Teachers supporting teachers digitally

Arts Online is a thriving community of 3,556 teachers who collaborate daily via email-based forums.

“Reciprocity is important for a healthy, thriving, positive, supportive community like ours. There is stunning teaching, innovation, experimentation, and integration of pedagogies, technologies, and creativity happening in art rooms all around New Zealand - don’t underestimate the impact that sharing something that may appear small can have on another’s practice. Maybe 2015 can be ‘The Year of the Share on Visarts.”

— Visual Arts facilitator, 2014

A post to Dramanet (the Arts Online community forum name) at the end of 2014 summed up the function of the mailing lists – “thank you Dramanet, you are the best form of PD there is”.

The Arts Online forums are among the longest running and largest NZ-based online educational communities..  This is partly attributable to the expert facilitation of the community facilitators who keep the lists stimulating and relevant to the day-to-day reality of classroom life, but also to the strong fellowship of teachers who are willing to offer advice, support and guidance to their peers.

It is this same spirit of generosity that teachers have shown in contributing to a rich repository of resources hosted on the very popular Teacher Resource Exchanges. Currently 859 resources are available.

The Interactive Unit Planners (IUPs) also tell a success story. This free service for Arts teachers provides an online template, prompts, resources, and professional advice during the unit planning process. On completion, the unit can be downloaded, with an online version saved in the database for future use or adaptation. There are over 7,500 IUP registered users with 9,200 units created and saved.

To give a sense of how AOL compares with other key TKI websites, this graph shows the annual site traffic in 2014 to Science, eLearning, Technology, Maori community, Senior Secondary Guidelines and Literacy Online.

Arts Online attracts 197,500 visits a year  - 11% of all TKI portal traffic. This gives an insight into the significance of the site.