Jo, Learn-Now and more...

Jo, Learn-Now and more...

Last updated by Jo Gibson Comments (1)

3d infoHi everyone!

I'm a teacher, with both NZ and international experience, in the face-to-face and online education sector. I now teach a little online, a little face-to-face and with as many blended learning approaches as possible - with students, teachers and members of the public keen to facilitate and teach online.

I'm heavily involved in working with Gifted and Talented students with Learn-Now, a course developer with Unitec Auckland and as a Project Advisor with Core Education, Christchurch.



I've been part of Learn-Now (the core driver of what's now this overarching since 2001. Learn-Now was first designed and adopted by principals and parents around New Zealand and into the USA, UK and Central and Eastern Asia.

Once Learn-Now went private, we found ourselves needing to set up a company and so formed Authentic Encounters Online Ltd in 2006. Collaborative learning online has been my bent since 1997, when (High Commissioner) students I had in classes back then, took off with travelling parents around the world.

We learned how to beam school life back online, continue to run small businesses (as Year 5-6 students at the time) and foster student led learning via the internet rather than wade through text books and worksheets mailed in from afar.



A Little Background on the teaching front...

Prior to developing Learn-Now, all revolved around being a classroom teacher for 12 years in Dunedin, Timaru and Christchurch.  Several coordinator roles were enjoyed, in the fields of Curriculum Leadership, Assessment, GATE,  Professional Development, ICT, Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) and as Acting DP, Syndicate Leader, Associate Leader, Senior Teacher and Project Manager. LOL! Not sure how really - young, 'single' blood perhaps?! 

In 1997, I joined a small team of NZ, Australian and British teachers to set up the (then) new Jerudong International School in Brunei, South East Asia. The ICT/elearning edge I've been hooked into ever since, took off there and throughout the 5 years I was in Brunei.   Extremely strong ties to the UK curriculum when literacy and numeracy initiatives were yet to hit NZ, as exists in our schools today. The intensity of elearning approaches followed during the next 3 years in the eSection/eLearning Development Centre at the Correspondence School Wellington, where Learn-Now was first established. Much thanks goes to Derek Wenmoth still, for the support and design at the time.


Learn-Now later became a core project for further development when as a Project Manager with the programme for 18 months, with Core Education, led by Derek as one of its Directors. Further development with the Correspondence School ceased when eLearning was no longer substantially funded.


Learn-Now today...

Now, in its private sector capacity as a service resource for schools, homeschoolers and after school tuition, Learn-Now's expanded from sole trader operation to a team of 9 people. We operate under the embrella of an education company now: Authentic Encounters Online Ltd. We're trialling, piloting,  facilitating, marketing, building, researching and developing its style on an ongoing basis. Learn-Now has scored the (NZ) DEANZ AWARD - an award given biennially 'to promote and reward excellence in eLearning, distance, open and flexible learning'.

As we let Learn-Now become more widely known, we've been delighted to learn that it's "...a wonderfully cutting edge programme- featuring most of what's promoted as good learning and teaching from the Ulearn and Learning@Schools conferences.." to quote one principal (2011), "...where all facets of the I C T in ICT feature, especially information and communication... No school should get this free...". We enjoy working with core areas of teaching and learning today, but also as we dive into introducing students to the world of finance, enterprise and community service work internationally.

To quote one of our current stakeholder Principals, Gail Marshall of Solway School, Learn-Now is an "...enrichment / extension programme that beats anything I have seen so far in New Zealand...". Lately, we've been involved in the concept of Teacher PD, while operating the programme - teachers from Y1-8 are released to observe Learn-Now in action - in view of adopting its styles in their own classrooms.



Behind The Scenes

Learn-Now's been developed and endorsed in association with:

  1. Two years MOE research and development
  2. A year long eFellowship research programme
  3. DEANZ - The Distance Education Association of New Zealand: Press Release
  4. Core Education Ltd, Christchurch: Key supporter/mentor: Derek Wenmoth
  5. Ethos Consultancy mutual advisory partnership (current): Key partner: Hazel Owen
  6. The Virtual Learning Network (VLN), New Zealand (current - recently contracted to develop the National Development Plan for Primary on the VLN)
  7. The Ministry of Education eLearning Department (2009-2013): Key supporter then Senior Analyst Eddie Reisch - the greatest advocate of Learn-Now we know, keeping us in tune with the latest MOE initiatives, granting us access to this Elgg platform for example, piloting-it-on-their-behalf  and forever creating connections between ourselves and other innovative educators.
  8. Partnership with Unitec, Auckland - working alongside intiatives running in the design and development of courses online.
  9. Partnering with a Recruitment Agency in 'walk the talk mode' - contracted to advise various online based initiatives: small businesses and schools, needing the advice and demonstration specific their industries.



Special Thanks to Solway Primary

While we've been part of dozens of schools around the world, we'd like to acknowledge Solway Primary School, Masterton as the longest, most consistent and enthusiastic adopter of Learn-Now, since 2008. Following parental recommendation, Solway Primary has professionally adopted and managed our partnership, accommodating even the most daring extreme presented, for taking students online.

Solway Primary has neither brick walled, gate-kept access or presented any edge of skeptism for how the 'Learn-Now way' evolves. That's a true reflection of student enabled learning in our books... As a result, Learn-Now has had full reign to further develop young leaders, designers, entrepreneurs, innovators, team players and collaborators. Their ability to stategically plan, critique, reflect, evaluate and apply is stunning. The level of impact these students will engineer will be worth watching. Their impact to date, is stunning...


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