Pupils present online credentials to MPs

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 08:56 16/08/2012
Jade Gibbons-Lawrie, Helen Oliver, Stephen Dyoco and Lachlan Patterson
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

DIGITAL DIRECTION: Twelve-year-old Tawa Intermediate pupils Jade Gibbons-Lawrie, Helen Oliver, Stephen Dyoco and Lachlan Patterson address a select committee at Parliament.

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They may be only 12, but that did not stop a group of Wellington pupils offering advice to MPs on education in the digital age.

The room 15 class at Tawa Intermediate School runs its own blog to document its digital learning, and regularly posts videos online.

Yesterday year 8 classmates Stephen Dyoco, Helen Oliver, Jade Gibbons-Lawrie and Lachlan Patterson addressed Parliament's education and science select committee on the subject, and took questions from MPs.

Stephen, who told the committee "it bums me that I still can't vote", went on to say: "Computers can actually help kids with their learning."

Jade wanted to see one computer per child over the age of 10, but some schools had only about five to be shared among them. "I think it's really important because that's how we learn."

Helen said pupils were "pretty much learning all the time" and needed bright and interesting learning spaces so they could be more comfortable than sitting on the "hard cold floor".

"Most New Zealand schools were built in the 50s or 60s, before I was born, so they are out of date with things like furniture and space."

For Lachlan, it was about using technology effectively, so pupils could help teach each other.

'Schools these days aren't just about listening to the teacher drone on for ages about why pi equals 3.1415927. Teachers use hands-on learning to help students learn.'

But how did they know all the information they got online was right, MP Colin King asked.

"Common sense," said Stephen.

Outside Parliament, teacher Stephanie Thompson said schools often lacked digital devices and pupils were frustrated when wi-fi crashed.

Principal Carolyn Stuart said digital learning was about schools being relevant to the age in which they lived. "It's a big changing world out there in schools, and we have to change with it."

The committee also heard from first-year Victoria University student Darren Zhang, ETV Trust general manager Gresham Bradley, and PPTA staff, among others.

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- The Dominion Post

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