Richmond View: engaging students in their digital futures

Issue: Volume 95, Number 15

Posted: 22 August 2016
Reference #: 1H9d3p

Learning about digital technologies now and in the future is as important as it was to learn trade languages during the early modern period, according to a Blenheim principal.

Dave Pauling, the principal of Richmond View School, says digital technologies skills are essential for today’s young people.

“We need digital technologies and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) because they’re helping us transform young people into future citizens,” he says.

“They will explore this digital world without us anyway,” he says. “But if we want them to stay engaged in education and keep their learning relevant then we need to bring technology into the classroom and into the curriculum.”

From online learning tools and a 3D printer to video creations, coding and even a radio station – Richmond View School is making the most of modern tools to support and guide the development of digital skills.

Dave, who has been principal at Richmond for the past four years, says the school uses the 21st Century Digital Fluency model to ensure students are successful in the digital world.

However, Dave says students do not learn about digital technologies and ICT ‘just for the sake of it’.

“ICT tools and digital technologies are most definitely tools for solving problems,” he says. “At Richmond we don’t just use them for the sake of it. They’re used to solve problems and help with learning.”

Students at Richmond all have access to their own portable digital devices and they use them throughout their learning week. Dave says they are not big expensive devices; they are reasonably cheap and are capable of doing almost everything they are needed for in the classroom.

Interactive whiteboards, LCD televisions and other collaborative digital tools are available for teachers and students to use in classrooms throughout Richmond View School.

“It means you have got options when teaching and learning,” he says.

Online learning tools are popular at Richmond, these include Scratch (coding), Blender (3D modelling) and Final Cut Studio (video editor). One of the more novel tools is a website called Bouncy Balls, which allows users to monitor noise levels in a room. Dave says it comes in useful in the classroom.

One of Richmond View School’s newest digital tools is a 3D printer. Dave says he has been working with a group of students to create a 3D model of the school. Richmond View is an Enviroschool so the model will be used to identify new locations for gardens, solar panels, worm farms and more.

A coding whizz at Richmond has spent the past few months creating and coding his own video game. As a reward for helping to pass on his love of coding to other students, through a club at lunchtimes, Dave says the student has been allowed to print out some of his video game characters on the 3D printer.

Richmond View School is using a number of online teaching resources to support teachers’ work in and out of the classroom.

“It’s all about removing barriers for teachers and making it easy for them,” says Dave.

One of the tools that Dave says saves on administration time is Weebly, which Richmond View School uses to host its website. Staff, students, parents and Board of Trustees members have different logins, which give them different permissions and functionality such as teacher inquiry blogging.

Another tool is iUgo, a planning and teaching resource that allows users to work together to boost student achievement.

The Hapara Dashboard gives teachers at Richmond View School easy access and visibility of student work across Google platforms, including Google Drive and Gmail.

“We can see all of the student’s writing documents in one place at one time and set any sharing settings for the class,” Dave says. “It is quite a powerful tool for teachers.”

One of the most innovative ways that Richmond View School has been engaging students in digital technology has been with the Zest programme. Run by students for students, Zest has become popular at the school.

“When they see that logo they know it means fun,” Dave says.

Started five years ago, Zest is all about boosting the voices of students at Richmond View School. Bloggers share school news using Zest Media, there is a Zest radio station, students create Zest videos and run Zest assemblies.

Students work together on Google Docs to organise Zest and they use a range of digital technologies to bring their ideas to life.

Digital Technologies In The Curriculum Update

In July 2016, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced that digital technologies/hangarau matihiko will be recognised and strengthened in The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa from 2018.

Design and development work has already started, and the Ministry of Education will be working with curriculum designers, teachers, education leaders and industry to ensure that not only is the curriculum content world leading, but also captures the learning progressions students need to make to demonstrate knowledge building and progress.

Resourcing and support for teachers and leaders to deliver the new digital technologies/hangarau matihiko content is a key component of the announcement. We’ll be working with teachers and leaders between now and 2017 to develop support packages across the sector.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 6:46 pm, 22 August 2016

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