Virtual School Meanderings

May 26, 2015

VLN Primary School – Term 2 May Update

One for my Kiwi readers…

VLN Primary School 
Term Two May 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 our recent AGM, talk about our small rural schools, share the buzz on Prince Harry’s recent NZ visit, give you a heads up on whats coming up and a shout out for teachers to join us in teaching online.
“Children will learn from many people and places and not just the teacher in their own classroom or school. We need to look for more community involvement supporting learning and sharing of expert teachers across schools; more opportunities for tuakana/teina and students leading learning; more global education, where our children learn from others and develop cultural understandings. Children will access personalised learning pathways – learning what they want, with who they want, when they want to. Your role as their home school teachers will be to make sure they have sound foundation skills in place (literacy, numeracy, key competencies) to enable them to excel in their learning and to help them navigate and access a wider world of learning. This is my vision for a future of learning.”

ePrincipal Report AGM
Thanks to all who attended our recent AGM. The VLN Primary School operates as a Charitable Trust; the support of our participating schools, partner organisations and ‘champions’ from across the educational and elearning sector enables us to keep operating and extend the learning options for all our children. Special thanks to Rick Whalley (Core Education) and Lorraine Makutu (Mangere Central School) who have stepped down from their trusteeship roles and welcome to new trustees Wayne Howes (Moanataiari School) and Dr. Michael Barbour (Conneticut, USA). We will introduce them in our next newsletter. Big thanks to Geoff Wood (Rosmini College) who has stepped up to take on the Chairperson role in the Governance Group; and Kath Johnson (Halfmoon Bay School) and Jarad Chittenden (Matapu School) continue as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.

The Governance Group has a big task ahead to review our strategic directions and to continue to work for sustainable resourcing – as of December 2015 the VLN Primary School has no continued funding from the Ministry of Education. For more information read the AGM reports from the Chairperson andePrincipal.

How exciting to have Prince Harry visiting Halfmoon Bay School and ask specifically to see an online class in action. Harry joined German class, taught by Stephanie Michel from Kaimata in Taranaki and with students from Stewart Island as well as Orere School and Kaponga School. The students, and staff of the participating schools were very surprised and excited to hear of their visitor when they arrived at school.The students all greeted Harry in German and he was asked whether he knew any German. He replied that he can’t speak German, that he had learnt French at school but had forgotten most of it and that he would love to learn Spanish. Harry stayed for 10 minutes chatting to students before he had to leave to join with the activities planned for him at Halfmoon Bay School.
Check out Kath’s Storify – a collection of great images and stories about Prince Harry’s visit.

Rural and Remote Schools Project Presents

Well done to Kath Johnson (Halfmoon Bay), Keryl Lee (Makuri) & Jen Vincent (Marco) who presented alongside Rachel (in the picture below, left to right) at the recent Sole Charge & Teaching Principals’ Conference in Havelock North. You can view their presentation here.

Rural & Remote Project Principals

Principals from the Rural & Remote Schools Projects were able to meet face to face and discussthe Camp to Wellington coming up in November. Principals at conference were invited to share information about their Y7/8 numbers with a view to starting up a new cohort in this Project – watch this space. NZPF President Denise Torrey, who was speaking at conference, describes our Rural Principals as the ‘rural backbone’ of the profession. Principals in turn expressed the unique concerns of rural schools particularly around staffing and access to resourcing to support collaborative initiatives between their geographically distributed schools. NZPF has promised to follow up and advocate around the concerns of our sole charge and small rural schools.
Heads Up for Next Semester, Starting Term 3.

Now is the time for schools who have been considering their participation to make contact and prepare their students for Semester Two learning opportunities. Check out our recorded Taster Class session to see how our online classes work.  To book a taster class session, expressions of interest or queries please Contact Ginette. 

