Virtual School Meanderings

March 1, 2016

VLN Primary School – February Update

And for my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

VLN Primary School – February Update

Class of 2013 - Rural & Remote Schools
Class of 2013 – Rural & Remote Schools, by Kath Johnson

Rural & Remote Schools Project by Rachel Whalley

This collaborative project aims to reduce the social isolation of our students (& teachers) by providing opportunities for them to connect & learn together online. Would your school like to join in too? 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:

Connect Schools for Enhanced Learning Outcomes

In this newsletter we update you on: 

The growth of our Rural & Remote Schools Project and invite other small schools to join in. Schools are meeting on Tuesday 1st March this week, so don’t miss out & get along;

What our ALLiS (Asian Languages) Team have been doing and share our project planning and resources from AFS.

We profile another great online collaborative programme for students @kidsedchatnz. This is all set up & really easy to participate in with your children – give it a go.

Finally we are looking for a champion/s who will join our Governance Group and help lead us through to the next level. If you know or are someone who has strong business & community networks and knowledge, and who is willing to work hard to make a difference for our children then we need you!

VLN Primary Kids #connectedlearners

Expressions of interest are sought for appointments to VLN Primary Governance Group

Our AGM is coming up in April, and we are looking for new trustees who will help take our work to the next level. If you are passionate about empowering our young people with equity & access to education, you have networks and experience in business and community, and are serious about making a difference then we need you! Read more

The aim of Kidsedchatnz is to motivate kids to be active, engaged and connected learners.

Kidsedchatnz 

Twitter chat for NZ kids – #participate #connect #collaborate Read more

ALLiS Teachers PLD Day

Unpacking the Curriculum, Inquiring into Practice.

Our ALLiS teachers team met for a day of PLD with the wonderful Jeanne Gilbert. Read more

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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

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

February 12, 2016

Get Your Virtual Registrations In Now!

One for my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

Get your virtual registrations in now! by Ginette Van Praag

Prince Harry takes an Online Class
Prince Harry takes an Online Class— Rachel Whalley

Virtual is pretty real for us at the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, so we need you to get your skates on, talk to your students and get their registrations into Ginette  right now. A reminder that as we are part of the ALLiS Project – there is no cost attached to some of our programmes this year.  Read more
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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

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

February 2, 2016

Welcome back to ‘Virtual’ School!

One for my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

Welcome back to ‘Virtual’ School!

Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L.
Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L., by Rachel Whalley

Having a Say – Consultation on the NZ Education Act by Rachel Whalley

Here is the VLN Primary School’s submission on the review of the NZ Education Act.  We are looking forward to contributing to positive change in NZ schooling. An interesting road ahead … Read more

Kia ora koutou katoa

Naumai, haere mai ki te Kura Tuatahi – Akonga Aka Mariko. Welcome to the VLN Primary School for 2016! 

It is going to be a full on year for us all – in our own schools and in our collaborative, virtual school, the VLN Primary.

Our goal is to:

Connect Schools for Enhanced Learning Outcomes.

In this newsletter: 

We share our submission to the Education Act that advocates for changes to the Act that enables learning that is flexible, open and accessible for all our learners across a networked schools system. We welcome any feedback from our schools on this submission.

We start the year off with something that is an integral part of how we learn together online – internet safety. We are proud to support Safer Internet Day on February 9th. Find out more on how to participate and keep following us to share our digital citizenship resources #sid2016

Don’t forget to get in early with your registrations to participate. This enables Ginette to work out the incredibly complex job of developing a timetable that works the best it can for all of us; and gives us time to prepare you and your students to be successful online learners.    Geoff from Rosmini College, is still welcoming participation in Over the Back Fence, Environment Health Project – this closes soon so get in quick.

Our Asian Language (ALLiS) Project is well underway. We are looking forward to the arrival of our new Mandarin Language Assistant & have a range of programmes ready to run – Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Asia Inquiry; short tasters, small groups, whole classes. There is no cost to schools to join these programmes, but these are limited to our Project schools in the first instance, then first come after that (note there is still a modest VLN Primary administration fee). We are very interested to hear from anyone who can teach our Bahasan Indonesian class; and we would love to hear from children who want to learn Tagalog. Please offer this to your Filipino community.

