How and why did you come to be involved with Taitokerau Education Trust?
In late 2013, I was invited by Jo Brosnahan and Nikki Davies Colley to carry out a feasibility study on opportunities to improve the learning outcomes for students from families facing material hardship. We found enabling access to digital learning was proven to work for Māori and Pasifika students in particular.
I was involved in establishing what would be the Taitokerau Education Trust and I served as Executive Officer for its first three years of operation. I’m currently a Trustee and Deputy Chair on behalf of Amokura Iwi Consortium Ltd, because improving the educational outcomes of our children is a collective priority for iwi in Te Taitokerau.
My why is simple. Education is a key enabler for our children to have the foundation to create lives that they value and have reason to value. To date it has under-served our people. Knowing that there was a way to truly unlock our childrens’ potential and cultivate in them a life-long love for learning in an environment that is relevant to their context is a huge driver.
What is your role or relationship with the trust?
Are there any particular highlights or achievements of the trust that stand out to you?
- The continued reach and impact on students, particularly those in need, inside our communities.
- The extension into Rumaki Reo classes and Māori immersion learning environments.
- The excitement of students and teachers at the transformation of their learning and teaching journey.
What would you say to parents who are considering enrolling their child in the Digital Immersion Programme?
I’m a parent and, although my boys are now adults, my overriding motivation was to create or find an environment that enabled them, as Māori, to discover and grow into who they choose to be. They were already through the schooling system by the time I got involved but I know that they would have flourished had they been in this type of learning environment.
Now I can help to ensure other tamariki and my mokos, if I’m blessed, have the opportunity to access an environment that enhances their learning experience and outcomes, and be relevant to the future that they are stepping into.
Why do you think the programme is so successful?
- It is relevant to the environment that our kids are growing up in and the future that they are heading towards. Once affordability and access is addressed, it levels the playing field and gives all students access to resources and their fellow learners, rather than being dependent on access and proximity to libraries or transport.
- It’s transferable irrespective of the dominant language and settings.
- The learning pedagogy is customised to the learning needs of the students and enables them to control their learning progression.
- Parents or guardians can access their child’s learning in real-time and it extends the learning environment into the home.
- The pedagogy also teaches them how to be responsible and safe digital citizens.
Fun digital fact: What is the last thing you searched for online?
I’m never offline!