The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education provides professional development to 250 K-12 teachers across New Zealand via two programs: The Digital Pathways Development and Te Whanau Maioha, both funded by a New Zealand Ministry of Education contract. The Faculty of Education faced a multi-level challenge – how to provide culturally responsive e-Learning professional development with relevant content to schools across New Zealand and how to do so economically.
Travel to the schools, scattered across the vast island, proved to be too time-consuming and costly, and it was difficult to meet the needs of both urban and isolated rural schools. Facilitators would spend the majority of their work weeks traveling to schools and staying in hotels, which added up to thousands of dollars each year.
To add to the challenge, a new bilingual delivery initiative, Te Whanau Maioha, was created to communicate with the Maori teachers and leaders whose medium of instruction is through Maori, the indigenous language.
“There was a lot of travel, hotel costs, mileage, wear and tear on our cars and wear and tear on us. Plus, we were giving similar presentations over and over again due to teacher demand,” said Mark Dashper, Faculty of Education, a facilitator for Team Solutions and Te Puna Wananga (School of Maori Education) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland.
Mediasite webcasts provided The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education an easy solution. The Faculty of Education considered several other webcasting systems but Dashper described them as “nowhere near as effective or interactive as Mediasite”
“Once you’ve seen Mediasite you don’t want to go back,” he said.
Since 2009, The Digital Pathways Development project has been delivered to teachers across the country via webcasts and is designed to support the integration of career education across the curriculum. Similarly, Te Whanau Maioha is a bilingual delivery initiative for Maori teachers and leaders, and the content is delivered in both English and te reo Maori, the indigenous language.
“Since we began using Mediasite, our professional development costs decreased significantly. Before we were traveling every week to schools across the regions, but now we’re able to produce Mediasite presentations from a studio or any location, which saves us thousands of dollars each year. Plus we only have to give presentations once, and that can be shared countless times on-demand to schools across the region, which saves us time,” Dashper said.
Educators access live and on-demand Mediasite presentations through webcasts presented by Dashper and his associate Nicola Riley, using guest facilitators via webcasting from a studio in Warkworth. The projects provide web resources and professional support for teachers that can be accessed at any time on-demand.
Teachers can participate in the live sessions by sending in questions from their computers which feed into the Mediasite webcasts and are discussed during the presentations. They can also download resources live and refer to them as they are being discussed during the presentations, or access them on-demand.
The University of Auckland measures results by the expansion of its professional learning and development (PLD) program’s national contracts in most curriculum areas in English and te reo Maori. All signs point to success, because the Faculty of Education is now the largest provider of K-12 professional development in New Zealand.
“We’re excited about the future possibilities in this medium as part of the overall PLD strategy. Using Mediasite we are able to offer a coordinated delivery to schools. Mediasite gives us an edge by providing a product that we can easily customize to meet our schools’ needs. It gives us the ability to adapt to change and continue to provide cutting edge programming for all schools, which in turn meets the needs of all of our students.”