Monday, 31 August 2015

MOA Kluster changing technology and education

Opunake Primary School and our MOA Kluster has made the paper.

A "cutting edge" approach to education using technology is having a big impact in four rural Taranaki schools.
Opunake, Matapu, Kaponga and Auroa primary schools have formed the "MOA Kluster", a joint approach to the training for and implementation of e-learning in its classrooms.
Opunake Primary School principal Lorraine Williamson said the approach was designed to create "cutting edge innovation in Taranaki schools" and authentic uses for classroom technology.
"We think it's fairly innovative because these teachers are doing the research then they are doing a combined teacher inquiry," she said.
Sharing the learning across the four schools was part of their joint aim to change the direction of maths education across the board.
"We are very keen to explore computational thinking which is a way of thinking around STEM subjects."
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, taught as integrated subjects based on real-world applications is something the school's want to trial starting in 2017.
"What we are reading is that computational thinking will be a necessity for kids coming through school today."
Williamson said there were lots of irons in the fire, a science research and development team would be set up next year.
"We are currently applying to the New Zealand Society of Science to put forward four teachers to do six months in-depth training with scientists in the field. They would be expected to come back and share that learning with the rest of the teachers in the schools."
The 2017 focus would be on engineering, Williamson said she felt the technology aspect was already being well-covered.
Auroa School principal Heath Chittenden said the implementation encompassed far more than computers and devices. It was about technologies.
He has been visited by about 50 school representatives from around the country over 12 months because of the work they are doing.
Matapu School principal Jarad Chittenden said it was the biggest thing the school was doing at the moment "but in a really positive way."
"This is something that we wouldn't have done without being a part of that cluster."
Kaponga Primary School principal Shane Downs said he had joined the group slightly later so was now focused on catching up.
"One of the big things for us is that, for our teachers and our kids, there is something to aim for," he said.
"We're trying to work at twice the speed."
As part of the cluster's approach, the schools pioneered the Moa Awards in 2014.
Each school can submit up to 10 items created by their students throughout the school year using technology that are independently judged across different categories.
Designed to motivate students across a level playing field, Matapu principal Jarad Chittenden said he was blown away by his students technological understanding.
"It's just trying to get teachers to use that technology in authentic ways."
A wholly successful event so far, Chittenden said hundreds of tickets were sold to last year's event.
"It was way bigger than we thought it was going to be."
Held at the Sanford's Event's Centre in Opunake, it provided students and teachers to showcase what happened at their school.
"What we wanted teachers to do was incorporate technology," he said.
"We think it is a good way to engage kids in the classroom through using those devices."
For students that struggled with book presentation, it allowed different mediums to display their classroom learning.
"If a kid's doing a video they can show more understanding than if they had written it down."
Sponsored by the Lysaght Watt Trust, the awards were treated as a traditional ceremony, students dressed in their best and arrived in style.
 - Stuff

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