Two teachers from a south Auckland school have been recognised for their commitment to bringing technology to the classroom.
Kathryn Gifford-Maposua and Susannah Fowler of The Gardens School in Manurewa won the NEXT Foundation Expert Teacher Award.
The award comes after they and a dozen other teachers from the school completed The Mind Lab by Unitec’s postgraduate certificate in Applied Practice (digital and collaborative learning).
Fowler is the principal and Gifford-Maposua the deputy principal.
With several south Auckland schools undergoing a major revamp to accommodate collaborative learning, Fowler says the 32-week programme “fitted perfectly in assisting with pedagogical change, strengthening collaboration between teachers and students”.
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The Gardens School has adopted the use of technology for a few years now, and the educators say it is the way to the future.
But gadgets are not the sole way of learning.
“Technology is only the tool. So if it’s the best type of tool for that learning then you use it. If a pencil is the best tool for another type of learning you use a pencil,” says Fowler.
“They [the students] are still getting that social interaction. Digital citizenship is really important, but the students understand that it shouldn’t consume their entire life,” Gifford-Maposua says.
As they encourage the students to be well acquainted with technology, they also try and help parents understand the issues of cyber crime.
The two educators were jointly awarded $5,000 to reflect their teamwork throughout the programme.
Gifford-Maposua says by having the teachers involved, “we have significantly enhanced the level of professional discussion and created energy and enthusiasm for our future”.
“The Mind Lab has made a large contribution towards our teachers embracing a truly collaborative environment.”
Founder and chair of The Mind Lab by Unitec, Frances Valintine says its partnership with NEXT Foundation shares a vision to provide all Kiwis with the skills and confidence to embrace the opportunities of a globalised world.
“The digital and collaborative skills our teachers gain through our postgraduate programme empower young people, equipping them for the jobs of the future.”
Launched in 2014, NEXT Foundation plans to invest $100 million over the next 10 years. It has provided 1350 teacher scholarships last year to enable public school teachers to undertake The Mind Lab’s postgraduate programme.
Intakes are in March, July and November and the certificate is available across the country. Visit www.wheretonext.school.nz for more details.