proactive. MyPortfolio trainer and eportfolio facilitator, Pascale Hyboud Peron, shares a great poster looking into the why, who and how of ePortfolios in ePortfolio for life?

  • Fancy yourself a movie buff? Or perhaps you have a student with an interest that you’d like to help blossom? Either way, this blog by John S Oliver should spark some interest. If you enjoy movies, then consider these looks at the various roles involved in movie making as well as the in-depth process it takes to get from idea to movie screen. John links us to 12 Crash Course lessons to help bring out the Speilburg in all of us

  • Rachel Whalley checks in with an update on her awesome work with the VLN primary school in What’s new online learning in NZ primary schools. There has been farm animals attending the school, as well as much prep for 2018 and some interesting research and findings. There are a wide range of online language programmes, in addition – extension maths, astronomy, visual arts, computer programming, health and Over the Back Fence Project. Registrations for 2018 are now open, so make sure to check it out here

  • Often find it hard to concentrate effectively on one thing in amongst the million other things happening in your head? Well, the good news if you’re not alone. And the even better news is Sarah Whiting is here to help. All it takes is some conscious decision making in organising your day. Take a look at Brain Overload- How We Can Help Our Minds in Busy Times to get some tips on escaping the brain burnout!

  • Adam Fletcher introduces a conceptualization of cascading leadership among students. Cascading leadership is the experience of having students facilitate other students in a sequenced way according to their skills, knowledge, and experience. It is different from traditional leadership, which is generally having students command other students according to their interest and ability. In this post, Adam explains the idea and the effects it can have, particularly in promoting student voice

  • Yoga has gone from something thought of as a hippy’s pass time, to a mainstream activity with widely recognised benefits. So, what’s the next yoga? Well if you were to ask John S Oliver, Qigong would be the answer. Qigong is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation. John shares some videos and exercises in Consider this alternative to yoga

Also recommended

As always you have contributed a superb variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:

  • In this podcast (that was shared by Mike Preece), some key points arise about providing learning opportunities across all sociocultural groups in New Zealand…in particular those who are facing socio-economic disadvantages. The link between provision of professional development and shifts in student achievement are discussed, and it was recognised that it is tough to demonstrate this shift using standardised tests. Find out more; Education under discussion: Links between professional development and helping to lift student ‘achievement’?

  • Mentoring and coaching have received a lot of attention recently on the Ethos community, so this post seemed particularly relevant. Conor Neill, in this video, outlines his thoughts about what a mentor comprises, and why we might need them in our lives. Connor suggests there are three types on mentors, and five roles they play. Take a look at the video or a quick read of the blog (Three types of mentor, and five types of role they play) and let us know your thoughts

  • Anxiety is sadly becoming a hugely common affliction. Are you ever pulled into that cycle of anxiety – that ‘what if…’ cycle that makes your stomach churn and your heart beat faster? If yes, you may well find the following resource of interest. In caught in the anxiety cycle? Find out what to do.. we look at the work of Dr. Neha Sangwan on how to transform your anxiety

Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,557 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights.

  • In this video we are shown a very simple technique to teach children to read. Teach your child to read phonetically in just one minute a day of practice you can have your child reading two and three letter words

  • If your kid wasn’t born to wait, you’re not alone. Good news is that patience is actually a skill you can teach and Sofia shares with us 3 simple and fun ways to do so in 3 Ways to Teach Kids PATIENCE!

  • Teachers unions vs. students – there is a dilemma in American education. On the one hand, teachers are essential to student achievement. On the other, teachers unions promote self-interests of their members which are antithetical to the interests of students. So, how do we fix this problem? In five minutes, Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, delineates this quandary and offers solutions.

