Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Digital learning.. it's time

The world of work is changing. Well the world is changing, and it is changing so fast that it can leave us breathless. Who would have thought that within five years we will see driverless cars on the roads of Christchurch, or that the City Council would be installing electric car charge points in parking buildings? This makes it really difficult for schools to know how best to prepare our students for their future. Schools have traditionally been seen as places from which you acquire knowledge. Over the past fifteen years however our very definition of knowledge has changed. Whereas we once thought of knowledge as ‘stuff’, facts, processes etc, now we see it as stuff, and being able to do something WITH that stuff. It has moved from being a noun to a verb. This means that more than ever before schools need to develop skills and dispositions in students rather than simply fill their heads. Our model of learning has shifted: we can no longer see students’ minds as empty vessels to be filled. We hear from employers that we need to provide them with people who are able to learn, and they will give them employment specific facts and skills. This includes those important dispositions like persistence and resilience, the ability to work collaboratively, to think critically and creatively. Digital technology is vital tool. It is no coincidence that this has become a part of the New Zealand curriculum. Hornby High School is a part of the Hornby Manaiakalani Outreach Hornby cluster. Modelled on the Tamaki cluster in Auckland, the programme uses the pedagogy ‘Learn Create Share’ to define work with students, using devices (currently Chromebooks) as the essential digital tool. The Tamaki experience reveals dramatic impact on student learning, engagement and results. Students acquire knowledge, create authentic product with that knowledge and then share it with the world, perhaps as published work, or the solution to a real world problem.

You can read more about this programme here. The learning is powerful, the impact profound, and it requires students to have devices in their hands. The Chromebook is the most affordable solution to that challenge. It’s a big ask for many families, but the return on their investment is huge.

It's time.

Nga mihi
Robin Sutton

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