Educa Interviews Oxford’s Principal and Deputy Principal
“Educa allows schools to track progress in authentic ways.”
This week Educa had a chance to sit down with Mike Hart, principal, and Jacqui Paterson, deputy principal, from Oxford Area School in Oxford, New Zealand. We know they were interested in learning stories and documenting authentic student learning journeys, celebrating success. We were interested to know how Oxford Area School is using Educa and what changes they have seen since starting with us in 2018.
It was clear that Oxford Area School enjoys the opportunities to increase engagement using Educa.
Progress Over Time
“Educators at Oxford Area have fully embraced using learning stories as formative assessments at all levels at the school.”
Oxford Area School enrolls 550 students from year 1-13, including an international population. When the school began using Educa, their goal was to create a system of continuous information sharing in the form of learning stories from year 1 to 13. In addition, Mike Hart explains, they wanted “to look at progress over time. From the start of the year to the end, and to make comparisons.”
Educa allows schools to track progress in authentic ways. Rather than just check the boxes and file forms, Educa users can write narrative assessments and connect learning events to curriculum frameworks.
Educators at Oxford Area have fully embraced using learning stories as formative assessments at all levels at the school. As Mike Hart explained, teachers “just want to capture the learning and share it.”
Capturing Student Learning Journeys
“Learning stories illustrate chains of learning events, highlighting the positivity and looking ahead to further learning.”
Indeed, Oxford Area educators are truly sharing the learning. To date, Oxford Area is among the most active users of the Educa platform. Some Oxford Area educators have written over 200 stories to date! As Jacqui Paterson explained, educators particularly enjoy using Educa because it allows educators to acknowledge learning in real-time and keep parents up-to-date about their child’s progress.
“Our goal was to be able to click on a student and see rich stories representing learning over time.” Learning stories illustrate chains of learning events, highlighting the positivity and looking ahead to further learning. Formative rather than summative, learning story portfolios both record and imagine a child’s learning authentically.
Learn more about Educa for schools here.
Authentic Family Engagement
After using Educa for the past year, Mike Hart said he hopes to further engage parents. “We know that as students get older, parental engagement drops off as children become more independent.” Despite this, Mike hopes to see more “two-way communication” through parent stories and parent comments.
Learning stories are not just written by educators. “We know learning happens at home, not just at school. We want to get to the point where parents share what is happening at home.” In the next three year cycle, Mike hopes to see more parent stories and comments. This “transparency of learning at home and school” will greatly increase family engagement.
Another one of Oxford Area’s goals is to increase student engagement on the platform. Mike believes that his students are reflective and will embrace writing their own learning stories. Some grades at Oxford Area have already started writing learning stories.
“We want students to be writing their posts as evidence of learning as well as teachers writing comments.” Learning stories written by parents, teachers and students invite reflection by all parties.
Review and Reflection
“Our teachers are naturally reflective” and enjoy recording their thoughts on teaching and learning. At staff meetings, Mike asks his teachers to critique their own writing and discuss ways to improve the impact and quality of their learning stories.
This professional development helps teachers share and learn what best engages and connects parents to their child’s learning journey.
If you are interested in trialing Educa for yourself, try us here.