North Shore Times : January 29th 2013
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The Tamaki hub s teaching methods and state of the art equip- ment deal with that lack and lead the kids down the first path towards a 21st century education. Pat Snedden, chair- man of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, explains the aims and the successes. Nine Tamaki schools -- 11 by next year -- are part of a project harness- ing the best of the digital age to improve edu- cational standards in their largely Maori and Pasifika area. Overcom- ing that two-year lag from impromptu home learning is a first target. The group s promotional material talks about ensuring the tools of digital citizenship are available to our students to achieve the best out- comes for them . In partnership with the Manaiakalani cluster of schools and the parents of the Tamaki community, more than 2000 students in years 5 to 13 now have their own netbook (small laptop) to work on. To balance some of those prejudices about neglectful, uncaring parents, what about this? In an area where average adult income a year is only around $19,000 a year, Tamaki parents have committed themselves to pay $3.50 a week towards paying for the netbooks, their upkeep and safety. More than that, around 300 parents are being taught to use the netbook at home and how to support their chil- dren s new drive for learning. The trust is justifiably proud of its parents -- and for good reason. Those weekly new book payments are part of parents paying a third of the trust s bills. The Government and what Mr Snedden refers to as philanthropy from individuals and commer- cial institutions balance the books. The shared cost: $4.5 million over four years so far with parents as the single highest contribu- tor.It s all a matter of huge satisfaction for all involved -- like success- fully swimming against the current. The outcome: Student involvement has imp- roved dramatically, read- ing, writing, numeracy and oral expression have improved steadily in line with programme expec- tations. More than that, the hub group is now work- ing on a sustainable wireless network with Pt England School as its hub. Mr Snedden sums up the future: This afford- able wireless internet which parents will help subsidise, will serve the entire Tamaki area -- the first project of its kind in New Zealand. By the end of the first term all Manaiakalani cluster students with netbooks will have exclusive access to it. This is a noteworthy achievement, not only in a low-decile Maori and Pasifika community like ours but for any com- munity around New Zea- land. We aim to create a blueprint for community engagement in student learning and digital citi- zenship as a means of furthering educational achievement. Learning systems pioneered in the Tamaki community will spread to other low decile New Zealand schools in a sig- nificant project which could potentially affect more than 100,000 in the next three years. And the next step for Tamaki s future digitally skilled graduates? Mr Snedden points to Tamaki College where progressive principal Soana Pamaka heads the school which she led to become New Zealand s first fully digital state school. Mr Snedden and the cluster s ambition: That Manaiakalani continues to be at the forefront of innovative eLearning solutions in this country ... and around the world. This means more of our children have the chance of the education they deserve -- but too often miss -- to succeed in this brave new digital world. It s a winner and deserves an A-plus mark.
January 25th 2013
January 31st 2013