Northland school gains Google acclaim 

Issue: Volume 99, Number 1

Posted: 31 January 2020
Reference #: 1HA4xk

Whangārei Intermediate School has earned a coveted place among the world’s most proficient digitally immersed schools.

The Northland school is one of three New Zealand schools to be selected as a Reference School by Google for Education. Reference Schools are recognised by Google for their outstanding use of technology to drive positive learning outcomes. Whangārei Intermediate’s areas of expertise include 1:1 device deployments, Chromebooks, professional development and technology being integrated into the curriculum.  

Acting principal Paul Botica says qualified, digitally fluent teachers deliver computer-based instruction across 20 of their 23 classrooms. This year the school will be 100% digital.  

“Every student has access to a Chromebook, which gives each learner access to 24/7 learning and the ability to learn at their own pace,” he says.

Digital immersion in Northland 

Whangārei Intermediate is the lead school in Taitokerau Education Trust’s digital immersion cluster.  

The trust gives students in Northland schools equal access to online learning through the provision of affordable Chromebooks, while teachers receive professional development support through a specialist digital immersion facilitator, Beth Lamb. 

Chromebooks in classrooms, full use of G Suite for Education and teachers with YouTube channels are par for the course at Whangārei Intermediate. Chromebooks are also used in specialist subjects such as Xplo-tech, art, music, dance, coding and robotics. The library has a digital selection where students can issue themselves e-books. 

The Taitokerau Education Trust’s Digital Immersion Programme aims to raise student achievement levels through access to affordable Chromebooks and professional development support for teachers, says the Trust’s executive officer Liz Cassidy-Nelson. 

“The accolade for the school is testament to the enthusiasm for learning shared by students and teachers alike. The leadership team, teachers, support staff, and superstar students, together are producing some amazing and innovative learning outcomes,” she says.  

The other New Zealand schools to be recognised by Google for Education are Auckland’s Aorere College and Whakatane High School.

Citizen science for all

This year, Helen Moore plans to lead Hikurangi School in a schoolwide citizen science project doing bird counts for the E.bird(external link) platform. 

“Our Years 1–3 aren’t digital, so I was looking for a project where they can gather the data, rather than analyse it. The older students will put the data onto the E.bird website which gives you information like your stats and they will be into doing the graphs and drawing conclusions,” Helen explains.

E.bird sits on the Science Learning Hub site, which offers many different projects that students can contribute to by gathering data or helping scientists with analysis.

More resources 

Science Learning Hub – citizen science(external link)

Science Learning Hub – marine metre squared(external link)

Science Learning Hub – penguin watch zooniverse(external link)

Science Learning Hub – loss of the night(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:43 pm, 31 January 2020

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts