Teachers to learn digital skills at 'Marlborough edVenture' conference

Primary school principal Cheryl Wadworth is helping organise a district-wide educational conference.
ELENA MCPHEE/FAIRFAX NZ

Primary school principal Cheryl Wadworth is helping organise a district-wide educational conference.

More than 500 primary, intermediate and high school teachers are expected to attend the largest educational conference to be held in Marlborough.

Whitney Street School principal Cheryl Wadworth is on the organising committee of the "Marlborough edVenture" conference.

She said it aimed to upskill teachers in innovative learning practices, using new technology. 

"It's anywhere, anytime learning. You can learn from home, you can learn at different times, and connect with people globally," she said. 

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The conference, organised by the Marlborough Principals' Association, would be held at the Marlborough Girls' College and opened by Education Minister Hekia Parata 

The keynote speaker would be delivering an address on "Future-Focused Education" and teachers then had a choice of three speakers from professional development organisation CORE Education. 

Topics included using e-Tools in the classroom, technology in teaching gifted and talented students, and bi-cultural learning. 

"The presenters are high quality presenters who are up with the latest trends in education," Wadworth said. 

"The whole face of education is changing." 

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Rural Education Activities Programme schools advisor Margaret Giroux said there were 540 registrations in total including the 17 presenters. Teachers from every school in Marlborough would be attending. 

Mayfield School principal David Nott said he was looking forward to the conference, and all of the teachers and teacher aides at Mayfield would attend

It was a chance for them to see speakers who were leading the way in e-learning, and also to have conversations with others schools in the region and see how they incorporated technology. 

"[Speaking to other schools] is a really powerful thing," he said. 

Witherlea School principal Murray Hewson said it was an excellent way to start the year and all of his staff were attending. 

Part of the aim of the conference was to help schools work collaboratively in their approach to education, from primary school through to high school level.

Wadworth said the conference was separate to Marlborough's Community of Learning, but linked into that initiative. 

The Community of Learning, which included secondary, primary and intermediate schools, was set up in May last year and was designed to identify and address issues in the student population.

It had a series of "challenges" to meet such as raising achievement in literacy and numeracy. 

Wadworth believed Marlborough was the first region to organise a conference about innovative learning on this scale. 

While some schools encouraged parents to bring their own devices, pupils did not need to bring laptops or iPads to school in order to be effective innovative learners. A lot of schools provided their own technology because of equity issues, Wadworth said. 

Wadworth said she hoped teachers would be inspired. At the end of the day they would have the chance to build action plans to implement in their classrooms, she said. 

Students from Marlborough Boys' and Marlborough Girls' Colleges would be helpers on the day and the catering would be provided by the Girls' College.

 - The Marlborough Express

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