15 Sep 2015
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Postgrad digital learning course offered to tertiary educators

By Shannon Williams

Auckland tertiary educators will now be able to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), offered via the digital and creative education lab, The Mind Lab by Unitec.

Commencing in November 2015, the qualification was previously available to primary and secondary teachers, but will now be offered in a dedicated tertiary education intake for New Zealand tertiary educators at universities, polytechnics (ITP) or Private Training Establishments (PTE).

Frances Valintine, founder and chair of The Mind Lab by Unitec, says the extension of the programme will allow tertiary educators from Auckland-based learning institutions to upskill their digital technology skills and knowledge of contemporary teaching practice.

“We live in a dynamic global environment where education delivery advances are greatly enhancing the way knowledge is shared and delivered,” says Valintine. “Armed with deep understanding of digital technologies, collaborative practices and new teaching methodologies, educators can rapidly enhance student engagement and raise student achievement.

“The Mind Lab by Unitec has been working hard to upskill New Zealand teachers at a primary and secondary level with 1000 teachers already gaining deeper understanding of modern education through this postgraduate programme,” Valintine says.

“Making this qualification available to tertiary educators is in recognition of the critical role that digital and collaborative learning plays at all levels, across all industries and in all workplaces.”

The postgraduate certificate is a part time 32-week programme and Valintine says is redefining professional development for teachers through the offering of a hands-on, progressive and blended qualification.

“To help build educator confidence and to enhance their engagement with students who are increasingly technical we need to provide professional development based upon hands-on active learning in digital and collaborative teaching practices,” Valintine says.

“Ultimately, the active re-invigoration of skills, the adoption of new practices, the integration of people who think differently and the implementation and development of new capability that benefits our students will determine our success as a country.”

Unitec chief executive, Rick Ede, says the new offering is a fantastic development for tertiary educators who work across a relentlessly evolving education landscape.

“The tertiary education sector is rapidly evolving as technology changes the way our students learn and access information,” says Ede.

“In the same way that our workplaces must keep pace with the world around them in order to succeed and grow, so must our tertiary educators, and this new course offers a great way to meet that need,” he says.

The Mind Lab by Unitec is a collaboration between New Zealand’s largest ITP, Unitec Institute of Technology and The Mind Lab, a specialist learning lab dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of modern technology amongst students, teachers and now tertiary educators.

Since the partnership with Unitec was formed in 2014, the education lab has provided professional development for teachers as well as teaching school students from year 1–13 who attend education workshops in one of The Mind Lab’s four New Zealand locations in Auckland, Gisborne, Wellington and Christchurch.

Over the next five years additional new sites are planned with the ultimate goal of teaching 10,000 teachers and over 180,000 school students.

Last year The Mind Lab by Unitec won Best Engagement of Youth in ICT at the New Zealand CIO Awards, the NZ Innovators Award for Excellence in Social Innovation, was named in the Idealog Top 10 Most Innovative Businesses and selected as the ‘Best New Business’ by Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak, and was this year a finalist in the Most Innovative Initiative category at the Hi-Tech Awards.

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