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 Hi all I recently had an interview published by DEANZ (the New Zealand Association for Open, Flexiible and Distance Learning) which I would like feedback on.

You can find the article at this link Interview with Eddie Reisch. It is a bit of a ramble through my experiences but the particular part I want to talk about is:

The concept of a "Blended Learning Community Approach" an extract from the interview states:

"The teacher no longer develops and implements the learning environment and approaches; this, in turn, empowers the learners to build knowledge.

This approach embraces the active participation of all those who surround the learner." 

It is the last piece of this statement I would like your input into i.e. 'THE APPROACH EMBRACES THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF ALL THOSE THAT SURROUND THE LEARNER' 

I look forward to your thoughts into this discussion. I believe it is the approach that will change the education paradigm.

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Hi Eddie

Nice to read you! You made me stop and think which is always a good thing. Sometimes a need a slap to make me do that. Not that you have slapped me.....this time!

Well, go Eddie! The interview with Hazel is stunning - right from the get-go with the powerful focus on learning (lose the e in learning. Totally agree with that). I also see your vision for the future in NZ as one I know you've worked toward for many years with great success and I hope your vision continues to be realised/activated. I'm trying to do all I can within my roles - thanks to you and your backing of my projects in music! One thing I tried to achieve and didn't in the timeframe, and a key point you raise, is the relationships between students digitally eg through collaborative projects. There is much work to do here in NZ around that.

The statement you particularly ask for feedback on is what grabbed me. It easily transforms into a visual - teachers who are nurturing, engaging and yet flexible enough not to be a wall encasing the learner. There are spaces in between for movement in and out of the metaphorical circle of learning, choices to make autonomously in this case largely through digitally supported environments - for both the teacher and the learner (whose roles are often reciprocated/ ako). You focus on people, te tangata, and hold the learner at the centre. Love it!

Thanks Merryn  and nice to hear from you again. Further to this thoughts the concept is enhanced when you consider CoP at all levels i.e. students, teachers, kura, schools etc but also the mixture of these CoP all constructing learning for themselves and others. Then add into these circles of CoP with organisations and people like the NZ Book Council, NZ Film Archives experts in Kapa Haka like James Moriarty all co constructing and actively participating in the learning process now not only in the offline but now the online wow what a dream.

Actually hopefully we are developing this in some of our schools/kuras now because this is what I am pushing for in acouple of contracts that I am running now

Yes, exactly re community engagement. 'Teachers' come in all shapes and forms- the workforce, the creative industries et al. On Arts Online we had a strong relationship with community artists engaging online with teachers and f2f in schools (Community Artists for Education). Their collaborative digital stories were then shared online including student, teacher, community and artist voices. It is indeed the partnership aspect of the model that is the strength for the future. Creative New Zealand are holding a conference at the end of June, in South Auckland, where the focus is on building relationships between the community artists and organisations, and education. We need to bring this focus into our virtual environments more powerfully and across all learning areas and sectors. If we believe in lifelong learning, then that applies across all areas of society. When did businesses stop engaging in learning? I wonder when the potential of our youth is better realised in industry and better supported as possible pathways?

Another example I'm seeing at the moment in my work, is where schools are offering classes after school for whanau - online courses, skills training to blog, pay bills online etc. These are free to whanau as they are seen to support relationship building and as leverage for parents engagement with their child's learning (made more accessible through online tools and processes such as ePortfolios). 

And one more example - a curriculum integration project in senior secondary at Fraser High School where the project is on making both hard copy and online magazine - all developed by students in a team across years 12 and 13. Their timetable is opened up and NCEA subject standards naturally align across learning areas. Community artists and industry are highly involved - workshops, interviews, on site visits, online collaboration through the process, advertising the product etc. Quite a lift in achievement for the students and a new collaborative way of working for teachers and community. 

That's meant to read, "lose the e in e-learning". Autocorrect. Grrr!

Grrr back at you

Kia ora Eddie - Like Merryn says, "Nice to read you!"

I really enjoyed reading through your interview & will probably read it again (a few times) so that I can grasp the language used to be able to describe what you've said, and what I understand to someone else - anyone really.  It just makes sense. I'm with you on ditching the 'e' before 'learning'.  It scares some people.  It scared me at first and like you've said I had to be brave!  So I've posted here and there in different online spaces and have tried my best to articulate my thoughts and ideas.  I've received praise, feedback, feedforward & subtle reminders to review some of my posts.  But yes I am still a learner, on my forever lasting learning journey.  

