Prin­ci­pal head­ing on tech­no­log­i­cal quest

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

While Toko­roa prin­ci­pal Rhonda Rayner loves her school she’s pretty ex­cited about spend­ing 10 weeks away from it.

The Cargill Open Plan School prin­ci­pal is one of 100 prin­ci­pals through­out the coun­try this year to be granted a Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals’ Sab­bat­i­cal.

The 10 weeks paid leave was granted to the prin­ci­pals as part of their ca­reer paths to al­low them to en­gage in pro­fes­sional learn­ing, re­flec­tion and re­ju­ve­na­tion.

Rayner will be spend­ing her 10 weeks re­search­ing how her school can best man­age in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) in re­la­tion to the likes of ipads, Chrome­books, Ha­para and Google apps.

Dur­ing term three she will be vis­it­ing schools through­out the area, at­tend­ing cour­ses and work­shops, and com­plet­ing on­line train­ing and re­search be­fore im­ple­ment­ing the knowl­edge back into Cargill Open Plan School.

‘‘We are pas­sion­ate about our schools and work re­ally hard in them so some­times it is re­ally dif­fi­cult to have time to do some­thing con­cen­trated that is im­por­tant,’’ she said.

‘‘Our chil­dren need and de­serve ac­cess to ICT but teach­ers are trained as teach­ers, not com­puter ex­perts.’’

‘‘You can imag­ine how much time com­put­ers take in school but it is not at the level I want it to be, it is trou­bleshoot­ing such as work­ing out why the WIFI isn’t work­ing or why the server has crashed. This stuff is cru­cial but it is not mov­ing for­ward.’’

‘‘We also have lap­tops, ipads and in­ter­ac­tive white­boards but we know we can be us­ing them bet­ter so this is such an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to be able to re­search how we can do that.’’

She said tech­nol­ogy was in­creas­ingly play­ing a part in daily lives so be­ing up with the play was es­sen­tial for teach­ers.

‘‘In schools we can be a bit re­luc­tant to let kids use tech­nol­ogy be­cause we don’t know how to use it but these kids do,’’ she said.

‘‘This is the world they were born into and we need to be do­ing this in our school.’’

She said util­is­ing the knowl­edge of other schools to find out what works would help the school move for­ward.

‘‘There are some schools in this town and in sur­round­ing ar­eas that are do­ing amaz­ing jobs and this will en­able me to go and visit and cre­ate those net­works,’’ she said.

‘‘It is about think­ing smart and mak­ing tech­nol­ogy work for us,’’ she said.

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