  • This presentation is erudite, humorous, and it has the data to support the innovative approaches that the school has trialled. Highly, highly recommended; Supporting students to take control of their own learning

  • 7 undeniable reasons young people will save their parents and the world – Jan Owen AM commenced as CEO at The Foundation for Young Australians in September 2010. She is recognised as one of the leading pioneers of Australia’s youth sector, having headed up Australia’s first youth representative bodies, as Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Australia and President of the Youth Affairs Council of Australia. Since 2002, Jan has been the Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia, an organisation that has pioneered new investment, social innovation and entrepreneurship models to increase the impact of the social sector

  • The traditional system of education was designed in the industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective. Learn about the 6 major problems with the system.  At NEXT School, they are bringing a much needed upgrade to the education system to address these problems. They are India’s 1st Big Picture School. The highly innovative Big Picture Learning framework allows us to personalise each child’s educational journey making learning more engaging and relevant. Learn more in this blog post – 6 Problems with our School System


  • Are you looking for Virtual Classroom, Online Teaching or Training solutions? Vinay Kumar introduces us to WizIQ, which was awarded the World’s Best Virtual Classroom Provider in Global E-Learning Awards. To enhance the educational E-Learning and training process, WizIQ provides you with asynchronous communication tools. Take a read of WizIQ Virtual Classroom Solution for Teaching & Learning to find out more

  • If you are involved in facilitating an online community, are thinking of initiating one, or are working with, for example, students who would like to get one going…these guidelines may serve as a ‘quick guide’ of things to think about in advance- The Virtual CoP Toolbox – Guidelines for online community builders

What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) including next year’s INTCESS 2018- 5th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SCIENCES taking place in Istanbul

Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards


Charlotte Caines
Community Coordinator

Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,
Auckland 1142
Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206
Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777
Web site:
Email addresses: /
Skype: hazelowendmc

Happy Holidays From The CENZ Team!

One for my Kiwi readers.

Stay connected in education with Connected Educator NZ.

Kia ora Michael

Thank you to everyone who has been such a vital part of Connected Educator New Zealand (CENZ) this year, contributing to and participating in our collaborative calendar.

Over the year we have hosted free professional learning events, created communities, and shared resources, connecting educators across New Zealand and beyond. We’ve also shared focus topics, webinars, and online learning opportunities available for educators to dive into over longer periods of time.

CENZ is a celebration of how we can support each other’s professional learning in a connected world, and it is for YOU! We look forward to connecting with every one of you in the new year.

Best wishes to you all for a relaxing end of year and holiday season. Ngā mihi o te Tau Hou ki a koutou katoa.

– Anne Kenneally and the CENZ team

What’s new in Connected Educator NZ?

Updated Starter Kete
Starter kete
Have you tried out our new Starter Kete? To help get you connected, we have prepared 30 days of online activities that you can start anytime! Try one or two activities, challenge yourself to complete all 30 days, or mix and match these activities with any of those listed on the CENZ calendar.
Jump right in with the Day 1 activity to find out what a connected educator is. Try new things, and grow personally and professionally!
View kete >
Daily releases of free online videos, resources and more
We have recently introduced some regular slots in the CENZ calendar:
CENZ calendar

Monday – EDtalk of the week 

Tuesday – Online resource of the week

Wednesday – Book of the week

Our Thursday slot is currently blank so we’re looking for ideas from you! What would you like to see shared on the CENZ calendar every Thursday?
Email CENZ >
Earn while you learn
CENZ badges
CENZ 2017 badges spotlight a variety of possible pathways, so you can credential your participation. Whether you are learning to use online networks and technologies for the first time, championing connected professional learning in your school, kura or early childhood service, or offering events in the CENZ calendar, we want to recognise your contribution to CENZ.
Collect badges >
CENZ now on Instagram
CENZ Instagram
Check out the new CENZ Instagramaccount where we’ll be sharing quotes and images to motivate and support you in your online professional learning journey.
Follow us >
Connected Educator NZ needs you to:

Follow us on Twitter/Tīhau
Visit the website
Got a question? Email us.
Connected Educator NZ
Copyright © 2017 CORE Education, All rights reserved.
You have received this newsletter because you have attended one of our events and were happy for us to update you on future CORE events, subscribed to our newsletters at, registered with LEARNZ virtual field trips at, registered with Connected Educator NZ at, or registered with EDtalks at

Our mailing address is:

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