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Teachers go digital to help students

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

As if a full school day of teaching wasn’t enough, many Wairarapa teachers are committing to after school study to benefit their classrooms.

About 30 Wairarapa teachers have taken advantage of a postgraduate diploma being offered through Masterton’s Fab Lab.

The organisation, based on Chapel St, hosts weekly four-hour classes of applied practice in digital and collaborative learning, taught by The Mind Lab over a 32-week period.

The goal is to improve opportunities for digital and online learning in the classroom, by helping teachers understand and operate in the ever-changing digital world.

Each teacher received a $2000 scholarship from the NEXT foundation covering most of the $2750 course fee, with the rest self-funded or being paid for by the teachers’ schools.

Kirsten Browne, co-founder of Fab Lab, said teachers jumped at the chance of signing up for the postgraduate course.

She said they were keen to expand on their teaching skills and learn modern ways to facilitate the children’s learning.

“This Mind Lab course is about disrupting the way of education,” Ms Browne said.

“This is about expanding into a different way of teaching that is for our kids’ future.”

She also said the schools knew they needed it and were just as keen as the teachers to get involved.

John Hart, co-founder of Fab Lab, said that teaching in this way allowed the teacher to be more of a facilitator in the learning.

“It’s giving the teachers the tools they need to give children the skills they need for a changing world while still inside the curriculum,” Mr Hart said.

Jo Green, a teacher at Lakeview primary school in Masterton, said she wanted to take the course as she knew the children in her class would benefit.

She said she had been teaching in a collaborative class (two teachers responsible for one larger classroom of children) for two years, and wanted to expand on what she could offer the children.

Interest for the course is region-wide, and features teachers from about a dozen schools.

Mr Hart and Ms Browne hope for interest to spread enough in time for the next round starting in March next year.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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