The following learning opportunities are available next term, with more confirmed classes and calls for enrolments invited in our next newsletter.
Language Classes – te Reo Māori, Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, Afrikaans – students are welcome to participate in any of these classes.  If you want to introduce learning languages in your classroom or school, this is a great way to start. We invite interest from schools for individual students, small groups or whole class participation.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming with Scratch
A fun introduction to computing with opportunities to practice problem solving and technological modelling skills through the creation of interactive animations, stories and games. Follow this link for more information. 

VLN Primary School activities – online classes and projects are open for all NZ schools to participate. Please read our Protocols of Participation for specific details on how to participate and what costs are involved.

Shout Out to prospective new eTeachers –  put up your Hand!

eTeacher Shout Out

We are seeking new eteachers to train to work with our students. Preference will be given to NZ registered teachers, and those with elearning skills and experience. However if you have a strong interest, knowledge and skills of the types of programmes we want to offer our student PLZ make contact with Rachel. eTeaching is highly flexible, challenging, and rewarding. Teachers can be contributed by their employing school in return for their students participation; or be contracted by the VLN Primary for their time. This would be suitable for teachers who are teaching part time or are out of school with a young family, or semi-retired.
We are specifically seeking teachers for: Te Reo Māori Kuki Airani, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Maths, Science, and Astronomy.

Keep an eye out for our next newsletter which will have news on our Asian Languages Project, profiles of our new trustees, new online programmes and a call for participation. Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and school communities.

Ngā mihi nui

Thanks to our supporters:


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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

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

March 30, 2015

Be part of the Virtual Learning Awards and Network Community (VLNC) Council AGM Day with Associate Minister of Education the Hon. Nikki Kaye

One for my Kiwi readers…

VLNCommunity Logo

Virtual Learning Awards celebrate best practice at all levels in online communities 

You are invited to join in the celebrations and attend the Virutal learning Network Community AGM day – all the information is available via the link below

The Virtual Learning Network Community
Annual General Meeting & Virtual Learning Awards AGM

31 March 10am-4pm Wellington

Details to join virtually:

  • By VC 0605Bridge PIN: #615663#
  • By Audio 0800 693 638 – PIN: #615663
  • Web bridging by arrangement

Venue: Bolton Hotel, cnr Bolton & Mowbray Streets,
Wellington 6140 (04 472 9955)

December 21, 2014

Virtual Learning Awards Celebrating Outstanding Online And Blended Learning

One for my Kiwi readers…

The Virtual Learning Network Community is responsible for significant accomplishments in the increase in learning through digital technologies within and across geographically dispersed classrooms, promoting the developing practice of blended and online learning. To acknowledge this, the VLNC Council developed parameters for awarding recognition to some key individuals from within the member communities as a way to showcase some of these outstanding achievements to the wider education network and general public. The inaugural event was held in April this year, with recipients receiving their award and prize from the Honourable Nikki Kaye, Associate Minister of Education. The VLNC Council has announced that nominations are now open for the 2014 round to be awarded term one 2015.

The Virtual Learning Awards are open to individuals and/or groups within the Virtual Learning Network Community of schools and school clusters. The Virtual Learning Awards are sponsored by Asnet Technologies, a provider of services, equipment, and support for blended and online learning.
The Virtual Learning Awards have five main categories:
  • Achievement
  • Enabling e-learning
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Building capacity

To enter your nomination and download the nomination form

Original at:

May 16, 2014

Media Release for the Virtual Learning Awards 2014

One for my Kiwi readers to begin the day…

Virtual Learning Awards release info;

On 15 April 2014 the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) held their Annual General Meeting in Wellington. As part of that event the delegates were joined by the Associate Minister of Education the Hon. Nikki Kaye who spoke about the work of the sector and the vision and passion she sees as essential in the ongoing efforts towards a brighter future for education in New Zealand. As well as speaking to the group, the Minister was invited to be part of the presentation ceremony for the inaugural Virtual Learning Awards. The awards were instigated by the VLNC Council and have been developed to honour some of the exceptional individuals within the virtual learning community, and to highlight aspects of the range of outstanding work undertaken by the community as a whole.

