2015 has been a pretty big year for the Digital technology department. Coming into Nukutere as an art teacher I thought most of my focus was going to be the art department. Luckily art by its nature is a very resourceful subject and any shortcomings in the art program or room can be easily fixed.
The ICT department on the other hand was lacking in a few key areas. Our technology was in a very bad way and the program in place was mostly made up of out of date workbooks. We needed to be teaching our students to become self-directed learners prepared to use the currently inconceivable technology that will be commonplace in 5 years time.
It became my goal to give the department as much of an overhaul as I could manage in between teaching and learning. This meant getting new technology, trying to integrate every curriculum area and preparing students for project based, self directed learning. I received a ministry grant to purchase technology so over the summer I went to New Zealand and purchased some quality laptops and camera’s. This has allowed us to move beyond simple software that requires a curriculum to be shaped around to professional software that enables us to develop any project we wish.
All of our senior school spent the year working with Adobe’s creative suite, which allowed us the flexibility to have students choose their own projects and has hopefully made them realize there is multiple solutions to a problem and multiple approaches to a task. Using professional level software has meant that students are developing practical skills, which they could apply in any area with excellent looking results.
The department has focused on developing technical skills with a range of digital media. Having school DSLR cameras has allowed students to develop their own authentic work and cater for basic needs and for those students who want to push the boundaries.
Big changes take a lot of time and developments to the year 10 and 11 programs have allowed students to create much more authentic work. With continued upgrades and more practical tech support I hope my replacement teacher can keep pushing new and creative ways approaches to technology education.
Meitaki Maata to those that supported change and to those students who embraced the freedom our new program allowed. Those students who took responsibility of their learning helped create a reciprocal environment, which is perfect for deep learning.