Virtual School Meanderings

September 3, 2015

VLN Primary School – Term 3 Update

From the inbox earlier today…

VLN Primary School 
Term Three Update 2015
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VLN Primary School

Kia ora koutou

Thanks for reading our VLN Primary School newsletters. Our goal is to:
 Connect Schools for Enhanced Learning Outcomes.
In this newsletter we update you on the activities of our connected learners and teachers, share some of their feedback, welcome our new schools and teachers, and keep you informed on whats coming up for the VLN Primary.

It would be great to see that Spring has Sprung! but unfortunately we are still not quite there yet. It has been an extremely busy winter term in schools around the country and also for the VLN Primary School. Although we have some interruptions with winter sports and illnesses, students are now well settled into their second semester classes and making the most of their learning opportunities.
Image attribution: 

How’s it Going?

Recently we asked our students for some feedback. The responses overall were very positive about the challenge of their new learning and the support of their eteachers. Some of the drawbacks mentioned involved timetabling, when classes cut across break times or sports times; and occasions when technology wasn’t running smoothly. Here are a few of their quotes:
Thumbs up Students

‘I love Maori because i am learning more of my culture that i didn’t know about.’

‘I think French is going quite well and I’m having a blast.’

‘In vln te reo Māori its really good for me to learn my culture and its also good to learn the basic’s. I think vln is good and its fun to skype people almost around the world,  i’ve learned  a few things that i did not know so yeah vln te reo Māori is my kind of thing.’

‘Very fun and challenging new experience because things in the classroom just come so easily to me and it’s nice to have a challenge.’

A big thank you to all our wonderful eTeachers who have stepped up to the challenge of learning to teach online to provide these classes for our students. Kino ke koutou!

Welcome to

New schools joining us this Semester are Wairaki Primary School, Maraetai Beach School, and East Tamaki School. Also great to have Te Miro School return with students participating in many different classes.

Welcome also to new eTeachers Shine Kelly and David Pirie.
Shine is an experienced classroom teacher living in sunny Nelson and is teaching Astronomy. She is passionate about the environment, loves hiking and geocaching; also playing Minecraft and Lego. Shine places a high value on equality in education, promotion of student directed learning and collaborative learning. Shine has been an environmental educator, with strengths in Science and eLearning.

David is based in Dunedin and is taking over from Rick in teaching one of our Extension Maths classes. David comes from a diverse and innovative background as a teacher, Principal, Educational Technology Consultant and Educational Tutor. He is interested in the application of technology in teaching and learning; particularly in Instructional Design – the leveraging of new technologies to enhance systems and learning, involving creating learning content that is effective, engaging and vibrant, and that promotes understanding. David is keen to develop his skills as an eteacher.

We are very excited to have both Shine and David join our eteaching team, we will have lots to learn from them.

Congratulations to

Stephanie Michel who not only attended her first German teachers conference in Wellington in the recent school holidays, but was also invited by GANZ (German in Aotearoa NZ) to present a workshop on her experience teaching German online. GANZ has offered free German posters and resources to schools learning German with the VLN Primary School.

Stephanie has been teaching with us since we first started up and is passionate about the German language and sharing her knowledge with students. She has maintained her commitment to teaching online even through the recent devastating floods which have caused chaos on her and husband Hans,Tarata farm. Stephanie & Hans recently featured on Country Calendar.

AFS Teacher Exchange

Over the month of August we hosted Yaju Cheng from China through the AFS teacher exchange. Yaju travelled the length of NZ to spend a week each with four of our schools who are participating in the Asian Languages Project – Moanataiari, Oakura, Apiti and Halfmoon Bay. Yaju and the hosting schools kept a blog of her visit at

Kath from Halfmoon Bay School writes ‘It was so interesting to live and work with someone from a completely different culture for a week…Yaju teaches in a school of over 3000 students in Beijing, China and her life is so completely different from mine that it was mind-blowing.’ Read more on Yaju’s visit to Stewart Island here.
It was a fantastic learning experience for our schools to host Yaju and we will definitely be partnering with AFS again next year.
Look out for the VLN Primary School at ULearn in October. We will be running workshops on our Asian Languages Project and our Rural & Remote Schools Project.
If you are coming to conference please make contact & introduce yourself to Rachel.

Coming Up

The VLN Primary Governance Group meets soon to develop our strategic thinking and plan the way forward in supporting schools to extend learning opportunities for our students. The Asian Languages Project team will also be meeting to plan out the details of how our project will operate over the next two years.
Keep an eye out for our next newsletter which will update you on these developments, and have information for schools preparing to participate in 2016. We will also follow the Rural & Remote Project students as they prepare for their camp to Wellington.

The VLN Primary School is available to all NZ primary schools providing:

  • support and leadership for virtual learning,
  • effective coordination of virtual learning programmes,
  • professional learning to enable quality online teaching and learning programmes,
  • personnel to advocate for virtual learning initiatives.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and school communities.

Ngā mihi nui

Thanks to our supporters:


Creative Commons License
2015 VLN Primary School.

You are receiving this email through your association with the VLN Primary School.