The inaugural awards event was sponsored by Asnet technologies, who have been part of the journey alongside the Virtual Learning Network Community of schools. The VLNC delegates were joined by senior management and several staff members of Asnet technologies an integral part of the awards event, as well as providing the technology and support to enable members of the community and families from around the country to attend both the meeting and awards ceremony.

2014 VLA winners joined by members of the VLNC Council and Senior members of Asnet Technologies


From the left Back row: Rachel Roberts, Eric Greenop, Richard Bishop, Sue Winters, Gary Pasco, Chris Nielsen
Front row: Madeline Campbell, Meghan Scanlon, Kanyakon Kosinanonth, Carolyn Alexander-Bennet, Jo-Anne Stuart

Citations for the Virtual Learning Awards

Rachel Roberts:

Rachel has been nominated for her work within the VLN Communities of Schools in terms of her development of the VLN Primary. The nomination highlighted the personal touch Rachel brings to guidance and management of the burgeoning number of primary schools joining such activities as the Rural Schools project and over the back fence. With her can do attitude and readiness to be available and problem solve Rachel is the go-to within the participants of the VLNP and the We-Learn website. Rachel is also active in the VLPD and ethos communities, and generously shares her vision for the pedagogical underpinnings of her work as well as her advocacy for the VLN Primary within the community of users on the Virtual Learning Network.

Rachel is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Innovation

– – –

Madeline Campbell

Madeline is a relative newcomer to the field of eTeaching and has embraced the potential of the medium with unmatched commitment and enthusiasm. Madeline has engaged her students in learning in new ways through inquiry and knowledge building to gain excellent grades. If this were not enough of a challenge she is modelling her rethinking the teacher’s role and motivating her peers with her collaborative approach to teaching and learning. Madeline is proactive in sharing her work across the Virtual Learning Network Communities and is highly regarded as an educator among her colleagues.

Madeline is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Enabling Elearning

– – –

Carolyn Alexander-Bennet

Carolyn has been nominated for this award for her passion and dedication for the VLNC whanau, for online learning opportunities and maximising them for both rural and urban education communities. Many across the VLN Community of Schools have personal experience of the benefit of Carolyn’s knowledge and dedication in her work with the local community as well as her advocacy and passion for the VLNC as a whole. Carolyn exhibits admirable leadership qualities and advocates for the VLNC on many working groups and committees as well as maintaining an organisational role, supporting and mentoring others and all without impacting on her dedication to her own teaching with her level 3 Accounting class.

Carolyn Alexander-Bennet is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Leadership

– – –

Jo-Anne Stuart

This nomination was submitted by a fellow staff member inspired by Jo-Anne’s professionalism and organisational skills in her role as E-Dean and her advocacy for the benefits of the Virtual Learning Network Community as a vehicle for ensuring students can get the best of opportunities available. Jo-Anne is credited with the growth in numbers of students accessing courses through the VLN and in her developing and support for the elearning student cohort, which she does without receiving extra timetable allocation or remuneration.

Jo-Anne Stuart is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Building Capacity

– –
Kanyakon Kosinanonth (Maija)

Kanyakon’s nomination is a list of achievements by an exceptional, self-motivated and conscientious student. With Thai being Kanyakon’s first language she has demonstrated an incredible resilience to study multiple subjects via Video Conferencing, in a second language and achieve, three subjects with merit endorsements. As well as being credited with being a great student Kanyakon is an inspiration to others and was also awarded Dux of Ruapehu College for 2013.

Kanyakon is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Achievement

– –
Meghan Scanlan

Meghan’s nomination for these awards showcases an exemplary student in both her studies and in her all round capabilities in sports, engaging in the school culture and being a young leader. She modelled 100% commitment to both her learning and her extra curricular activities and by meeting her own high expectations set a standard for other students to aspire to. This awards joins a long list of achievements that Meghan has been awarded and she is obviously very highly regarded in her school and community.

