How and why did you come to be involved with Taitokerau Education Trust?
I was one of the original principals that got together to work on the reading and te reo programme Te Puawaitanga. That extended into the realisation that the future was digital and that we needed to get on board so we approached Northpower Fibre and began to form the trust from there.
What is your role or relationship with the trust?
I’m the principal of Te Kura o Otangarei, one of the schools that works with the trust to provide digital programmes to our tamariki.
Are there any particular highlights or achievements of the trust that stand out to you?
Gaining the support, engagement and involvement of communities – not only Whangarei and Northland but Auckland and further south as well – has been a highlight.
Securing funding for the programme facilitator Beth Lamb was important too. Our school didn’t have the funding to pay her salary, so securing that through the trust saved us a lot of money.
What would you say to parents who are considering enrolling their child in the Digital Immersion Programme?
If parents are concerned about the invasion of digital devices in their children’s lives, we acknowledge that and respect that.
Digital learning is a powerful tool. It’s not just about providing the device but changing the way we teach in order to maximise the use of the tool to allow the children to learn far more effectively than they have in the past.
Our teachers know how to engage their students through good apps and learning tools.
Why do you think the programme is so successful?
You can’t put it down to one thing, there’s a combination of factors that play together to work so well.
The collective desire of the principals and schools involved in the programme in seeing how valuable it can be has been important.
A lot of the success our teachers are having in their classrooms is because of the work that Beth has done in helping them be a better educator with a device. They might have been great teachers but you do have to change the way you do things and teach so that’s been a very important part – being at the forefront of the new techniques and pedagogies that are at play when using digital devices.
Also, we’ve taken away a huge barrier in terms of cost so the uptake has been very strong.
Fun digital fact: What is the last thing you searched for online?
I wanted the definition of a gospel principal for the church class I teach. I also search a lot on Maori Dictionary to help me improve my vocabulary.