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Collaboration key for thinking about education

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Collaboration key for thinking about secondary education in New Zealand.

Ever wanted to create a new future? To reshape or influence the purpose and nature of education in New Zealand? Explore or play with possibilities for what life in New Zealand might be like, 20 years from today?

A new interactive website, produced by the education project Secondary Futures and technology partner Boost New Media, offers visitors all sorts of possibilities for the future.

In the process, the site seeks feedback from the visitors, which Secondary Futures adds to the mix of information it is gathering to identify a new vision for schooling in New Zealand in 20 years.

Secondary Futures sought out technology partner Boost New Media to produce a website that would be a pivotal tool in its development of a future vision for secondary education in New Zealand.

The resulting site – www.secondaryfutures.co.nz – offers visitors the opportunity to experience an on-line futures thinking workshop and to explore possibilities for what that future might be like. As well as the virtual workshop (a counterpart to the project’s live workshops held throughout New Zealand) the website features stories and shares information about innovation in schools, world trends and new developments, to stimulate people’s thinking about the future.

“We aim to create an online space in which people can think about the future in a fun, stimulating and convenient way,” says Secondary Futures CEO Nicola Meek.

The key to the site is the unique information matrix which serves as a dynamic and interactive filing cabinet of information, stories, ideas, and research and gives ideas of how the site is organised.

On a changing array of pages, visitors can casually and quickly add their thoughts to one of the many topics covered online, or actively participate in an online running debate.

Boost New Media co-founder Nathan Donaldson says the cornerstone of the site is collaboration – between client and technology partner, and between the different people who use the site and share a common interest in the future of New Zealanders who pass through our education system.

“We went for an approach that could harness the collective energy of people interested in futures thinking, education, and the future of young New Zealand learners.

“As inspiration, we looked at the kind of collective force that helped shaped the best and most influential web-logs (‘blogs”) and also the breathtaking ‘Wikipedia’ project.

“We bounced ideas around with Secondary Futures, and interpreted their concept of the matrix into the interactive tool that anchors the site.”

The site aims to reach a broad market, says Nicola Meek.

“If our vision and website are to reflect the interests and needs of New Zealanders, we need to attract and engage as many of them as possible. We hope the cutting edge, interactive nature of the website help us do that. And we’ll use the website to report back what we are learning from New Zealanders involved in the conversation.”

ENDS


BACKGROUND

Secondary Futures is a broad-ranging discussion with New Zealanders about how secondary schooling can make more students more successful 20 years from now.

Boost New Media is a boutique web company that specialises in the development of website and educational resources with user-centred design and successful technical solutions.

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