The VLN Primary School doesn’t have a monopoly on learning online,  there are some very exciting & effective projects being developed by teachers around NZ. We plan to profile these over the coming weeks with our first two articles in this newsletter. Check out NZ Read Aloud led by Kerri Thompson from Tamatea Intermediate, and Re-imaging Sports Education by Tim Morgan from Bishopdale Primary. Get in touch with them to participate in their projects. If you have a project you want profiled here contact Rachel. If you have ideas from projects or programmes you want to run, contact us for support.

Finally a heads up for 14th Annual Sole Charge and Rural Teaching Principals′ Conference. A favourite conference for the VLN Primary – some great speakers & workshops; and a time to connect and have fun!

Coming up:

  • Safer Internet Day – 9th February
  • Governance Group Meet – 16th February
  • ALLiS Teachers PLD – 18th February
  • Online classes scheduled to start – 7th March
  • AGM – April – date TBC
Safer Internet Day 'Play your part for a better internet!' https://goo.gl/aXlyI1

#SIDKIDS16 Play your part for a better internet!

Join us on Tuesday 9th February for a Special Internet Safety Event  Read more

Get your registrations in for 2016!

Check out what’s on offer for our students & teachers for 2016. Keep an eye out for updates as new programmes are starting up all the time. Get your registrations in now to ensure your students a place. Read more

Students from Indian talking with Rosmini College students.

Over the Back Fence Project 2016

Check out the Over the Back Fence Project – Global Connections, Collaborative Inquiry, Reciprocal Teaching. Plan to participate for 2016!Read more

#NZreadalound

##NZreadaloud One Book to Connect Kiwi Kids

Participating in #NZreadaloud is bringing the future of literacy into our classrooms. Find out more and how you can participate Read more

Rural & Remote Schools Principals Conference 2015

Lead, Innovate, Educate: Creating Communities

Register Early for: 14th Annual Sole Charge and Rural Teaching Principals′ Conference: Lead, Innovate, Educate: Creating Communities Havelock North, 18-20 May 2015  Read more

A re-imagined approach to Sports Education

As school programmes shape themselves to be future focussed and reflect modern learning practises, physical education programmes continue to deliver game based learning aligned to an often narrow sporting endpoint. What if physical education programmes reflected a broader future focus? Read more

Minister Nikki Kaye joins in a Japanese class with students from Mangere Central School at the launch of N4L.

Having a Say – Consultation on the NZ Education Act

Here is the VLN Primary School’s submission on the review of the NZ Education Act.  We are looking forward to contributing to positive change in NZ schooling. An interesting road ahead … Read more

Japanese Lanterns

Asian Language Learning in Schools

Our students will soon be benefiting from the government’s investment in Asian Language Learning in Schools (ALLiS) funding initiative. Read more

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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2016

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

December 15, 2015

Meri Kirihimete from the VLN Primary School

For my Kiwi readers…

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VLN Primary School logo

VLN Primary School

Meri Kirihimete from the VLN Primary School

Prince Harry takes an Online Class
Prince Harry takes an Online Class, by Rachel Whalley

2015 – Another Awesome Year! by Rachel Whalley

This is the story of our year in the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, told through the gathering of our ‘internet breadcrumbs’ – our trail marked through social media, news media & our collaborative digital footprint. We hope that you get excited an inspired by our stories!  Read more

This newsletter rounds off another busy and eventful year for our network of schools. Today we farewell some of our teachers, share some of our highlights and update you on opportunities to participate in 2016. Before you all slip away for a well deserved summer break and family time, we want to thank you for your support and participation. Whether you are a Principal, teacher, or eteacher, from a school, the MoE, or other organisations – working together we make a difference for each of our students. ‘Nāku te rourou, nāu to rourou, ka ora, te tamaiti’. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from all of us at the VLN Primary School.

Japanese eTeacher Shona Salomen skypes from Tokyo to students at Mangere Central

Surprising our Japanese students

It started off as a regular online Japanese lesson and then became a Mystery Skype… Read more

Prince Harry takes an Online Class

2015 – Another Awesome Year!

This is the story of our year in the Virtual Learning Network Primary School, told through the gathering of our ‘internet breadcrumbs’ – our trail marked through social media, news media & our collaborative digital footprint. We hope that you get excited an inspired by our stories!  Read more

Yanjie Li

Zaijian Yanjie

Farewell to our lovely Yanjie (Jessie) from the Confucius Institute, Auckland. Read more

A bientôt, e noho rā M@rie

Bonjour tout le monde

This is the end of the VLN Primary and New Zealand journey for me. I had such a good time here, over the last three years, meet so many people, saw so many beautiful places, and experience the kiwi culture. Read more

Get your registrations in for 2016!

