A $130,000 Rotary grant has enabled a Far North education trust to expand a revolutionary internet-based teaching system across the region. Paihia School, Kawakawa School and Northland College will join a group of low-decile schools leading the introduction of ‘digital classrooms’ when they open at the start of the 2015 school year in February.
The initiative, led by the Kaikohekohe Educational Trust, seeks to improve academic results and reduce truancy. The founding principals are Jane Lindsay, principal of Paihia School, Lee Whitelaw, principal at Ohaeawai Primary, and Meralyn Te Hira of Kaikohe West School.
It gives children from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to embrace the wealth of learning resources available on the Internet and to learn anywhere, any time and at any pace. At its heart is the concept of learning by sharing, something the internet has made much more possible than before.
The grant from the international Rotary Foundation is being administered by the Rotary Club of Kerikeri. It will enable hundreds of Chromebooks to be introduced into many more schools now and in the future, and will fund the implementation of the project and the training involved.
Chromebooks are laptop computers with limited offline capability, designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet. They are the face of the ‘digital classroom’ system and provide access to a closed and secure environment where sharing, pivotal to this new approach to learning, can take place.
The digital classroom concept was introduced to New Zealand by the Manaiakalani Education Programme, an initiative promoting new learning approaches across a growing cluster of decile 1a schools in the low income, predominantly Māori and Pacific communities of East Auckland.
Source: Rotary in New Zealand and the Pacific