Digital technology is being used to give Kiwi school students an equal footing in education, no matter what their socioeconomic background.
The Manaiakalani group is a group of decile one primary and secondary schools in Auckland, whose students are learning primarily from digital resources and working on digital devices.
The schools, located in Glen Innes, Panmure and Point England, works with students from Year 5 and onwards. Every student receives a ChromeBook for their work, while teachers run lessons from a cental control panel.
Google Class on Air is helping five teachers film and provide lessons on-demand, with easy access to lesson plans and students' work. Parents can also access their child's work and course lessons so that can easily keep track of progress.
Rebecca Jesson, senior lecturer in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland, says this allows teachers to learn from each other.
“It’s about acknowledging that these kids are living in a digital world, most of them were born since the invention of Facebook, so let’s make these tools [that they like and use anyway] smart and make them work for them,” Dr Jesson says.
Jesson hopes to expand the programme to include five more low-decile schools and nearly 10,000 students around New Zealand, including in Kaikohe, two more in Auckland, one in Christchurch and one on the South Island's West Coast.
The programme was formed in 2010, and claims that it helps children raise their success expectations and ultimately prepares from for the future of digital technology.
Dr Jesson's team has been evaluating the programme as well as running the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy, which she says helps first year teachers and their mentors improve their digital learning skills.
The programme is supported by high-profile New Zealand institutions such as the University of Auckland, the Next and Spark foundations and Google.