Our mailing address is:

VLN Primary School

10 Clem Elliott Drive
R D 4

Matata, Bay of Plenty 3194

New Zealand

Add us to your address book

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

August 24, 2015

Updating the Virtual Learning Network in New Zealand

I’ve had this in my inbox for a week or two now, but I haven’t gotten around to posting it yet.  Anyway, there have been a few updates to the Virtual Learning Network in New Zealand that I wanted to pass along.

New file: VLNCMap2015

The Map showing the relative location of the of 2015 Virtual Learning Network Community clusters

New file: VLNC Logo

The graphic created by Robin Ohia to encompass the community of schools within the VLNC

For folks that would like to know more about the VLN and the VLN-C, please visit:

August 17, 2015

Darren Sudlow Invited You To Career Pathways In The IT Industry: Presented by Datacom SI

An early in the day entry for my Kiwi reads…

Join us for a presentation and Q&A on Career Pathways in the IT industry. Hosted by Ian Harding, Software Development Manager at Datacom SI, this is a fantastic opportunity students or teachers who want to get an insight into what the industry offers.


Career Pathways in the IT Industry: Presented by Datacom SI

Mon, August 24, 9:00 PM

Hangouts On Air – Broadcast for free

Darren Sudlow is going to watch

August 13, 2015

Darren Sudlow Invited You To NetNZ Teacher Case Studies: Building Community

One for my Kiwi readers…

Join us for a first in a series of sessions with NetNZ eTeachers. Online learning enables significant opportunity to connect students no matter where they happen to be. The roll out of ultra fast internet is now providing us the opportunity to take the distance out of distance education. This session will focus on three teachers who have worked on developing interaction, connection and collaboration between their students. Each has done something slightly different to ensure students do not work in isolation and benefit from connecting with their peers.

Garry Brittenden will take us through how he has encouraged interaction through the use of provocative discussion.

Marina Krijgsman will demonstrate a knowledge building approach that encourages learning as collaborative, exploratory and relevant.

Darren Sudlow will share his project based Crafting History community that utilizes an online space as hub for a group of learners.


NetNZ Teacher Case Studies: Building Community

Wed, August 19, 11:30 PM

Hangouts On Air – Broadcast for free

July 16, 2015

VLN Primary School – New Learning Opportunities Semester 2

One for my Kiwi readers…

VLN Primary School 
New Online Learning Opportunities Semester 2
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VLN Primary School

New Learning Opportunities for #connectedlearners

We have a few new classes and projects starting up for the second half of this year and welcome students’ participation. We would love for you to give your children access to these opportunities to participate in learning that may be of special interest or importance to them and their whanau, and that will also help them grow as digitally literate, independent self-managing learners.

This newsletter showcases Te Reo Māori Kuki Airani, Kiwi-skool bied nou Afrikaanse and Korean Inquiry.

Mandarin Class

Classes will be scheduled weekly in our Adobe Connect Virtual Classroom (times to be advised). Afrikaans will be running after school at 3.30 (day to be confirmed). The Korean Inquiry will not have scheduled weekly times but will be facilitated mainly through our online environment, with occasional real time skype connections.
Students will be expected to spend some time in self-study & practice, schools & whanau will need to help them out with developing these self management skills. Here is more information about Connecting to your Virtual Class. Check out our Protocols for Participation that outline costs of participation.

Te Reo Māori Kuki Airani
Cook Islands Te Reo.

Big thanks to Junior Pauka from Mangere Central School who will be teaching our children this term. This class is suitable for students with little or no te reo, and for students who are NZ or Cook Island students. Our main student group is between Years 6 – 8, but older students are welcome, as are younger, although younger students will need more learning support in their home schools.

Korean Inquiry – Asia Our Closest Neighbour

Have you ever thought about who New Zealand’s closest neighbour is?
Do you want to learn about Asia today and possibilities for our futures?
This is an inquiry unit designed for students in Years 4-8. We will be inquiring into Asia, using a Korean Context. Students can join as a whole class with the support of their classroom teacher or individually and in small groups. This programme is developed and facilitated by Nicki Fielder from Apiti School. Nicki visited Korea last year with an Asia New Zealand study trip.
More information here.

Afrikaans After School

This class is being provided by Mevrou Annatjie Fourie, Principal of Ohura Valley Primary School as her contribution to the VLN Primary School. Not only does this provide our students with new learning opportunities but enables Annatjie to teach in an area she is passionate about. Classes will be aimed at the beginning language learner and can then be tailored to suit the varying needs of the children. This class is suitable for NZ students with an interest in Afrikaans, and who want to be able to speak with their friends and neighbours. As well as language learning support for SANs children in NZ.

Other Learning Opportunities

We still have some room to include children in these classes:

  • Te Reo Māori
  • Mandarin
  • French
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Extension Maths
  • Programming & Computer Science.
Most classes are available for small groups of children or individuals, some are suitable also for whole class participation with the support of the classroom teacher. We aim to be as flexible as we can to the needs of our schools and students so please discuss with us what will work best for you.
Think about the students in your schools that would benefit from joining in with this class and help them participate!
Home schooled children welcome also.Make enrolments here,
or further queries to Ginette. 

Thanks to our supporters:

Share Commons License
2015 VLN Primary School.

You are receiving this email through your association with the VLN Primary School.

Our mailing address is:

VLN Primary School

10 Clem Elliott Drive
R D 4

Matata,Bay of Plenty3194

New Zealand

Add us to your address book

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

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