Meghan Scanlan is receiving the Virtual Learning Award for Achievement

March 26, 2014

Virtual Learning Awards (New Zealand) – Media Release

This came through my electronic networks from several sources over the past 36 hours…

The first Virtual Learning Awards instigated by the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) and sponsored by Asnet Technologies will honour six recipients selected from across the education spectrum. The accolades will be awarded to outstanding individuals from within the communities of schools who participate in learning and teaching through the Ministry of Education supported Virtual Learning Network (VLN).

The Virtual Learning Awards provide recognition of high performance, a significant and unique contribution to the VLNC Online Learning spaces, and excellence in the field of learning through digital technologies. The awards will be presented by the Hon Nikki Kaye at an awards ceremony on Tuesday April 15 in Wellington and as part of the VLNC AGM day.

The link to a media release for download:

More information can be found through the Education Gazette Article here:

Contact: Sue Winters (VLNC Council Chair) to reserve your place for the awards event in Wellington

Media Release:

Virtual Learning Awards launched as e-learning grows

WELLINGTON, 21 March 2014 – As virtual and blended learning (e-learning) grows steadily within New Zealand education, a national award has been introduced by the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC), which will be presented by the Associate Minister of Education, Nikki Kaye.

The inaugural Virtual Learning Awards will be held in Wellington on 15 April 2014, and were set up to acknowledge and further encourage learning variety in the classroom. Sponsored by Asnet Technologies Limited, the Awards will be presented in recognition of high performance, a significant and unique contribution to online learning, and excellence in the field of learning through digital technology. Asnet Technologies’ long time involvement in education continues with providing management and support for the NZEdNet video conferencing network and the video and audio conferencing Bridge for the Ministry of Education.

VLNC council members and guest judge Eric Greenop, managing director of Asnet Technologies, have chosen six individuals to acknowledge with a Virtual Learning Award. The recipients will be flown to Wellington on April 15 to attend the Awards.

“We are excited to honour the group of standout individuals from within the very strong field of those nominated for the inaugural Virtual Learning Awards. They represent a broad cross section of Virtual Learning Network Community who are collectively developing the significant and future focused practice within the schooling education landscape,” says Sue Winters, VLNC Council Chair.

Online learning enables interactivity between students, teachers and experts. Collaboration through distance learning is achieved via digital media, including audio and video conferencing, collaborative websites, tools and software. E-learning also utilises mobile phones, digital cameras, data projectors, and interactive whiteboards.

Students in remote schools easily connect into other classrooms to participate in subjects previously unavailable to them. Because of their proactive choice of subjects and increased motivation, these students are exceeding all expectations, including achieving Merits and Excellence grades in many NCEA subjects at Level 3.

Rural school students are empowered by unrestricted subject choices, and similarly, rural teachers can utilise their specialised skills to teach students across multiple locations. Urban schools are also increasing becoming involved in e-learning and widening their subject choices.

“Asnet Technologies is extremely proud and humbled at the invitation to be a key partner in the Virtual Learning Awards. Over our past 11 years involvement in education it has been amazing to witness the continued growth and positive impact of practical day to day usage of technology on our students academic achievements,” says Eric Greenop.

Growth in e-learning continues to accelerate through the Network for Learning (N4L) government initiative to help schools take advantage of online technology – particularly by utilising fast network connectivity provided by Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

Asnet Technologies recorded a 20 percent increase of usage on the Virtual Learning Network Bridge from 2012 compared to 2013, and the number of locations increased by 25 during the same period. VLNC has also recorded a 600 percent rise in participating schools from 2010 to 2013, who connect via the Ministry of Education Adobe Web Conferencing, which is backed up by the audio Bridge.

