Sunday, June 16, 2013

Transition Years

The Manaiakalani Schools are in their 4th year of a programme designed to ensure all Year 5 to 13 students in the area own their own digital device, enabling them to participate in a digital learning environment. 

2010/11 were pilot years, and 2013 embedded this approach.

Now the focus has moved to the younger years with emphasis on preparing our students in the transition year (in most schools Year 4) to feel at home in the digital world when they first get to purchase their own device.

The leaders of the junior classes have been meeting together and in Term 1 they brainstormed this list of actions they would like to experiment with as they implement "Learn Create Share":

  • Start individual blogging younger
  • Use desktops and tablets more efficiently and effectively
  • Have an older Buddy class
  • Have a Chromebook pod available for Year 4 classes
  • Training/support to the Year 4 teachers, including release to observe in Chromebook classes
  • Observe the impact on younger siblings skill level as Chromebooks go home - meaning more digital access at home now
  • Typing/ keyboarding preparation

We met again last week (June 2013) and many reported back that they had been successfully working through the bullet points above.

Two schools, Tamaki Primary and Pt England, reported back on the positive difference it was making having a pod of five Chromebooks allocated to their classes for their children to share. They also have shared desktop computers and iPads as well as the teacher laptop and a data projector.  The teachers had ensured the children were confident at logging into their Google Apps accounts prior to introducing the Chromebooks and had access to Teacher Dashboard so they could monitor student progress and activity.

Kirsty Macfarlane from Room 10 at Tamaki Primary School has been sharing posts like this and this. These students clearly are enjoying their opportunities.

I took the photos (slideshow below) in the two Year 4 classes at Pt England School as Keri Barks and Lisa Walters were teaching their students.  I loved the blended approach with some children totally digital while others were having quality micro-teaching experiences in a small group with their teachers.

For anyone interested in exploring this further:
One of our MITA Fellows, Joy Paton, has chosen to investigate 'From Zero to Hero - how to implement a digital learning environment with students who have no prior digital experience" as her inquiry for the Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Academy in 2013

A few snapshots from a quick walk through of Rooms 11 and 12 at Pt England School in June 2013.

These teachers each have a pod of 5 school-owned Chromebooks to supplement the Macs, iPads, teacher laptop and data projector. We are hoping to do an even better job of transitioning the Year 4 children in to Year 5 (2014) when they will own their own device and have a digital learning environment


  1. My name is Tonya Murphy and I am a student in EDM310, at the University of South Alabama. I think it is exciting that you are reaching out to the younger children and getting them comfortable with technology. I believe that the younger we teach children, the easier they absorb the information. I also like the fact that you are letting the older classes help out with the younger classes. I think buddy classes are a great idea.

  2. Hi Tonya. Thanks for stopping by. We are reflecting on this interesting time we live in where children in t nunheir preschool years become expert users of swipe technologies on their parents smart phone or tablet then arrive at school to be greeted with the paper and pencil technology of their grandparents past


  3. My name is Lauren Macon and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Strange has assigned us to visit educator's blogs and to leave comments. The leaders of the junior class have brainstormed a list of great ideas! Blogging is something I want to do in my future elementary classroom. Having the older students help out the younger students is a great idea. I think it is exciting that young children are able to interact and use technology at such a young age. Children having confidence in technology is AWESOME! My first time blogging was this summer in EDM310. I never knew there was so much technology that could be used in a classroom. I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading more!

  4. @Lauren Thanks for the feedback you have left on my recent posts. The students of EDM310 are so fortunate to have this experience - in fact it has inspired us to explore how we can introduce a similar programme in New Zealand and it is looking like we may be able to in January 2014.

    I noted your comment "I never knew there was so much technology that could be used in a classroom" and thought, "imagine if you had gone teaching and never come to this realisation!"

    All the best as you prepare to teach digital kids


  5. Hi My name is Luana Madden a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I wanted to comment on how wonderful I think it is that Pt. England has made it a point to make sure each child has their own device. Where I live a lot of the schools require that students bring their own device but there are some families who honestly cannot afford to buy any sort of electronic device to bring to school. Pt. England shows that it is possible for schools and school systems to go out of their way to provide for a child who may be less fortunate. I posted on one of your newer blogs, and if I'm not mistaken I think the new blog showed a progression of what's been taking place since you posted this one that I am commenting on. You guys are getting things done! I am very impressed with the steps Pt. England has taken to ensure ALL students have equality in their education opportunities!