Check out what’s on offer for our students next year, keep checking in as new programmes come up all the time. Read more

Students from Indian talking with Rosmini College students.

Over the Back Fence Project 2016

Check out the Over the Back Fence Project – Global Connections, Collaborative Inquiry, Reciprocal Teaching. Plan to participate for 2016!Read more

At the Ngā Tohu Reo Māori awards dinner Ahuriri / Napier

Ngā Tohu Reo Māori

We had the privilege to be nominated as finalists and attend the Ngā Tohu Reo Māori awards in Ahuriri/Napier recently. Read more

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Copyright © VLN Primary School, 2015

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

November 12, 2015

VLN Primary School – Term 4 Update

One for my Kiwi readers…

VLN Primary School 
Term Three Update 2015
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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 and achievements of our connected learners and teachers. This term we kicked off our Asian Languages Project and introduce you to our newest three eteachers; we celebrate success for our te reo Māori programme; share the adventures of our Rural & Remote Schools students; and make the first call for registrations for 2016.We are pleased to announce that our current contract between Matapu School and the Ministry of Education has been rolled over for the 2016 year. A big thank you to our friends at the MoE who have been working alongside in support of our work. This relieves the uncertainty of how we will operate next year but we are yet to achieve long term sustainability. I have been cautiously optimistic that changes in our educational system would help bring a legitimate place for the VLN Primary School within the publicly funded schooling system. We have pursued these opportunities as they present themselves – unfortunately we have plainly been told ‘we don’t fit the policy parameters’ for accessing resources for Communities of Schools and we also are not the right stuff for TLIF – Teacher Led Innovation Fund  – it is hard to see that we aren’t innovative enough to access this fund? It is disheartening that these changes, although aimed at collaboration and innovation are quite inflexible and not accessible to us. However we will reframe our approach to TLIF, and will keep a watch on reviews to provisions of PLD & the Education Act. We are also looking for business & community partnership and support.  This year we have put in applications to NEXT Foundation, UNESCO and InternetNZ. We are looking for someone to join our Governance team with the right networks to open doors to business & community sectors and to help us develop those partnerships and sponsorship opportunities. So if you are that person, know that person or want to partner with us we would love to talk to you. 


R & R Kids at the Zoo

The Rural & Remote Project Camp was held in Wellington last week with 7 schools, 27 students & their teachers, and Sam the KiwiCan youth helper. It was an action packed week; some of the highlights were Weta Workshop, Trade Me offices, Gallipoli exhibitions at Te Papa and at the National War Memorial, Capital E – Gamemaking. We visited parliament and had 6 of our MPs spend some time with us – a first for the Parliament Education Centre. We also got up close with Prince Charles and Camilla and their entourage, and shared in the excitement of the All Blacks welcome, including some close encounters. Check out camp week told through social media here on our Storify. With our continued funding from the Ministry we will be able to extend our Rural & Remote Project in 2016 if you are interested in participating and leading a new cohort – contact Rachel.

The Rural & Remote Schools Project has been running for the last 3 years with the goal of reducing the social isolation of our students (& teachers) and preparing them for leaving their small communities and going on to high school. Our previous cohort of students (Class of 2013) are became good friends and still remain in contact.

NEWSFLASH
VLN Primary Made Finalists for Nga Tohu Reo Māori

Congratulations to our amazing kaiako Nan Peeti & Koka Jules for their work they do with our students & school communities, that has placed us as finalists in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori.
Ngā Tohu Reo Māori is an annual Māori language awards event held to celebrate excellence and long term commitment to te reo Māori from across Aotearoa New Zealand. The awards, hosted by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, aim to recognise te reo Māori regeneration and innovation.We have had a growing number of requests to extend and adapt our programme into te reo Māori PLD opportunities for classroom teachers, and are currently working on developing this for schools. If you are interested in participating in Virtual Rumaki and sharing the taonga that Jules & Peeti bring to your classroom and professional practice, please contact us to express your interest.
You can read more about our Virtual Rumaki here.

Congratulations to Fiona Duncan from Rangiwaea School who has been accepted on the Asian NZ Shanghai Business Forum for Teachers! This is a great professional learning opportunity and as Fiona is a participant in our ALLiS Project we will all get to gain from the knowledge & expertise that she will bring back. All schools will have an opportunity to participate in our ALLiS Project, student learning and PLD – contact us to express your interest!