“Our significant appreciation goes out to the VLNC Council, ePrincipals, eDeans, and eTeachers for their dedication, tenacity and focus in making real academic choice and achievement possible from anywhere in New Zealand, in a constantly changing technology environment. This is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when everyone is pulling in the same direction,” adds Eric Greenop.

Thirty-three of New Zealand’s most remote rural schools now have access to peak speeds of broadband internet. The government initiatives are focused on prioritising delivery of UFB into Local Authorities (Municipal), Universities, Schools and Health (MUSH).

With continued innovation in technology and increasing Internet capabilities, the positive effect on New Zealand students is putting them in good stead for their careers, and experience in the future of digital communication.



Virtual Learning Network Community

The Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) is a charitable trust which brings together members in rural, remote and increasingly urban schools. Mainly organised into one of ten clusters, configured through curriculum delivery and/or geographic proximity, their education reach covers the whole of New Zealand including the Chatham Islands.

Learning is facilitated for students via a range tools including web, audio and video conferencing. They access course related materials and communicate with each other and their teachers through shared online learning environments provided by the Ministry of Education. Collectively these digital learning tools are called the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) through which the Ministry itself and the Virtual Learning Network Community operates.

The Virtual Learning Network Community has been operating successfully for more than ten years in some regions, is just beginning in some schools, and delivers classes and courses to approx 3000 senior secondary students and around 300 hundred primary age students per year. It has a national and global focus, and works toward the benefits for learners and providers within their local communities. The VLNC Council is the elected organisation working in an advocacy role for the school communities that make up that broad picture of schools operating in the e-learning space.

Asnet Technologies In Education

Asnet Technologies has been the leader in bringing virtual learning into classrooms since forming in 1999. Asnet Technologies manages and provides support for the NZEdNet video conferencing network and the video and audio conferencing Bridge for the Ministry of Education. The Bridge provides a day to day service to schools, tertiaries, and the Ministry of Education’s own video conference users throughout the country and is used to support learning programmes, make professional learning possible across geographicallly-dispersed providers and run meetings for planning and administration.

For more information on Asnet Technologies, please visit for company information.

Virtual Learning Awards

The Virtual Learning Network Community is responsible for significant accomplishments in the development of learning through digital technologies within and across geographically dispersed classrooms, promoting the developing practice of blended and online learning. To acknowledge this the VLNC Council developed parameters for awarding recognition to some key individuals from within the member communities as a way to showcase some of these outstanding achievements to the wider education network and general public.

The Virtual Learning Awards are open to nominations of individuals and/or groups within the Virtual Learning Network Community of schools and school clusters. The inaugural Virtual Learning Awards is sponsored by Asnet Technologies, a key provider of services, equipment and support for blended and online learning.

The Virtual Learning Awards have five main categories:

• Achievement
• Enabling eLearning
• Innovation
• Leadership
• Building Capacity

Ultra-Fast Broadband Investment Proposal Finalised

On 16 September 2009, Communications and Information Technology Minister Hon Steven Joyce released the details of the government’s $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband investment initiative.

“Access to ultra-fast broadband is part of the essential infrastructure of a productive and growing economy and will be crucial to New Zealand improving its competitive advantage in the global market.”

UFB And RBI Programmes Exceed Year Two Targets

On 8 August 2013, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams released the year two report on the Government’s ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband programmes, which shows the target for both initiatives has been exceeded.

The report also shows that more than 1700 schools are now able to connect to fibre.

Furthermore, 33 of the most remote rural schools in New Zealand now have access to broadband capable of peak speeds of at least 10 megabits per second, which is about four times faster than previous services.

Media Enquiries
For media enquiries and further information, including the photo opportunities at the event, contact:

Vicki Smith
Virtual Learning Network Community – Marketing Coordinator
Mobile 021 778 067

Darlene Mathieson
Asnet Technologies Ltd – Marketing Coordinator
Mobile 0211 560-861


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