Teachers upskill in technology to keep pace with today's student

Technology is an enabler, not a solution, The Mind Lab by Unitec general manager Fee McLeod says.
THE MIND LAB BY UNITEC

Technology is an enabler, not a solution, The Mind Lab by Unitec general manager Fee McLeod says.

Some Waikato teachers are driving to Auckland or Rotorua for a course that shows how they could use technology in their classroom.

But that could change if enough of them apply to bring  a satellite site for The Mind Lab by Unitec to the region.

The Mind Lab is planning to offer its course at more Kiwi locations which have backing from 40 local teachers, and Hamilton is third on the list of possibilities with 31.

Running electrical currents through fruit is an activity that comes up in the postgraduate certificate course.
THE MIND LAB BY UNITEC

Running electrical currents through fruit is an activity that comes up in the postgraduate certificate course.

Overall, Whakatane is topping the leaderboard with 56 supporters, while Orewa is second with 33.

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Some Waikato teachers already travel for the postgraduate certificate in digital and collaborative learning.

"The ones who are incredibly dedicated are driving to the likes of Rotorua or Auckland to attend our programme," The Mind Lab by Unitec general manager Fee McLeod said.

The Mind Lab was founded by Frances Valintine in 2013 and started off teaching kids about everything from robotics to animation.

About six months in teachers started asking, what about us, McLeod said.

"The child these teachers are teaching has grown up in a wi-fi enabled world, a smartphone world, a way in which they can collaborate online, they can get knowledge and information from anywhere," she said.

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So Valintine started a partnership with Unitec and they created the 32 week long postgraduate certificate.

Teachers studying it could be running electrical circuits through fruit with a Makey Makey kit to using Scratch to code games.

The part time course covers digital technology, leadership and new ways to work together.

"It's not just about saying, here's a 3D printer," McLeod said.

"We don't look at technology as a solution. We look at technology as an enabler."

Hamilton is inching closer to getting 40 educators behind a satellite site and there's interest in Waikato towns from Tairua in the Coromandel Peninsula to Piopio in the King Country.

Once a town hits 40 votes, Mind Lab will contact potential host schools and new sites could be running by November.

The postgraduate certificate costs $2750, but the Next Foundation offers $2000 scholarships for teachers in public schools.

Teachers at early childhood centres, independent schools and tertiary educators pay the full amount.

 - Stuff

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