The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine in world 'tech ed' top 50
The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine has been named as one of the top 50 movers and shakers in technology education.
The recognition came from a panel of 15 experts including representatives from Times Higher Education in Britain, Google, LinkedIn and the Gates Foundation.
They included her as the only Kiwi in the "Makers and Shakers of Education Technology Index".
The Mind Lab by Unitec is a public-private partnership that aims to educate children and teachers about digital technologies through eight centres that have been established around the country.
Its courses range from school holiday programmes for primary school children through to postgraduate certificates for teachers.
Valintine said she did now know how she had been nominated for inclusion in the index alongside the likes of Raspberry Pi co-founder David Braben and Satya V Nitta, director of the Cognitive Sciences and Education Technology research department at IBM Research.
"But obviously I am thrilled given the company in that group."
The Mind Lab is preparing to open another four centres in New Zealand and had set its sights on training 10,000 teachers, up from the 2000 that had been through its courses to date.
About 40,000 children were now taking part in Mind Lab each year, Valintine said. The organisation will mark its third anniversary in October.
Valintine said she had seen a big lift in the capability of schoolchildren who visited The Mind Lab, particular those from schools which had a strong vision.
Teachers were starting to understand that the roles they were teaching kids for were not going to be the roles of today, and that they needed to teach "more practical skills around resilience and problem solving", she said.
But she said high school assessments were getting in the way of innovation and progress. "We have got still quite a strong 'legacy commitment' to the retention of knowledge and measurement through exams.
"NCEA has a lot of flexibility built into it, but it is not necessarily taken advantage of by teachers."