Chromebooks launch Otaki kura into digital world

Six schools in the Ōtaki district aim to have Google Chromebooks in the hands of each and every student within the next year, in an initiative being driven by the Te Reanga Ipurangi Ōtaki Education Trust, and inspired by the Manaiakalani programme operating in Auckland.

“We want to provide every child with a Chromebook to improve access to information so that children can integrate global and local knowledge,” Rachael Selby, Trust Chairwoman says.

“They will learn from and with one another at home and at school.”

In the community-led initiative to improve access to digital information, the goal is to provide all 1060 students at the six Ōtaki schools with their own Chromebook.

In the longer term, students will be able to connect to the internet wirelessly from anywhere in Ōtaki.

Selby says that with the initiative Ōtaki will become a world leader in digital education.

“New teachers who come to Ōtaki will become part of a new way of teaching and engaging with the community,” she adds.

“They will have the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications and be recognised as innovative 21st century teachers.”

The Trust has initially purchased 317 devices for the first instalment, following the securing of finance through Telecom Rentals. Hire Purchase agreements will be created with parents, who pay for the devices through a range of payment options.

The first students to get their Chromebooks were from the Maori language immersion school, Te Kura ā iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano.

“Technology has the potential to engage young minds and instil an excitement about learning in ways that few traditional teaching aids and techniques seem capable of doing,” Tumuaki Harina Cooper says.

“The children are excited by the prospect of using computers to learn.”

Moko Cooper, Te Reanga Ipurangi Ōtaki Education trustee and Te Kura ā-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano teacher, says that the initiative would make a significant commitment to developing digital content in te reo Maori.

“The challenge for kura Māori is to source, create and share digital content in te reo as resources are inadequate.”

A te reo Māori resource development team has been set up to work together on te reo content.

The initiative is also being extended into four Porirua decile one schools – one kura kaupapa, two primary schools and a high school – through the Te Mana Kupe Trust. Future goals are to extend to ten other schools in Porirua East.

Te Wānanga o Raukawa lecturer and Trust chair Antony Royal says he hopes the initiative will ‘level the playing field’ in the low decile schools.

“The Chromebooks mean that the traditional education will change and be replaced by 21st century pedagogy. It means that learning will no longer start at 9am and finish at 3pm, it will also meant that parents are more involved in the learning.”

The Te Reanga Ipurangi Ōtaki Education Trust is a community initiative, formed following a working party set up within Te Wānanga o Raukawa.

“The Trust was established under the mana of Ngāti Raukawa to serve the Ōtaki community to promote and lift educational achievement through developing digital citizenship in the community,” Sonya Daly, working party member says.

“This includes developing the capacity of children, whānau and families and promoting learning for life.”

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