30 Oct 2013
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Auckland schools get tech boost

By Rebecca Wood

Two of New Zealand’s most tech-savvy schools, both in Auckland, have been awarded classroom sets of Microsoft Surface RTs as recognition of their leadership in digital learning.

Botany Downs Secondary College and Ferguson Intermediate School in Otara will each receive 25 of the tablets from Microsoft New Zealand to accelerate innovative teaching practices. Both schools are Microsoft Partner in Learning schools, meaning Microsoft has partnered with them to up skill teachers and increase the use of technology as a learning tool.

The schools have become so skilled at using technology in the classroom that international delegations of teachers have visited to learn from them and, last month, both became two of only 34 schools in the world to be a World Tour School, an honour that recognises them as global leaders in education innovation.

Mike Leach, principal of Botany Downs Secondary School, says most tablets are designed for people to passively consume information, like watching videos and reading current events. In contrast schools need devices that allow students to learn by creating things independently, as well as working together.

“We’ve got lots planned for our Surface RTs. Every one of our students will benefit from using programmes like PowerPoint and Word on a portable tablet and it allows us to actively engage them in an enjoyable way.”

Jenny Leach, principal of Ferguson Intermediate School, agrees that these tablets will help excite her students about learning. She sees implementing up to date technology as a way of addressing digital inclusion and supporting the school’s broader community.

“The best way we can prepare our students for success in our digital world is by giving them hands on experience with up to date technology. For most of them, their jobs will incorporate technology and it’s important that they know how to use it and how to collaborate with other people via technology.”

Evan Blackman, Microsoft education sector manager, says bringing technology into the classroom isn’t a nice to have anymore, it’s fundamental to learning.

“This gift is tied into a much broader commitment Microsoft New Zealand has made to the education sector and these two specific schools. We’re working with teachers around the country to show them how to use technology in the classroom to make learning better. This means actively engaging students, giving them access to experts and getting them to collaborate with each other.”

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