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Fun and laughter at Tech Pā

Fun and laughter at Tech Pā

Shrieks of laughter erupt from the various stations where groups of high school students huddle over computer screens and keyboards. Some are manipulating images in Photo Booth - a very cool program. Others are laying down music tracks on the sound desk, while another group is viewing video footage on two large screens.

This was the scene when some students from the Eastern Bay of Plenty got a taste of what will be on offer at Tech Pā:Virtual Technology Village - a new ICT project being launched at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi on Monday 24 August.

The Tech Pā project is a joint partnership between Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. Funding was provided from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The projects aim is to improve access and participation in tertiary education, in particular, to improve Māori involvement in the knowledge economy and society.

The project is a first for New Zealand and will bring cultural and technology elements together and provide a new set of exciting, creative and innovative learning opportunities.

Associate Professor Dr Mark Laws, Director of the eWānanga Centre for Creative Teaching and Learning and the project leader for Tech Pā is the creator and driver of the project. The project was awarded $2.8 million over a 3-year period; the second-largest amount in the last funding round of TEC’s Encouraging and Supporting Innovation Fund.

“The project will provide a range of educational benefits to students across all sectors and some of the initiatives will be designed with an emphasis on attracting school leavers to engage in a multitude of knowledge-based activities,” Dr Laws says.”

The Tech Pā developments will be led by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and driven by a project team consisting of the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic CEO, Dr Alan Hampton and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa CEO, Mr Jeremy Gardiner.

The Tech Pā project provides a great opportunity to build on the work the Rūnanga and Wānanga are doing to deliver better outcomes for members of Ngāti Awa.

Mr Gardiner says, “The adoption and adaptation of technology are critical factors in development and this project will lead the way in allowing communities to influence how they want to learn.”

Dr. Alan Hampton is also excited about the project and says Tech Pā represents a key initiative to make tertiary education seamless and inclusive.

“Tech Pā is a timely project for iwi, the community at large and tertiary institutions where there is growing recognition to learn, work and recreate collectively and collaboratively. Our future is dependent on the capability and skill sets of our people. Tech Pā will build more assurance around learner access, participation, engagement and meaningful learner outcomes for iwi as well as the nation at large.”


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