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School production a ‘first’ for Te Kura

School production a ‘first’ for Te Kura

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (formerly The Correspondence School) is New Zealand’s largest school. It teaches exclusively by distance, meaning its students have never experienced the excitement of being part of a collaborative school performance, until now.

Two talented senior music students Jae Herekiuha (from Auckland) and Bryony Greene (from Waikato) have collaboratively composed a powerful song called Keep Moving. They did this totally online, without ever meeting.

Their song has since become the basis of a project involving Te Kura students from throughout New Zealand and across the world. The song and video represent the contributions of 44 Te Kura students, past and present, utilising a wide range of technologies that allowed them to overcome the physical distances between them.

The project culminated in a meeting in Wellington of the two composers and year 12 student Tehimana Pokaia (from Palmerston North), who was responsible for the final musical arrangements. The video was compiled and edited by student Henry Leckie-Hodge (from Tauranga), also in year 12, who was mentored by Theatre Arts Director, Isobel Mebus.

Keep Moving is available to view via YouTube or on Te Kura’s website atwww.tekura.school.nz

Te Kura Arts Curriculum Leader Jan Bolton was the visionary behind the project. She could see the potential of an online musical collaboration, both as an authentic learning experience for the students involved and as a way of overcoming the isolation that inevitably comes from learning at a distance.

‘Working at a distance offers both challenges and opportunities. My aim with this project was to show how we can overcome some of the challenges through the use of easily-accessed technology and the benefits of access to technology for today’s students. It was also important to give Te Kura students of all ages, backgrounds and interests the chance to be part of something which students in other schools take for granted.’

In addition, Jan has been keen to challenge some of the perceptions around distance education and show what is possible.

‘The end result is something that could never have been achieved by just one or two people alone, and which reflects the unique character of Te Kura and its students. At the same time, every student who has been involved has learnt something from that experience and, in the case of some of the core team members, earned NCEA credits.’

Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings says the Keep Moving project illustrates the direction that Te Kura needs to be heading in. ‘Every school in New Zealand and in fact around the world is grappling with the challenge of connecting with students, engaging them in learning, making it authentic and relevant.

‘We also need to make sure our young people are skilled in the use of technology and there is no better way of doing that than making it an integral part of their learning.’

ENDS

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