Teachers are gearing up to make a bigger splash in Pond, the new digital learning hub designed by Crown-company Network for Learning (N4L), and now available to all educators and administrative staff working in New Zealand schools.
After returning from school holidays this week, teachers can take part in N4L’s new ‘Make a Splash’ programme designed to help them make the most of Pond. More than 75 schools representing around 2000 teachers have already signed up to be part of the programme, and they will join the 1500 teachers already inside Pond.
Programme participants will be using the new Pond features unveiled last week at the annual ULearn conference, which enable users to group and bookmark resources.
“Teachers have told us they want the ability to group items into related topics,” N4L’s head of Dynamic Services, responsible for Pond’s development Chris South said. “They can now bundle resources into ‘buckets’, and other teachers can easily view and share these buckets within Pond. We wanted to make it easier for teachers to see what their colleagues in other schools find interesting and useful for student learning and their own professional development.”
Other new Pond features include the ability to bookmark items (called ‘Ka Pai’, the Maori word for ‘good’) and a new ‘Ponder this …’ tool allowing teachers to save items into Pond via a Chrome web browser (by clicking on a Pond icon on the browser’s toolbar). Teachers can now also upload documents directly to Pond.
N4L is regularly adding new features and refining existing functionality to ensure Pond remains responsive to the needs of teachers now and in the future. Teachers are already using Pond to discover new resources they can use in their classroom and to connect with colleagues across the country.
Both the rollout of N4L’s Pond and Managed Network are running ahead of schedule, with the company surpassing its end-year target of giving all teachers access to Pond a couple of months early.
The Managed Network surpassed its 700th connection nearly five months ahead of schedule, with 928 schools connected to date. A connection to N4L’s Managed Network is not required to use Pond, which can be accessed with any internet connection.