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The VLN Community - Home of the Learning Communities Online (LCO)'s blogs

  • 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 
  • Over the last 12 months the Ministry of Education in conjunction with Asnet Technologies has improved the quality of VC bridging with the introduction and progressive testing of a high definition bridge. This has included expanding the options for desktop VC, the introduction of continuous presence (Brady bunch) conferencing layouts and assisting individual schools to improve their VC experiences.  


    What is happening


    Effective from the beginning of Term 2, the old standard definition VC bridge will be retired from service – this means that all conferences from this point will be hosted on the high definition bridge.


    Please note that all the classroom and conference pins that were set up on the old bridge will remain unchanged on the new bridge. The only aspect that will change is the bridge access number that will change from the existing 0600 Classroom access code to the new access code of 0605 Classroom


    Also in anticipation that not all schools or students may get to hear about this in time, we will initially redirect all 0600 Classroom access from the directory to the new bridge.


    What this means for my school


    The good news is not much will change for individual users. Over the school holidays Asnet Technologies will make individual changes to the directory entries to include0605 Classroom directory options and redirect 0600 Classroom directory options.


    All pins on the new bridge will remain unchanged – e.g. if you used the meeting room ID 12345# on the old bridge it will remain the unchanged on the new bridge.


    There will be one big improvement – all conferences will now be set to continuous presence allowing (finally) all participants to be seen on the screen at the same time. Some people also call this the Brady Bunch setting.


    And finally…


    If you require further information on this or any other changes please contact the VC Help Desk team for assistance.

  • Another webinar series from Apple NZ

    iTunesUJoin Apple NZ for a three-part webcast series and learn how to bring the power of iPad to your classroom. Watch as educators show you how to build customised courses full of dynamic interactive content you can share with your students — and participate in a live Q&A session at the end of each webcast.

    Learn more and register at apple.com/nz/education/itunes-u-series/
    Webcast 1:
    Getting to Know iTunes U

    28 February 2013
    6:00 pm to 7:00 pm NZDT

    See how iTunes U brings a library of content into a single app for students.

    Webcast 2:
    Creating Courses with iTunes U Course Manager

    7 March 2013
    6:00 pm to 7:00 pm NZDT

    Get step-by-step instructions on building an immersive course for iPad with textbooks, videos, apps and more.

    Webcast 3:
    Creating Learning Materials for Your Course

    14 March 2013
    6:00 pm to 7:00 pm NZDT

    Learn how to find, select and create rich content — and add it to your courses.
  • The Orewa College 'Through The Looking Glass' Conference and Workshops will take place on the 15 and 16 March 2013. Having 18 months experience planning and delivering using 1:1 devices Orewa College are keen to share their journey with other teachers.

  • Apple in Education The first of the ANZ Stand Out School live webcasts with St Columba's, Springwood NSW Australia is happening next week. 

    Apple is bringing together educators from standout schools for a series of live webcasts.
    You’ll hear how schools just like yours are using iPad and Mac to help improve learning outcomes.

    This is your opportunity to learn from and speak with your peers as they describe best practices from a leadership, IT and curriculum perspective.

    Register at: http://au.edu.apple.kuluvalley.com/event1/register

    Transforming the learning of every child
    St Columba's, Springwood

    Thursday 14 February 2013
    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm AEST
    7:00 pm - 8:00 pm NZDT

    Please contact me if you have any questions or need more information about the webcast series.


     stephen king • apple new zealand • mobile +64 27 6585 816 • email sking@apple.com

  • The Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) Communications and marketing, Part-time contract

    VLNC is a network of schools, clusters and institutions who collaborate to provide learning opportunities for students and teachers online http://tiny.cc/vlnc.

    We are seeking an enthusiast to further facilitate communication within the community and to develop the VLN Community’s profile through a range of media.

    The contract is 4 hours per week on average for 2013.

    Applications close 5pm, Monday 10 February.

    For further information, please contact by email Sue Winters, VLNC Council Chairperson; suewinterseducation@xtra.co.nz

  • Robert Bryson - Asnet Technologies

    Robert Bryson from ASNET technologies was guest at our monthly VLNC meeting today. Bob talked about VC support for NZEdNetwork which is our video conferencing bridge. He discussed some of the recent problems that have occurred on the network this year, with more schools accessing the bridge over the open internet (and not from inside SchoolZone). This has reduced the Quality of Service for some calls (you are only as good as your weakest link). 

    It is still uncertain at this stage what will happen with this network with the advent of N4L and how we will connect with schools currently on our network as they go into the N4L, though the long term goal is to have a High Definition network for all. 

