Just what the teacher ordered

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2014
Chromebook
MAARTEN HOLL/ Fairfax NZ
TEAM EFFORT: Homework is more interesting at the Suailua house now that dad Pati can help his daughters Claudia, 9, left, and Angel, 8, with their schoolwork on their Chromebook computers. 

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Pati Suailua looked at buying a laptop for his six children to share - now, thanks to a school lease system, he has four Chromebooks in the house.

The Porirua father said some families were too proud to sign up to the $4-a-week lease system but he jumped at the opportunity to invest in his children's education.

Te Mana o Kupe Trust has already leased Chromebooks to 400 families and, by the end of next year, more than 2000 children from 13 schools in Porirua East are expected to have a device.

One-third of Porirua East households don't have access to the internet, so the next step was to get community wi-fi set up, trust founder Antony Royal said.

"Ideally, in the next few months, we'll start building and installing wi-fi so that households with our Chromebooks can connect to it."

Schoolwork could be completed offline at home, but Royal said online learning should not stop at the school gate for those families that could not afford broadband.

Suailua has internet access but said the big difference with Chromebooks was that his Corinna School children could do their homework online at a price that didn't break the budget.

"I get emails now saying what homework the kids have so I can make sure they're doing it and help them with it."

Corinna School principal Michele Whiting said the decile 1 school had already noticed big changes in the engagement between parents and their children since the Chromebooks were introduced.

"We had meetings about the devices for parents to come along to and normally we don't get a lot of interaction, but we had lots of parents come in and they were really engaged."

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- The Dominion Post

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