catch from Maui's hook in education
startling education revolution is winning global attention in one of the most
unlikely places – amongst the Maori and Pacific island state house kids of
places like Glenn Innes, long written off as ghettos of poverty and crime in
the country’s oldest state housing project, children are rapidly reaching
national norms in reading, writing and mathematics.
some of the schools, all Decile-1 meaning the poorest, the children are
rampaging through the national syllabus well before the year is out –
and the teachers are coming up with new and innovative ways of teaching.
been done with a striking private trust that with parents has come up
with a way for every kid to have a computer notebook and eventually 24/7
access to high speed wireless.
is a big change in the way teaching is done,” says Pat Snedden,
chairman of the $4.5 million public, philanthropic, commercially funded
Manaiakalani Education Trust.
of the poorest communities in
has decided be one of the biggest investors in their own kids.”
middle class families angst over computer technology for children, Tamaki families
have done it for themselves.
the end of this year 2500 children will have their own netbook and Google
is not free; parents have to pay a deposit of $40 for the netbook, and $15 a
month to cover the $580 cost.
a lot to ask from among the nation’s poorest families – although they save
by not having much of a stationary bill, just $8-$10 a year.
have not had a single turn down by any parent in the area in the process of
signing up the netbooks.”
(the ‘hook from heaven’ that was given to
so he could succeed in the world’s largest ever fishing project) began with
seven local schools and is attracting top executives from Google and
Microsoft and armies of experts.
with Mayor Len Brown on Friday, they leave inspired by the kids and what
arrived full of glad-handing, and left asking to come back soon.
of important people are coming to see them now,” says Snedden –
brother of the more famous Martin, “and that is telling these children that
they are so good, they are so employable and that you are so bright.
happens time and again… this is a really big message for people to hear.”
money is coming into Tamaki and Snedden says the motivation is to change
the dynamic in Maori and Pacific education.
have got to show that people are bright and clever and can do well. All we
have to do is change the teaching methodology, otherwise we will keep getting
10 year old children ran the presentation for Brown and each noted an event
that occurred the year they started school. For one it was the year the first
I-phone was sold, another the year Google bought Youtube and another started
school the same year iTunes had one billion downloads on it.
professional development teacher Dorothy Burt says this link is crucial for
children in schools now are “post-2005 babies”.
was the year Youtube started, and today’s children now live in a world
completely rewired to what parents lived in. Children, she says, live in a
world which is about sharing themselves and digital space.
have to change because of that, we might as well be teaching a Victorian
Sunday school if we don’t because that is how different it is for these
children from how children of the 70s lived,” she says.
have to get our heads around this, we cannot engage, particularly the most
disadvantaged children, but any children, if we are not living in this world,
if the school isn’t the world they were born in and live in.”
England began podcasting in 2005, and became the 20th ranking
podcaster for a time in the
quickly noticed that those hardest to reach in old schools –
and Maori boys – quickly became engaged.
they were reading books. Kids were hunting down books because they wanted to
share their ideas out in that space.”
it spread the data was surprising. Previously one cohort of children who had
in one school year scored 1.05 years of progress in reading in a <single> year.
The following year, with podcasting and a Literacy Cycle, the same cohort was
scoring 1.74 years progress in a year.
schools have cut back on exercise books now; the children have their own
Google Apps Accounts accessible by the teachers. They can use them any
time; teachers have Google dashboards to go into the work at anytime.
children have become
bloggers; several of them have scored over 20,000 hits.
use a bewildering array of applications to create movies, write music and
says the Tamaki message is quality teaching with children given the digital
tools and the appropriate online space to be in.
we said in 2010 was, what if we could give every kid the same opportunity the entitled
child has… what if every kid had the opportunity for time with digital
tools, time and teachers had the necessary school professional
can learn anytime, just like others.
says they are not ensnared by the Internet, they use it. Music has exploded
across Tamaki – and they put their products everywhere.
laughed at the sight of two Tamaki students sitting on a roadside using their
netbooks to write something.
is such a different world.”
Principal Russell Burt – her husband - is proud of the school’s sevens
rugby side, they’re national champions.
learnt what to do on Youtube; playing again and again the stuff Gordon Tichens
is paid big money to coach.
lunch time, without telling anybody, they went out on the field and were
replaying all the moves they had seen over and over again on Youtube.”
years ago the school advertised for a new teacher. Being Decile-1, they got
few appropriate applicants.
class without a teacher then made a Youtube advertisement telling the world
what they wanted in a teacher.
got over multiple applicants; the woman who got the job replied with a video
application addressed to the students – not the board.
is being closely monitored, not because of a political demand for
results but because all involved are determined to be certain about what
works and what doesn't.
studies are revealing motivated students with rapidly improving literacy.
found computers made writing easier and more legible than their
handwriting,” said one study.
students from a low socio economic background it was extremely powerful to
know that your ‘voice’ was being heard.”
shifts were significant.
the advent of netbooks in 2011, schools are starting on a new and innovative
initiative that, with careful planning and implementation and adequate
support and funding, could be the key to 21st century education in