Schools given $310k for tech projects

Otago Daily Times - - Dunedin - MIKE HOULAHAN

❛ 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.

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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.

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