Thought pieces

Roadblocks and Drivers

This paper provides an analysis of the responses received through submissions to an online survey posted on the FutureMakers website in early 2023. The dataset reveals a comprehensive list of perceived drivers and roadblocks in the New Zealand education system, indicating complex and interconnected issues. The most prevalent challenges include initiative overload leading to fatigue and lack of follow-through, inadequate resources in terms of staffing and funding, resistance to change driven by a focus on tradition, and difficulties related to leadership, such as vision deficits and poor communication.
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Empty Seats – A toolkit for strategic resilience planning
This paper identifies six key areas of strategic focus for schools striving for resilience in their day to day operation. These ‘signals’ provide an opportunity to consider the scenarios that may play out if one or more of them were to eventuate. A basic risk assessment framework is used to assist educators to consider the challenges they may face in 2023, and provides some practical steps to plan for how these might be addressed. This paper provides a toolbox approach with practical activities designed to guide whole staff and/or community gatherings through the process of determining the appropriate steps to take in your context.
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Being Resilient: Characteristics of Resilient Schools
This paper provides guidance for school leaders as they seek to work with their staff and communities to design the systems, structures and processes required to ensure they are able to continue providing high quality learning experiences for their students in the wake of any disruption they experience, be that short or long-term, impacting all or some of their staff and/or students.
The paper addresses three key areas; culture, practice and structure, which are further broken down into nine sections that are intended to provide a provocation for further inquiry and action as you work towards becoming a more resilient organisation.
(Download PDF 667kb)

Hybrid Learning – a means to an end
Hybrid learning has emerged as a focus for many schools and education systems in the wake of the COVID-19 disruption. The benefits of pursuing such approaches go far beyond being a simple ‘fix’ for a short term problem – if properly pursued, they set the scene for a fully transformed education system.
This short paper outlines the case for taking a longer term view about the work we’re doing on hybrid learning, and how our vision should be on building resilient schools and a resilient education system.
(Download PDF 183kb)

Education Environment Scan
We live in an era of accelerating change, affecting every sphere of human existence. Globally we are faced with unprecedented challenges including climate change, environmental degradation, global pandemics, poverty, political instability, and acts of terrorism for example. All of these things are already or will in the future impact what we are doing in education.
This document draws on information from a wide range of sources to provide an environment scan aimed at assisting education leaders determine the future direction of their organisations and the system as a whole.
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Codifying Teacher Practice
This paper has been written to provide educators with some guidance on how to approach the challenge of shifting their pedagogical approach as they embrace hybrid learning.
It provides a practical approach to considering what is required in order to support the change in teaching and learning behaviours and approaches to achieve a fully hybrid system.
Included in this paper are templates and guidelines that can be used in professional development to build shared understandings and facilitate action towards the change required.
(Download PDF 2Mb)

Getting Started With Hybrid Learning: A teacher guide
This guide has been written in response to requests of many educators after reading the previous document titled Resilience Planning for Schools in an age of COVID-19, and expands in more detail the advice provided in the section in that paper titled “Bringing it all together”.
This document provides some practical advice and guidance for educators faced with the challenge of having to deal with students learning from home and in classroom settings due to the requirements for self-isolation during the pandemic response.
(Download PDF 1.2Mb)

Resilience Planning for Schools in an age of COVID-19
After two years of disruption due to lockdowns and school closures, NZ schools are looking forward to a year of ‘business as usual’ in 2022, with schools open to students attending in-person. But this is unlikely to be the case as the spread of COVID-19 through the community continues, leaving schools having to deal with the intermittent absences of both staff and students – some for significant periods of time.
This paper provides a framework for considering what options a school might consider to be adequately prepared for this eventuality, proposing the adoption of a hybrid model as a solution. The elements and benefits of a hybrid model are explained.
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COVID-19 research: The role of digital technologies in the education response to the COVID19 pandemic
This paper reports on what has been learned from the experiences of learners, teachers, schools, families and systems during and after the COVID-19 pandemic response. It provides a summary of key findings from New Zealand and international research, drawn from a synthesis of over 40 national and international reports and articles.
The review has a particular focus on the role and use of digital technologies during Covid-19 lockdowns.
(Download PDF 1.6Mb)

The Future of Work – Considerations for an Education Response
This document provides perspectives on the broader context of the work, and the digital environment that today’s and tomorrow’s students will be entering throughout their lives and careers. The paper provides a synthesis of existing reports that are publicly available both nationally and internationally to provide an overview of the factors that other jurisdictions are considering in developing digital education strategies.
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The Virtual Learning Network in New Zealand – History and Future Thoughts
The first part of this paper provides a background to the development of the VLN in New Zealand, providing insights to how it came into being and why. The second part of the document explores some ideas about how the use of online learning might become more embedded as a part of our education system, regularly used by students and teachers to provide access to learning content and experiences that aren’t available to them in their local setting. 
(Download PDF 2Mb)

Digital Agency
Part one of a series: Leveraging the potential of digital in a post COVID-19 world.
The focus of this paper is to introduce the concept of digital agency as a way of thinking about the role of digital technologies in our education system. Our policies regarding use of digital and our design of supports for teachers and learners must foster digital agency to ensure a sustainable future for our learners, our teachers, our education system and our nation.
 (Download PDF 1.2Mb)

Digital Pedagogy
Part two of a series: Leveraging the potential of digital in a post COVID-19 world.
The focus of this paper began with thinking about two questions,
1. what are the characteristics of a digital enabled, future focused education system? and
2. what will be the impact on our pedagogical practice in such an environment?
The paper introduces three ideas that are presented as being the things that will differentiate our system into the next twenty years and beyond, and explores some of the implications for our pedagogical practice. 
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Digital Trends and Drivers
Part three of a series: Leveraging the potential of digital in a post COVID-19 world.
The focus of this paper is on what is driving the adoption and use of digital technologies at such scale, and why the ground keeps changing in terms of how well we believe teachers and schools are prepared to meet the needs of learners in a digital world. 
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Current Use of Digital in NZ Settings
Part four of a series: Leveraging the potential of digital in a post COVID-19 world.
This document provides an overview of the ways in which digital technologies are being used currently across different settings in New Zealand education. Examples demonstrate how digital technologies are being used to support a wide range of pedagogical activity, from accessing information and resources, to creating and sharing new knowledge, to communicating and collaborating with others.
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