Name: Catherine Wooller
School: Westlake Girls’ High School, Auckland
Digital resource: WGHS Teachers Help Site
WGHS Teachers Help Site: http://wghsteachers.weebly.com/
Describe the digital resource that you want to be considered for the award:
The above website is a teacher resource for teachers of Westlake Girls High School and beyond to use when they need instructions, support and/or inspiration for E Learning.
Why did you choose to set up this resource?
This website was created a few years ago to help support teachers in implementing our BYOD program. Initially the website utilised pages to gather info on various tools and instructions on how to use them. This side of the website has shifted to follow more of a blog style sharing of information and instructions regarding E Learning and Pedagogy. The website has since grown to include a number of different facets of our school, extra-curricular involvement recording, our PD records and notes, also bookings for upcoming PD drop in sessions (these don’t occur till term 4 so won’t show up yet – but the google calendar is linked via the PD page (2015 sessions can still be seen if you scroll back). It also provides links to online PLN’s via twitter for staff to peruse in a more non threatening way. Our approach has always been gently, gently encouraging staff to move towards utilising technology to enhance their teaching and learning programs. The website also provides a place for my E Learning Facilitators in departments to check for info on their responsibilities and book in relief days in our calendar. The website is a tool for them to access when they need. Please note, many private documents are locked down to Westlake Girls by default, however any that are not related to privacy issues can be shared with you if requested.
How do you operate and manage the resource?
I attempt to provide regular updates to the website when I come across new and interesting articles/etools updates/shared documents related to E Learning as well as Pedagogy related to future focused teaching. I also like to try to work efficiently so I have a number of resources embedded such as my twitter feed to enable me to share valuable resources and information without updating the website every day.
As mentioned I initially started the website with a pages approach, providing pages of instructions on different topics. It became clear that this was not manageable in terms of size and numbers of pages! So I changed to a blog approach where almost everything is shared on blog posts first and then linked to catalogue type pages. (e.g. Kamar instructions). It also became important to utilise the categorising of blog posts feature of the Weebly website to make it an easier site to search through these category filters.
I more often than not share links to other blog writers for instructions so as not to reinvent the wheel and to help give the site a collaborative feel. At times I have had guest blog posts from other teachers within the school, which is an area I would like to increase upon in the future.
In the past year, during new teacher bootcamps I have encouraged them to subscribe to the blog to ensure that they receive these regular updates straight to them, rather than waiting for them to go looking when in need.
Having a number of school wide items on this website also helps to bring the school staff to the site, where they may then continue to look through the site out of interest.
What outcomes has it achieved for you and your class?
It has continued to provide support to all teachers in the school in a non-threatening way. This non-threatening approach has been key to communicate support rather than dictating changes that must occur. The website has enabled me to enhance this culture of encouragement for staff having a go.
It is a very successful place to keep information used on a yearly basis but not necessarily every day, for staff to refer back to e.g. report instructions for Kamar. This is evident in my website statistics, where I can see staff this month have been on pages from last year’s PD sessions.
It has also been a useful place for me to keep all the interesting things I find in one place. In addition to this, creating this website has required me to learn a lot of new skills, including embedding videos, images, links to documents, embedding google calendars, finding ways to move visitors to other pages and other websites for further information, visual design etc., etc. As a PE and Health teacher, I have never been taught these skills and have learnt them purely by trial and error through this process. This has given me valuable skills to pass onto other teachers also who have had an interest in providing resources to students via websites.
This week the stats show 126 unique visitors and 699 page views. I am super happy to be able to share what I find online and my experiences as a teacher with others. Huge thanks must go out to those educators out there already providing information in all the various online mediums available.