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Digital technology to improve education for Māori and blind

Teachers awarded for using digital technology to improve education for Māori and blind communities

Auckland, 13 September 2017 – Sandy Bornholdt from Mt Manganui’s Te Kura o Matapihi has been recognised as the country’s top digital teacher, winning the prestigious NEXT Expert Teacher Award at The Mind Lab by Unitec’s graduation in Auckland yesterday.

Sandy recently completed The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) and was celebrated at yesterday’s ceremony alongside more than 200 fellow teachers from the July 2017 cohort.

She was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the NEXT Foundation for her work to help children at the Māori Medium School where she is based to become technologically savvy. Runners up Janet Jones-Pooles from Christchurch’s the Blind and Low Vision Education Network and Emily Bagrie from Auckland’s Elim Christian College were also recognised for the unique ways they have incorporated new and emerging technologies into their classrooms.

The NEXT Expert Teacher Award celebrates a teacher’s commitment to broadening their skills to help students gain the skills needed for 21st Century careers. Overall winner Sandy says The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgrad programme was an incredible opportunity to delve deeper into aspects of contemporary education.

“The tamariki at the kura I work in are incredible and deserve the best. One of our philospohies is ka turangatira ai ta tatou tamariki i roto e te ao maori me te ao whanui – to be confident, life-long learners in the Māori world as well as the wider world,” she says.

Sandy was selected as winner through an interview process led by Frank Janssen, Director at The Mind Lab by Unitec.

“Sandy’s commitment to incorporating digital learning pedagogy into her Māori Medium School is an excellent example of how The Mind Lab’s postgraduate certificate is applicable in any New Zealand environment,” says Frank.

“We wish her and her school all the best in helping their children become technologically savvy in our new world.”

Frances Valintine, Founder and Chair of The Mind Lab by Unitec, congratulated Sandy and the finalists, saying it’s fantastic to see teachers recognised from all over the country. She also thanked the NEXT Foundation for its on-going commitment to supporting and investing in The Mind Lab’s educational aspirations.

“Our partnership with NEXT Foundation shares a vision to provide Kiwis with the skills and confidence to embrace the opportunities of our increasing technological world. The skills our teachers gain through our postgraduate programme empowers both the teachers themselves and their students – our future leaders – by equipping them for the jobs of the future.”

Launched in 2014, the NEXT Foundation plans to invest $100 million into The Mind Lab over the next ten years. It provided 1,350 teacher scholarships in 2017 to allow public school teachers to undertake The Mind Lab’s postgraduate programme.

The Mind Lab by Unitec has become the largest education facility in New Zealand in four years of operation. Over the next five years The Mind Lab has the goal of teaching over 10,000 teachers and 180,000 school students.

ENDS

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