Principal heading on technological quest
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.