Bringing the curriculum to life

Issue: Volume 100, Number 1

Posted: 4 February 2021
Reference #: 1HAG_C

Education Gazette explores the importance of putting learner identity and curriculum integration at the heart of digital technologies learning

Mahinarangi is making a clapmotion movie of a toy cow crossing a road. The Year 5 student giggles as she watches her movie playback, seeing the cow roll over halfway before returning to her feet and continuing her path.

Beside her, Reihana and BJ, both Year 8, are working on a scratch project, while Precious (Year 8), Ryah (Year 6) and Galaxie (Year 7) are performing a Renegade TikTok on a beach in Hawaii, with the help of an iPad and a green screen.

Meanwhile, Ronnie and Potatau (Year 6) are concentrating on creating a course for Dashbots.

The students are from a Māori immersion class at Pukeatua School (Lower Hutt) and are the last class for 2020 to visit Te Papa’s Learning Lab Hīnātore to participate in Raranga Matihiko. The programme is delivered as part of the Ministry of Education’s Digital Technologies for All Equity Fund, which supports the introduction of new digital technologies learning for all schools and kura across Aotearoa.

“My favourite activities are the clapmotion and the green screen,” says Ronnie. “I like creating things. It’s cool making your own stuff for people to use.”

Next up, the students don virtual reality googles to enter a virtual wharenui where they see the panels that they made the day before. Exclamations of “Cool!” and “Awesome!” pepper the room as they see their creations come to virtual life.

Tailored to class needs

Being a creator of digital technology, not just a user, is a core part of the technology learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum. As well as gaining an understanding of computer science concepts, students learn how to design quality digital solutions. Under Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, ākonga use te reo Māori to express problems and formulate solutions, and design and develop digital outcomes.

To bring digital technologies and hangarau matihiko curriculum content to life, each Raranga Matihiko programme is tailored to the needs of that class. The facilitators co-design the programme with the teacher, looking at what the class’s inquiry topic is and how they can weave in the technology learning area.

“Curriculum integration and local curriculum are key parts of what we do,” explains Tara Fagan, who heads up Raranga Matihiko.

“One of the things we really wanted to do when we set out to do this programme was highlight how digital tech shouldn’t be taught in isolation.”

Language, culture and identity

The programme is also about reflecting children’s language, culture and identity in their learning, says facilitator Sam Hēnare.

He shares an experience that highlights the importance of this. A recent programme participant was showing no interest in any of the activities. In an effort to engage her, Sam asked her about her whānau and where she was from.

It transpired that her mum had died when she was younger and she didn’t know her dad. All she knew was that she was from Taranaki. So Sam took the student, along with one of her friends and a kaiako, to Rongomaraeroa, the museum’s marae for every iwi, not just iwi Māori but also iwi Pākehā and tauiwi.

“We took her to the pou whakairo relating to Taranaki. I said to her, ‘I don’t know if they are your tūpuna or not but these are people who were from Taranaki – you will have some relationship in your history to these people, somewhere’. You could just see the tears in her eyes. It was amazing.

“We don’t normally like people taking photos of whakairo but I said, ‘This is a relative of yours, so we’ll take a photo of it and bring it back to the class and we’ll see what we can do with it’.”

The photo formed the basis of the next activity involving digital technology tools.

“It’s important to have our tamariki, especially our tamariki Māori, find reconnections – that’s some of the most important work that we do. The digital technology can be a tool to help assist that. Ideally, we want her to forge a better connection to her iwi, but if the museum and this learning can be the conduit for that, then it has potential to change her outlook on life, her outlook for learning,” explains Sam.

Kaiako Joseph Moeke, or Pāpā Jo as the tamariki at Pukeatua School call him, says it is important for the students to incorporate digital technologies across all aspects of their learning in a way that reflects who they are.

“These are our future doctors, lawyers, prime ministers. To approach their learning from a Māori perspective allows them to be true to their identity,” he says.  

Read more about Raranga Matihiko in Issue 11, 2020:
Weaving digital futures(external link)

A special centenary cover

The dual covers of this special issue of Education Gazette provide a small example of the way new and emerging digital technologies can be used as learning tools to explore other parts of the curriculum.

By using the augmented reality (AR) features, teachers and students can get a glimpse into the last 100 years of New Zealand education, using it as a springboard to further explore our history.

The AR experience also provides teachers and students with an opportunity to think about the future of education as technologist Dr Michelle Dickinson – aka Nanogirl – offers her thoughts on the role of digital technology in children’s learning. 

To see the full interview with Michelle, click here(external link).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:15 pm, 4 February 2021

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