Welcome to:

We are pleased to introduce to you our new eteachers who will be working with us on our Asian Languages in Schools Project. Each brings with them a wealth of experience in teaching their various Asian languages in NZ schools.

Lisa Wang

Ni hao, my name is Lisa. I have joined VLN Primary this year as an eTeacher of Chinese.

I was born in Taiwan and have lived in NZ for more than 20 years. I live with my husband, my dog Archie, and two international students. Before I was a Mandarin teacher I studied music at University. I have taught Mandarin Chinese for the last six years. I enjoy using different strategies to help students to speak with confidence. In my spare time, I like to learn how to cook new things, travel to new places, take my dog to the beach, dig in the garden, play piano, have coffee with friends, and watch movies.

April Hwang

April was born in South Korea, where she gained a Bachelor degree followed by Master of Art degree in Korean language and literature. In Korea, she has been in various teaching roles since graduating from her Masters in Korea. She taught Korean language and literature in primary and secondary schools for several years. After moving to Auckland, she taught Korean to Korean students living in New Zealand at Auckland Korean School, where she also became the Deputy Principal. From 2006, she worked as a teacher-aide in Mt Albert Grammar School. Then she moved on to complete a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) at the University of Auckland in 2010 and has been teaching Korean at several intermediate schools since 2012.
Ever since she moved to New Zealand with her family, April has lived her life in New Zealand regarding herself as a ‘moving Korea’.


Shona Salomen

Shona SalomenKonnichi wa. My name is Shona Salomen and I have just recently joined VLN Primary as a Japanese language teacher.
I lived in Japan for 12 years, returning to New Zealand with my family in 2002. Since then I have worked as a Japanese language teacher at Fiordland College. I have developed an interesting language programme, which includes a trip to Japan every three years. I am passionate about teaching, and try to introduce this fascinating culture and language in an easy and fun environment.
At the beginning of 2015, my family moved to Wellington, and I will be joining them in November. My son who is passionate about basketball and parkour, is training to be an arborist, my daughter is completing her Year 11 studies.

Call for Registrations and Expressions of Interest 2016

We are preparing now for 2016 and have started our enrolments process. Please put in any expressions of interest or enrolments SOONER rather than later. This will give us more time to respond to queries, tailor programmes more specifically to the need of  your students, and prepare the elearning support & PLD that needs to be in place to ensure our students are set up for success. Getting in early will also be an advantage to ensure your students get their first choices.

We intend to offer the following language classes:
Cook Islands Māori, Te Reo Māori, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Spanish and Afrikaans.  (We are currently seeking new language teachers for: French and Spanish)
Our other classes are:
Asia Aware Enquiry, Astronomy, Extension Maths, Literacy – Poetry and Programming & Computer Science.
We are also inviting interest for PLD in te reo Māori, Asian Languages and Learning with Digital Technologies.
PLZ consider putting yourself forward as an eteacher, this reduces your schools participation costs and is a great way to get some PLD in teaching & learning online!

ULearn15, as always, was a great time to make contact outside the virtual in face to face networks. To meet, make new friends and learn from each other.
The VLN Primary School presented two workshops on our Asian Languages and our Rural & Remote Schools Projects. You can see our presentation here.If you would like Rachel to present to your school, BoT or Principals group on these projects or any aspects of the VLN Primary School initiative please make contact.

Register Early for:
14th Annual Sole Charge and Rural Teaching Principals′ Conference:

Lead, Innovate, Educate:  Creating Communities

Havelock North, 18-20 May 2015

The conference will feature:
Communicate, collaborate and create community with Jennifer Abrams (USA)
Reimaging AKO across NZ Schools with Cherie Taylor-Patel
Effective use of banked staffing and school financial management tips with Wayne Facer

Teacher workshops include:
Student ownership of learning
Reggio Emilia in New Zealand classrooms
Tools and tips for online collaboration

Plus exciting Hawke’s Bay experiences:
Amazing Race
Art Deco Conference Dinner
Local wines

Last years conference was a great success make sure you get along to next years – more info and registration form here.

What is the VLN Primary School?

The VLN is an amorphous phrase that can mean different things to different people – a Ministry online service, a teachers professional website, or online teaching & learning communities. To see what the ‘VLN Primary School’ is all about read this recent article published in STA magazine.

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:

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VLN Primary School

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Matata, Bay of Plenty 3194

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

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