Museums and schools intertwine to weave digital futures

Issue: Volume 97, Number 13

Posted: 25 July 2018
Reference #: 1H9ji2

Students in selected places across the country have the opportunity to receive hands-on, individualised learning experiences at one of four museums nationwide through the Raranga Matihiko|Weaving Digital Futures programme.

Wainuiomata Intermediate School students Benjamin Lesniak, Nate Gurdler - Hibbert and Neha Raj experiment with new software at Te Papa.

Museums across New Zealand are working with Years 1–10 students to support the new digital technologies curriculum content by motivating learners to use digital technologies through engagement with museum collections and storytelling.

The programme is targeted to deliver to students in decile 1–3 schools and all kura Māori in the Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, Auckland and Waitangi/Northland regions over a 10-week period. The programme includes museum visits and both physical and digital outreach to schools by museum educators, who are also qualified teachers.

Te Papa Raranga Matihiko l Weaving Digital Futures Project Director Tara Fagan says the programme plan for each class is developed and planned in collaboration with teachers from the schools and designed to support understanding of the new Digital Technologies l Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content.

“We work with the teachers on what their inquiry focuses are and link the learning with that, so our programme here is designed to complement or support what’s happening in the classroom,” she says.

Museum educators then facilitate learning by engaging students with museum collections and exhibitions relevant to the classroom programme.

Students are asked to create digital products, such as a stop-motion animation, video stream or 3D representation, to look at issues that matter to them personally, locally or nationally.

Following the onsite programme, museum educators visit the schools to continue the programme in the classroom with the teacher.

“We take the technology so they can continue their work. It’s all web-based so they can carry on where they’ve left off or extend what they’re doing,” Tara says.

“It’s really important that we have web-based tools that are open-sourced and, where possible, we don’t have apps or web-based programs that cost because we want the students to not be restricted.”

The programme is available to one class from each eligible school. The aim is for students who participate in the programme to become digital technology ambassadors to the rest of their school and share the knowledge. Teachers of participating classes should also become ambassadors by sharing their understanding of how the new digital technologies content can be applied to existing practice.

“At the end of the day we want to be able to support students’ knowledge and learning so that they’re not only digitally capable in terms of using the tools, but they can create and produce information; that they’re not just consumers, they’re able to select from a range of tools and use those tools to help inform their learning and knowledge.”

Wainuiomata Intermediate School at Te Papa

Wainuiomata Intermediate School Teacher Shanti Narayan’s Years 7 and 8 class is studying personal, local, national and global identity as its focus for the year. Her class has just begun its Raranga Matihiko|Weaving Digital Futures programme at Te Papa.

“They were very excited when they found out that the huia egg that’s preserved here is actually from Wainuiomata, so that was a big link for them,” she says.

“It fits in really well with what we’re doing in the classroom. Because the class is very much into inquiry learning and they write their own questions, they want to find out what they are interested in and how they can use the technology to present their findings.”

Shanti worked with Te Papa educators before the programme commenced to create a learning plan which would be relevant to her students.

“I said ‘well, the kids are good with using some basic technology back in class, we all have Chromebooks. They’re pretty awesome, they have quite a good skill background, so anything new would be quite good for them’ and they suggested a few things which they are using at the moment.”

Shanti is also looking at ways to facilitate learning with her students so they can use their new-found digital knowledge across the rest of the curriculum as well. The knowledge and skills gained in the new curriculum content is future-focused on what students need to thrive in this fast-paced digital world.

“It is important because we are moving into a new way of learning. Digital technology is becoming one of the important areas of learning and I don’t want my students to be behind.”

Ohaeawai School at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Ohaeawai School Deputy Principal Alicia Craig’s Years 5 and 6 class participated in the programme at Waitangi Treaty Grounds last term. The class was looking at the Battle of Ohaeawai in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi.

After learning more about the historic event and the digital technology available at the museum, students were asked to use technology to share their learning.

“After they explored that, they had to think about what digital technology would be best to tell their story and what they wanted to create,” Alicia says.

One group created the pā site where the battle occurred using 3D modelling software, before creating the site in virtual reality.

Another group used the coding skills they had learned to recreate the battle using two robots – one held a sword to represent British forces, while the other held a patu (traditional Māori club) to represent local Māori. Students then narrated the scene in both English and Māori.

“It’s all a bit mindblowing really,” says Alicia.

“Our pedagogy at school is ‘learn, create, share’ so the learning was done through the museum and the facilitators, the creating was done through the different types of technologies that were provided for them and the resources that they had available, and now they’ve all got individual blogs so they can share what they’ve learnt with the world.”

The Raranga Matihiko|Weaving Digital Futures offers relevant digital technologies curriculum content learning to those with limited learning opportunities in this area, as part of the Ministry of Education Digital Technologies for All Equity Fund.

The Equity Fund is available to 12,500 students across New Zealand each year until the end of 2020, and is a component of a $38M investment package supporting the introduction of the Digital Technologies l Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content into all schools and kura. For more information about the Equity Fund, and the other programme being provided, see link)

What students are saying…

As part of its inquiry learning, a class from Wainuiomata Intermediate School was asked to digitally create waka during their visit to Te Papa to explore personal and local identity.

Logan Woods, Year 8

“We were learning about basic shapes and how we could use them to create different objects that could be useful. So here we’re making a boat; we found that batteries can be buoyant so we’re using batteries to help keep the boat up, while supplying power for us. It’s a lot more interactive and hands on than learning at school.”

Jaden Polak, Year 7

“We were using these wedges [for stairs], but I couldn’t keep duplicating them. I realised we could use blocks for jumps and then Logan pointed out that it is a good way of exercise because you’re on a boat and there's no way you can get exercise. The wedges were on an angle and the angle was a bit too hard to get up and the blocks are flat so you can walk.”

Lily Morgan, Year 8

“My waka has a little house there so when it’s raining or something you could stay in there. I came up with it because I was out there [in the museum] and I looked at all of the real ones and I saw they all had shelter in them. At school we’re always on Chromebooks, but we don’t really use these programmes.”

Ricqui-Lee Jensen, Year 7

“Sometimes it gets confusing because you’re trying to group things [on the TinkerCAD system] and the whole thing groups and then you go to move it and the whole thing just moves and you don’t really want it to. I just learnt that when everything is grouped everything goes the same colour.”

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:05 pm, 25 July 2018

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