    Bob reminded us to make sure all our staff understood how to contact the Asnet Help desk 0800 7659266 option 2 and to make sure you get a job number quote whether calling or emailing. If there are problems they need to know in real time preferably or as soon as possible afterwards so they can followup. Some support documentation (FAQs) will be distributed to schools early next year when pin numbers are requested for new classes, please ensure that all teachers and students using VC have access to this. 

    Finally some stats: This year there have been 3986 calls made to the Help Desk, this amounts to 218 hours, of these 1862 calls were logged. There are now 437 end points on the VC bridge (32 new this year), we have grown from the original 82 starting out.

  • As I sit (eating spicy wedges) at Queenstown Airport I am reflecting on what an amazing community I am a part of and how they inspire me to improve as a teacher and try new ways. I have just spent the past 4 days (including my weekend!) learning, sharing and refocusing.

    So what is it all about. 

    After about 3 years of teaching (a few years ago now) I was lucky enough to be given a VC (Video Conferencing) class. I had 3 F2F students and the rest were at the other end of the country. I taught one lesson a week on the VC and then helped the students through their work via Google Sites and what ever web 2.0 tools fitted the situation. This was through Otagonet. The Otagonet community of E-teachers  were and are a brilliant group of teachers: supportive, challenging and yet all focused on the same goal. Through Otagonet I met other teachers from throughout the VLN who are just as great as the Otagonet people

    This experience led me to become involved in further study my MA in Teaching which then connected me to a TLRI trial on Knowledge Building and using Knowledge Forum. We have just had our first symposium this week and what a great learning experience. Reporting and hearing about how teachers are using Knowledge Building Principles and  their experiences with Knowledge Forum. 

    What I really appreciated at the end of the day was not just the learning and developing of ideas but the laughter and fun we have all had over the past 4 days. I got to meet my VPLD online mentor  for the first time f2f, which was just great. This sense of community that for most of the year is online, but for a couple of days here and there when we get to meet up, I really value. I always feel rejuvenated and have the knowledge that what I am doing in the classroom with technology is on the right track. 

    It was great to see those who were in Wanaka these past few days- just AWESOME.

  • "DR KERRYN PRATT shares research that shows the ways distance learning is opening doors for secondary students in rural schools.

    OtagoNet Logo Many years ago, when I was in my final years of secondary school, I had to decide what subjects I would take. I could choose from the core subjects that were offered at my school, I could take other subjects via the Correspondence School, or I could do as several of my friends did, and go to school in the nearest large town as a weekly boarder and do a wider range of subjects there.

    Now, students have very different options. While the options I had are still available, they are increasingly supplemented by the opportunity for students to stay in their home school and take one or more of an ever-increasing range of subjects offered via distance learning. For the last decade, students in rural Otago have been able to take advantage of classes offered through OtagoNet."

    ........ read more from the New Zealand Education Review

  • Knowledge Building

    Knowledge Building the Journey Begins: A one-day Symposium November 19, 2012 Wanaka, Lake Wanaka Centre

    New Zealand teachers are asked to support their students to become “competent thinkers and problem solvers”, who “actively seek, use, and create knowledge” (New Zealand Curriculum, 2007, p.12). A promising way of doing it is to use the knowledge building approach developed by Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia, using the Knowledge Forum networking software. This one-day symposium will introduce the key concepts of knowledge building, demonstrate the use of Knowledge Forum, and discuss research findings of knowledge building school-based projects conducted both in New
    Zealand and overseas.

    Who are the speakers?
    Keynote Speaker:
    Associate Professor Jan van Aalst, University of Hong Kong
    Professor Kwok-Wing Lai, University of Otago
    Ken Pullar, OtagoNet
    Ann Trewern, University of Otago
    Carolyn Bennett, FarNet
    Conor Bolton, St John’s College
    Madeline Campbell, Westland High School/WestNet
    Sharon Kelly, Fiordland College/OtagoNet
    Tamara Yuill Proctor, St Andrew’s College/GCSN
    Darren Sudlow, CantaNet
    Tony Zaloum, Orewa College/HarbourNet

    Who should attend?
    Teachers, educators, researchers who are interested in knowledge
    building and/or using technology to support teaching and learning.

    What is the cost?
    Registration fee: $60 (GST inclusive, lunch, morning and afternoon tea included). Register online www.otago.ac.nz/kbnz or contact Fiona Stuart. Participants should arrange own transport and

    Download the flyer here