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Telecom Foundation to support ‘digital citizenship’ for kids

Telecom Foundation to support ‘digital citizenship’ for Kiwi kids

The Telecom Foundation announced today a major new partnership to assist Kiwi kids and New Zealand’s education sector by supporting digital teaching and learning among low income communities.

Through partnership with the Manaiakalani Education Trust, the Telecom Foundation is strengthening a programme currently supporting 11 schools showing strong improvements in learning outcomes and student engagement in some of Auckland’s lowest-income communities. The Foundation’s contribution of $1 million over four years will fund e-learning research and innovation.

Over the past seven years, the Manaiakalani Programme has transformed teaching and learning methods across participating schools. Students have a netbook computer of their own from Year 5, paid for by their parents in modest instalments determined through community consultation.

Test results over recent years are showing that children on the Manaiakalani Programme are raising their educational performance at a significantly faster rate when compared with schools using more conventional teaching methods.

As a result of the Telecom Foundation’s investment, the Manaiakalani Education Trust will accelerate its plan to make available the programme’s building blocks - already the subject of interest from educators nationally and internationally - to all New Zealand schools keen to progress e-learning methods.

The new funding has already enabled the establishment of the Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Academy, where eight teachers from the cluster have been accepted to conduct independent research into particular issues that will advance e-learning education methods. These teachers presented their early analysis to a group of 50 New Zealand-wide educators at the Learning and Change Network hosted by Manaiakalani in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the University of Auckland early this week.

Sir Bob Harvey, Chair of the Telecom Foundation, says:

“Digital literacy is now fundamental to young people’s participation in 21st century society and the modern workforce but the building blocks for educational success aren’t equal.

“It’s no secret Telecom is passionate about technology, and the Manaiakalani Programme uses it in the most powerful way to impact social change and fully develop the potential of our bright young people.

“The programme also captures the essence of working with our Maori and Pasifika children – who make up 95% of the schools’ population, by placing them at the centre of their own learning.

“We’re impressed by the ‘whole-of-community’ approach and the ‘learn, create, share’ philosophy that’s got these kids hooked – the achievements of these communities are nothing short of world-class.

“We can see by the experience of the Tamaki cluster that great things can be achieved with inspired leadership and a commonsense approach to using technology as an enabler. And while every aspect of the Manaiakalani model won’t be appropriate for every school we think it’s important to share their seven years of learning to accelerate the opportunities digital learning can bring about for all New Zealand schools.”

Pat Snedden, Chair of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, says:

“The Manaiakalani Programme serves a community where affordability has had a substantial effect on educational outcomes and communities alone can’t solve these problems.

“The learning improvement couldn’t be achieved without the collaboration of whanau as first investors, government, business and philanthropy.

“At its heart, the Manaiakalani Programme is an inside-out transformation by a community. These children and now their families are developing the digital DNA required for success in the 21st century workforce and society.

“In the Telecom Foundation we have found a partner that offers us the opportunity to extend our outcomes well beyond our current programme and offer some of the tools to the many New Zealand schools interested in adapting and learning from what we’ve done.”
Ria Tuala is a teacher at Pt England School who is part of the Innovative Teacher Academy. She is looking into how online and interactive resources can bridge and raise literacy achievement, for Pasifika children with English as a second language entering school. She says:
“My aim is to increase the academic success of our bilingual students in their formative schooling years – from early childhood education to primary school. As a New Zealand born Samoan, I am extremely proud of my dual heritage. I am particularly passionate about raising the academic achievement of bilingual students through blended Learning. In 2013, I will be investigating the use of interactive online literacy and numeracy resources that will support the transition of bilingual students using their own languages.”
Nick Major, a teacher at Tamaki College, is also part of the Innovative Teacher Academy. He is looking into using social networking as a tool to engage students. Nick says:
“I’m trialling the use of social media with my classes as a means of communication and also as a collaborative space for teaching and learning. I am specifically interested in the use of Edmodo but also would like to trial Twitter, Facebook and also Google+ as a means of staying in contact with students; especially outside of classroom hours. I already use all of these networks, but I would like to utilise them more with students.”

The Telecom Foundation is announcing its support for Manaiakalani at a stakeholder event at Tamaki College this morning where members of the school communities, business and community leaders are hearing from students about their e-learning experience.

ENDS


Notes
• Schools participating in the Manaiakalani Programme are: Tamaki College, Pt England School, Glen Innes School, St Pius X, Glenbrae School, Tamaki Primary, Panmure Bridge School, St Patricks School and Sommerville Special School. Two further Tamaki schools are in the process of joining the cluster.
• Seven foundation schools in the cluster began experimenting e-learning in 2007 and started their 1:1 netbook programmes in 2010, with parents purchasing devices for their children (Year 5 and up) from 2011.
• The Manaiakalani Education Trust was established in February 2011 to provide a mechanism for the purchase of netbooks.
• The Telecom Foundation has made an investment of $1 million over four years with the Manaiakalani Education Trust to fund:
o Research, to be conducted by Woolf Fisher Research Centre (The University of Auckland) into the outcomes being achieved in the cluster of schools in the Manaiakalani Programme.
o An ‘innovation hub’, by funding opportunities for professional development and continued innovation and reporting with increased capacity in the cluster of Manaiakalani schools.
o Development of tools and systems to aid and encourage the open sharing of information, techniques and tools that are the building blocks of the Manaiakalani programme.
• Other financial and in-kind supporters of Manaiakalani include: ASB Community Trust, Te Puni Kōkiri, Vector, Ministry of Education, The University of Auckland, Fusion Networks, Equico, Hapara and Sky City Auckland Community Trust.
• The Tamaki College NCEA results for 2012 show significant improvement over previous years’ results. The most dramatic is the rise of NCEA level two results from the low 25% in previous years to 51% in 2012, the first full year of the Manaiakalani Programme. These results are due to a combination of factors of which the Programme is one. There has been a huge emphasis on personal mentoring, pastoral care and use of data to track and inform planning, individually tailored to students. What is very clear however, is that two out of seven classes who began the Manaiakalani Programme at Year 10 in 2011 had a pass rate at NCEA level One in 2012 of over 60%, materially higher than the other five classes in the 2011 year who were not part of the Programme. There were also eight Level 1 Merit endorsements received in 2012, double the College’s previous best achievement. These were awarded to eight students who were in the two classes.
• Pt England School is subject to a lot of attention from educators nationally and internationally and the school has a group of ‘Ambassadors’ who explain their approach to learning to visitors, here is a video of the 2012 ambassadors: http://vimeo.com/55899566

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