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Telecom Foundation doubles investment in digital learning

Telecom Foundation doubles investment in digital learning rollout

The Telecom Foundation announced today significant additional funding to support the rollout of the Manaiakalani digital learning approach to more low income communities.

Today’s announcement confirms an additional $1.2 million contribution over two years to the Manaiakalani Education Trust, to support pilot digital learning programmes in several new school clusters across New Zealand.

The Telecom Foundation is approaching its third year of partnership with the Trust, with an original investment of $1 million over four years. The new funding will more than double this investment to $2.2 million.

Until recently, the Manaiakalani Education Trust has focused its activities on the twelve schools within the ‘innovation hub’ in Tamaki, Auckland. The unique Manaiakalani model is now being piloting by clusters of schools in the communities of Kaikohe, Mt Roskill (Auckland), Otaki and Porirua.

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. Student work is undertaken online, with extensive use of internet-based applications and digital technologies.

Through its additional investment, the Telecom Foundation is funding an extensive range of activity which assists participating school clusters through the stages and activities required to successfully establish the Manaiakalani approach in their community so that student achievement can accelerate. This activity focuses on supporting the planning for a successful implementation, providing intensive professional learning development induction programmes for teachers, assisting with research and evaluation to chart student achievement and a grant by the Manaiakalani Education Trust to assist in underwriting the financial liability of device bulk purchase. It also ensures continued support of the Manaiakalani ‘innovation hub’ in Tamaki.

Sir Bob Harvey, Chair of the Telecom Foundation, says: “We’re absolutely delighted to be the catalyst for improving education outcomes and giving these bright young people the chance to shine. In a nutshell, we’re making it possible for other communities to benefit from the many years of learning and fine tuning that have taken place within Tamaki. This announcement of additional funding is a superb lead into us becoming the Spark Foundation in August, when Telecom changes its name to Spark!”

Research from 2013 suggests a major increase in positive student outcomes across the whole of the Tamaki cluster. This provides rich feedback to validate and further refine Manaiakalani approaches to achieving accelerated student achievement. Evidence of particular improvement was noted across the cluster in writing and mathematics, together with an improvement in Tamaki College’s 2013 NCEA Level 2 results which, at 80% achievement are well up from 26% in 2011 and 51% in 2012.

As a showcase for the Manaiakalani programme, Pt England School is subject to much attention from educators nationally and internationally and the school has a group of ‘Ambassadors’ who explain their approach to learning to visitors. This video is of the 2012 ambassadors:

Pat Snedden, Chair of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, says: “We exist because of the need to provide equal opportunities to those in low income communities, and to provide these students with the means to access modern tools for modern learning. The skills the children are learning will see them be more successful when they go onto seek jobs and to be positive contributors to building a great New Zealand. This programme wouldn’t be possible without both the belief in us, and the significant financial investment of the Telecom Foundation.”


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