Network for Learning (N4L) is starting to roll out invitations for their web portal Pond to 500 of New Zealand’s tech savvy teachers.
There has been a strong demand to be the first users of Pond, with N4L receiving more than 450 requests by teachers for early access.
Invitations are being sent to teachers who are recognised by their peers as having an innovative and engaging use of technology in the classroom.
These ‘Pioneer Educators’ will gain access to Pond during Term 2 (May-July). They join a small group of advisory educators who have been testing Pond since February, providing feedback to the N4L development team.
Chris South, N4L Head of Dynamic Services and responsible for leading Pond’s development, says that the Pond experience needs to met the high expectations that teachers who are leading the way with digital learning have.
“There are a large number of teachers in New Zealand who are doing some really exciting things with digital technologies,” South says.
“It is important that we take the time to watch, listen and learn how these teachers are using the tools available inside Pond so that we can make further refinements and make sure we are fully meeting their expectations before we make it available to a greater number of teachers.”
He adds that it is important to get Pond right in the early days, and that includes having the right technology and support systems, as well as acting on valuable insight that is gained from working with the Pioneer Educators.
John Creighton, Head of Digital Technologies at Christchurch’s Burnside High School and one of the initial group of testers, says that N4L have been highly responsive to the suggestions that the educator advisory group have put forward.
“Instead of developing Pond in a way that N4L think teachers should use it, they are taking the time to watch, listen and learn about our needs and preferences. It’s been a really interactive and supportive process since we’ve started testing Pond.”
The rollout of Pond to schools will be progressive, with all teachers having access by the end of the year.
For more information, see http://www.n4l.co.nz/pond/pioneereducators/