Our cluster of low decile Northland schools is on track to outperform many of our higher decile counterparts across the country through digital learning.
Students in the Te Puawai cluster – which includes Manaia View School, Whau Valley Primary, Te Kura o Otangarei, Whangarei Intermediate, Tikipunga High School and Hikurangi Primary School – are making faster progress in learning than the average New Zealand school, according to a report by the University of Auckland’s Woolf Fisher Research Centre.
The report tracked 394 students between Years 4 and 10 who participated in our Digital Immersion Programme throughout 2017.
The aim of the trust and the work we do is to raise achievement levels by making personal-use devices accessible to students from lower-income households.
All students on our programme have equal access to online learning from their qualified teachers while studying both at school and in their homes.
Dr Rebecca Jesson, who led the research, says some of the students made accelerated gains at more than three times the rate of the previous year.
“All lines are pointing upwardly for all year levels for both genders and all ethnicities, which is huge,” says Dr. Jesson.
She says our students are particularly strong in writing, a subject which often faces underperformance, and made faster than normal progress in maths.
Our Digital Immersion Facilitator, Beth Lamb, says a key element to the programme is the flipped learning model, which is being embedded in all digital classrooms.
Flipped learning allows teachers to make lessons available to students before and during class so classroom time can be used to engage in active and meaningful learning activities.
“The flipped learning model enables the learners to access the content as many times as they need to gain a complete understanding.
“This is at the forefront of digital immersion best practice and is having a significant impact on student engagement in learning,” Beth says.
Dr. Jesson says the collaborative, flipped learning environment has played a key role in the accelerated achievement of the cluster.
“Teachers can easily engage kids in discussion because rest of class is participating in meaningful online activities where they can share their learning. And the students are working together with high expectations for each other. We can see this coming through.”
Our Executive Officer, Liz Cassidy-Nelson, says the impressive results are due to more than digital immersion alone.
“It’s a wonderful acknowledgement of the commitment our teachers, who have upskilled to a new way of teaching, and whānau, who are investing in the resources to make the change.”