Schools given $310k for tech projects
❛ The main thing is we want
the kids to be creative, innovative and able to use those next skills employers
will be looking for Kaikorai Primary principal Simon Clarke
PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
SCHOOL pupils in Dunedin’s hill suburbs will be equipped for the changing world, thanks to funding from the Otago Community Trust.
The ‘‘Hills Cluster’’ of schools — Balmacewen Intermediate, Halfway Bush School, Kaikorai Primary School, Maori Hill School and Wakari School — are the first beneficiaries of the Otago Community Trust’s Innovation Fund. Between them the schools will split $310,000 on a range of projects with a technology focus.
Kaikorai Primary School principal Simon Clarke said the funding would buy items such as 3D printers, virtual reality goggles, robots, electronics, and smaller items children could make things with, such as LEDs and electric motors.
‘‘We want to increase the capabilities of our staff to teach the sort of skills kids are going to need in the future.
‘‘Some of it is quite technologybased; some of it is cardboard, scissors and Sellotape. The main thing is we want the kids to be creative, innovative and able to use those next skills employers will be looking for.
‘‘When we are teaching science, we might do some coding. When we are teaching social studies, we might use the virtual reality goggles and the kids can actually be in Paris or the Amazonian rain forest.
‘‘The things that the kids will make will help them in other areas — it’s not being taught in isolation.’’
As well as equipment, the funding would also support professional development, so the 85 teachers at the schools could then teach the pupils.
The funding would affect every level of the schools, from new entrants to 12yearolds, Mr Clarke said.
Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said this was the first grant from the OCT’s Innovation Fund, a threeyear programme to assist new education programmes. Applications from other schools would be welcomed, she said.
‘‘The criteria for the innovation fund is just that: that it’s innovative. We liked the fact that children were at the centre of this project, that it was all about their learning and achievement, and that so many schools were involved with this project.’’
The trust also has a dollarfordollar technology education fund. So far it had provided $175,508.50 to 22 Otago schools, and she expected more applications for funding as schools set budgets for next year, Ms Bridger said.
Yahoo . . . Celebrating their schools having secured $310,000 from the Otago Community Trust to buy new technology are (from left) Zoe Cheshire (12), of Balmacewen Intermediate, Estee Farrow (10), of Maori Hill School, Leo Cornelius (7), of Kaikorai Primary, Jake Hill (10), of Wakari School and Gilbert Te Moananui (10), of Halfway Bush School.