Top overseas job for Waikato tech teacher

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 08:33 06/06/2014
Gail Abbitt
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

TECH WHIZ: Waikato Diocesan teacher Gail Abbitt is going to Portugal for work as technology integration specialist at St Julian’s School in Portugal.

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It's destination Portugal for a Waikato-based teacher who has secured a job at a prestigious international school.

Gail Abbitt recently beat strong international competition for a technology integration specialist role at St Julian's School near Lisbon.

She has spent the past five years at Waikato Diocesan where she helped drive the bring your-own-device movement and use of Google Apps for Education.

"I'm a huge believer in using technology in education. Just the effects that I've seen in my own practice and how students have become engaged by using technology.

"I saw this job [at St Julian's] and I just thought ‘Wow, that sounds great'," she said.

There was a competitive field of applicants from around the world and it took three Skype interviews - at 11pm due to the time difference - for Abbitt to seal the deal.

When she found out she had, it was "Shock. And then excitement, and then nerves, because I've loved being at Dio so much."

The new role isn't classroom teaching, but working with teachers to help them use technology with their students.

"And it's trying out new technology and thinking of ways to implement it. I like the creativity side of the job."

The private, co-educational school has more than 1000 students, from around 40 different countries, aged from three to eighteen.

Abbitt is looking forward to the challenge of working with teachers right across that range because she has never worked with primary or intermediate students.

She's also looking forward to the experience of an International Baccalaureate school, although St Julian's also offers a choice between English GCSE examinations and the Portuguese National Curriculum (Ensino Basico).

Abbitt now has just weeks left at Waikato Diocesan, where she has been teacher in charge of media studies, and a specialist classroom teacher over the past two years.

She is brushing up on her Portuguese - it's a difficult language, she said.

But she wants to return to New Zealand at the end of the three-year contract.

And she's had more good news in the technological field over the past few days as she was accepted as a Google education trainer.

Currently there are just two listed for New Zealand.

Trainers help teachers and schools looking to introduce or upskill with Google for Education tools. 

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- Waikato Times

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