For sometime now we have been having ongoing conversations, with Rob (Principal) and Meredith from Nagle College in Western Australia. They have been exploring how to develop a Catholic schools network where all schools work together to provide online programmes of learning. Sound familiar? They came across our website and were struck by the model we are using. Since that point we have had numerous video conference calls, largely discussing what we have done here and where it has all come from.
In June / July we were very happy to host both of them in New Zealand and arranged a tour of our schools. They started in Canterbury where they travelled down with me to visit Ashburton College, a school of very similar size to their own. This was an excellent introduction to a school which very successfully integrates fully online courses into its curriculum and for very different reasons than a small rural area school. Whereas the latter participate to ensure they provide breadth in curriculum, bigger schools are exploring ways of providing a curriculum which is flexible and future orientated. I know this was an important selling point for many of their own schools so it was an area Rob in particular was very interested in exploring further.
The next day they flew down to Otago, spending the day in Roxburgh Area School, then travelled into Dunedin and Logan Park High School, then back up to Christchurch stopping into Waitaki Girls' High School on the way. Each of these schools were able to provide a very different context for participation and further developed their understanding of how schools successfully engage in online learning.
It was an interesting experience for me, because they both fired a lot of questions my way, which served as a useful reflective experience. It further reinforced what we have done well and what we still need to develop.
Meredith has just shared the video they created for their principals which I am very happy to share with our own community. I know they are preparing for an extremely important meeting with prospective schools so we wish them all the best with that. We would love to strike up a partnership for the future that would be of benefit to students and teachers. Why not cross Tasman online projects? Or extensive teacher sharing? Even sharing of programmes and teaching expertise?