Now thinking about what you want input on..."The approach embraces the active participation of all those that surround the learner'.  You refer to your mokopuna and wanting to be active in their education through a blended approach.  I've actually heard you speak about being actively involved in the education of your mokopuna at an Ako Panuku course.  This I remember because I instantly made a connection with what you were talking about.  I am the mother of 3 (Ages 13, 7 and 4) and I was very aware of who was actively involved in their upbringing, in their learning as babies.  Now I say, 'was' because now my children are all receiving extra learning from what I can now possibly define as a Blended Learning Community.  I must admit that I am not 100% sure of who or what is contributing to their learning.  Geesh that sounds a little scary but it's true.  I am involved with their schooling at college, kura kaupapa and kindergarten but I do not always know what my babies are exposed to every minute of the day. However I do know what I want - I want my babies to be left in the hands of people, teachers, educators that care about them as much as I do.  With this in mind I am also aware that all of my children are in some way developing skills to learn from different learning sources such as facebook & Ipad apps etc. Now this may be totally off whack but as a parent I've lost a bit of control over who is, or what is contributing to the learning of my children.  I know this is not a bad thing because my children are learning and accessing knowledge but I do have expectations of the people that are paid to 'teach' my children to 'learn'.  So our teachers should not only fulfill the role of being guides and mentors but they should also be 'carers'.  Teachers/Educators need to really care about the learners in front of them.  Caring involves many things but for me it's about 'knowing' and 'feeling' potential and providing access to knowledge.  Access via a Blended Learning Community Approach sounds pretty good to me.

Hi Moana

thanks for your input really valuable for me to hear .

A possible way forward is to talk to your kids how you can be involved and what they would like?

Who in your Whanau, extended whanau friends and colleagues would be prepared to participate actively in their learning online .

What is their areas of expertise that they are happy to share.

Give that info to your babies and talk through how they could use technology to answer and ask questions as a way of initial entry into participating in their learning . e-g. Facebook chat Skype etc.

Then approach the teacher and tell him/her what you want to do . 

You could use your approach to see if the rest of the children in the class can do the same . 

And so the first CoP is born for you and you babies contacted back to your whanau.

If that works there is no reason that the same process couldn't be implemented with the rest of the learners in the class. The teacher does the same thing giving the kids other parents / whananu/ kids / experts/ teachers etc to talk to and learn from.

What do you think? Am happy to expand the thinking and plan and implement it with you if you want?

Great ideas and starting points for me.  I immediately thought of whānau members that would want to be involved...and that my eldest wouldn't mind communicating with on a regular basis lol.  It's really funny to me how you've suggested that I approach the teacher and tell him/her what I want to do....I often meet with the teachers of my teenage son and suggest strategies that they should use to modify/sort out/control his 'haututuness'.  Soon I'll be able to go in and say..."My son has a CoP and this is how it's working within our whānau...Want to join us?"

What's also funny is that this is part of my mahi and I haven't had the time to actually think about actioning anything for my own.  My bad!  Will keep you updated on my progress, and yes I may just be sending you some private messages requesting your assistance my friend.  Ngā mihi x

That is so cool I still have access to a lot of the MoE tools if you want to consider using them Moana.

I am still working on the LAMS contract with the Maori Medium kura there are approx 20 involved now so if they are in total immersion kura we have online environments for MM that would be good for you to use if you wish?

My private contact details are:

Cell: 0221989045
DDI: 049712520

The high school dropout rate in the USA is about 25 percent. In my opinion that is a major chronic tragedy. These days the employment options for those without a high school education are very poor. That leads to a painful life that impacts their future partners and children. Thus that ripples into the fabric of society for decades.


I do not know what the statics are in other countries.


It is my conviction that we as a society and leaders of communities need to wake up and make major changes. Those changes need to be in how schools provide education. Fortunately there are many possible options that have been used around the globe.


The reality is that communication technologies continue to change rapidly. The students adapt these products and services quickly. They easily use them in their social life. The teachers and school systems have been learning how these can apply to their purposes, standards, policies, budgets and more.


The interview and the quote here are focused on learner center education. That is easy to say but hard to do. Many things in my life look great on paper. And getting verbal agreement from key people is needed. But that is not the end of the story.


Meaningful transformations come from much trial and error. There are bumps along the path. There is a need for patience, persistence, courage, diligence and humility.


I applaud all effort to make meaningful improvements in education. Blended learning is one important tool for this ongoing work of relearning how people learn and how to best equip them for that.


Thanks John

some useful thinking here . I would suggest to effect real change we need to explain the blended learning community approach to our kids (that would take 5 minutes ) and get them to develop COPs for them around their needs ? needs,

Wondering if anyone else is interested in this approach that is Blended learning community approach and if there are any other examples internationally or nationally around this approach?


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