The biggest problem mother of six Michelle Toko has is not getting her children to do their homework but limiting the time they spend doing it.
“I’m just glad my kids don’t mind sharing,” she says, referring to the two Chromebooks the family owns through Taitokerau Education Trust’s lease to buy scheme.
Michelle’s three youngest children, Jareem (9), Remenis (8) and Isis (11), are in digital classrooms at Whau Valley Primary.
The school is among six within the Te Puawai Cluster on our Digital Immersion Programme. The cluster is 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.
Michelle says she heard about Taitokerau Education Trust through the school and chose to purchase their Chromebooks through the trust because it was so affordable and repairs or replacements were guaranteed in the first two years.
“I wondered if the kids would be too rough with them but they’ve actually learned to take responsibility. They know they have to look after them and care for them,” she says.
She is grateful that the trust has given her children the opportunity to stay up to date with the modern world.
“There was a time when we thought these devices were out of our price range and having them in our home wasn’t even a thought. The trust has bridged that gap so everyone can learn equally.”
She says the programme has enhanced learning for each of her children.
“We’ve got a routine where they know how long they get on the device and what they want to show me in that time. I learn something new from them nearly every day and that shows me that they’re enjoying their time in their digital classes and obviously learning new things every day as well.”
Michelle says digital learning has been particularly beneficial for Remenis who is autistic.
“I thought he was struggling at school but he’s showing that he is learning through the device.”
When writing is too hard for him, he is able to type. And when the classroom environment becomes too overwhelming, he can go to his computer and engage in with his classmates digitally.
“He can manage this way and gauge how much he wants to interact with others rather than feeling pressured to participate with the classroom. That’s why he needs a Chromebook of his own – Jareem’s been quite accommodating!”
Michelle is now planning to get two more devices for the family.
“It would mean everyone could have their turn at the same time and I’d be able to better structure our routine at home. I want them all to have quality time without the other one being in their ear.”