Educators NZ - Avondale College thinks outside the box with innovation programme

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Avondale College thinks outside the box with innovation programme

Avondale College is paving the way for innovation with its very own innovation programme.

At the helm is teacher Paul McClean, with his guidance students in the programme can work on an array of ICT projects and earn real-world qualifications.

Principal Brent Lewis, says the Innovation Programme started off as a pilot in 2013, offering 23 students a shot at an innovative way of learning.

Fast forward three years and there are more than 800 industry qualifications that Avondale students have gained, including credentials across Adobe, Hewlett Packard, Autodesk Microsoft and a number of other programmes.   

“We believe that the economy is going through a disruptive phase when it comes to technology,” says Lewis.

“In order for all of our students to be participants in the new digital world they need both the thinking characteristics and proficiency with the tools to participate,” he adds.

“We also want to be a little bit different and sit outside of what other people are doing.”

With the programme there are no tests, no exams and no lesson or unit plans. Programme director, McClean says that his main goal is to make learning engaging and fun.

 “Everything the students do is based on systems, design and critical thinking, which emboldens real project work as well as student centred education,” says McClean. 

“The programme is designed to develop students who make a positive contribution to New Zealand sectors and also the technology market.”

However for McClean, the programme isn't actually about technology. 

"A lot of people make the fundamental mistake of thinking we’re in a new digital era. It isn’t a digital era, it’s an ideas era. It’s about the people and how they think.”

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