Million-dollar grant backs The Mind Lab

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) agrees to invest more than $360,000 a year in various programmes.

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) agrees to invest more than $360,000 a year in various programmes.

MIND MELDING: Teachers workshopping agile leadership techniques at the Mind Lab Gisborne, from left, are Brucenna Gilvray-Nohotima of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga, Jo Haughey of Thinkwrite, Harriet Williams-Fonohema of Riverdale School and Ed Simperingham of Campion College. Pictures by STRIKE
GEARING UP FOR THE FUTURE: Makauri School pupils Jodiesha Kirkpatrick and Chloe Kapene making the most of their time at the Mind Lab Gisborne.

THE region’s teachers will advance their reputation as being among the nation’s most digitally literate, thanks to a new million-dollar funding commitment to The Mind Lab Gisborne.

Since it opened here three years ago, more than 170 teachers have started post-graduate qualifications from the The Mind Lab by Unitec’s digital learning facility in Gisborne.

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) chief executive Gavin Murphy says the trust has agreed to help fund the service, which has also “immersed” the district’s primary and intermediate school students “in an innovative world of learning”, for another three years.

“It’s an agreement that will see our local community trust invest more than $360,000 per annum in a range of programmes that enhance the digital capability of our teachers and young learners,” said Mr Murphy.

The Mind Lab by Unitec is a public-private partnership between New Zealand’s biggest polytechnic and a specialist education lab dedicated to improving digital capability and collaborative teaching methods in the classroom.

When the Gisborne facility opened in March 2015 it was the first place outside Auckland to offer the programmes, which include state-of-the-art digital teaching programmes for children.

Mr Murphy said over the past three years, the facility had “delivered” for the region.

“Nearly every primary and intermediate school student in the region has spent time in the Gisborne lab learning how to use technology to build concepts, create content, tell stories, collaborate and build their digital fluency and technical skills.

“Every day, our youth are immersed in an innovative world of learning that inspires them to pick up new skills, broaden their understanding of essential technologies and how they can extend their learning from school to all parts of their lives.

Post-graduate studies

“Moreover, 175 teachers and school leaders have commenced their post-graduate studies, improving their understanding of contemporary teaching practices, and their comprehension and application of digital and collaborative learning.”

Mr Murphy said 23 percent of those teachers and principals had completed The Mind Lab programme, meaning Gisborne was one of the most highly skilled regions in New Zealand in terms of teacher qualification levels and contemporary education knowledge.

However, the outstanding participation rate came at a cost, with ECT tripling its previous funding to fill a projected shortfall in income.

“Because the region’s teachers have already flocked to The Mind Lab, the organisation is budgeting for a reduction in its professional development income stream. Trustees were comfortable with stepping into that void,” said Mr Murphy.

“It enables remaining teachers to access the full professional development programme and, importantly, enables our children continued affordable access to the benefits of the Mind Lab programme.”

Mr Murphy says ECT is “looking forward” to working further with The Mind Lab, and seeing how the programme flexes and grows to continue to challenge and inspire our young learners.

The Gisborne facility provides a range of digital-based education services including a NZQA-accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning), children’s robotics and coding workshops, and professional development sessions designed to expose teachers to new technologies.

Gisborne Girls’ High School Deputy Principal Bindy Hannah said the Mind Lab had become critical to the success of the region’s young learners.

“The Mind Lab has provided a platform for the development of collaboration through the use of a wide range of digital technology, enhancing transformational 21st century teaching and leadership practice.”

THE region’s teachers will advance their reputation as being among the nation’s most digitally literate, thanks to a new million-dollar funding commitment to The Mind Lab Gisborne.

Since it opened here three years ago, more than 170 teachers have started post-graduate qualifications from the The Mind Lab by Unitec’s digital learning facility in Gisborne.

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) chief executive Gavin Murphy says the trust has agreed to help fund the service, which has also “immersed” the district’s primary and intermediate school students “in an innovative world of learning”, for another three years.

“It’s an agreement that will see our local community trust invest more than $360,000 per annum in a range of programmes that enhance the digital capability of our teachers and young learners,” said Mr Murphy.

The Mind Lab by Unitec is a public-private partnership between New Zealand’s biggest polytechnic and a specialist education lab dedicated to improving digital capability and collaborative teaching methods in the classroom.

When the Gisborne facility opened in March 2015 it was the first place outside Auckland to offer the programmes, which include state-of-the-art digital teaching programmes for children.

Mr Murphy said over the past three years, the facility had “delivered” for the region.

“Nearly every primary and intermediate school student in the region has spent time in the Gisborne lab learning how to use technology to build concepts, create content, tell stories, collaborate and build their digital fluency and technical skills.

“Every day, our youth are immersed in an innovative world of learning that inspires them to pick up new skills, broaden their understanding of essential technologies and how they can extend their learning from school to all parts of their lives.

Post-graduate studies

“Moreover, 175 teachers and school leaders have commenced their post-graduate studies, improving their understanding of contemporary teaching practices, and their comprehension and application of digital and collaborative learning.”

Mr Murphy said 23 percent of those teachers and principals had completed The Mind Lab programme, meaning Gisborne was one of the most highly skilled regions in New Zealand in terms of teacher qualification levels and contemporary education knowledge.

However, the outstanding participation rate came at a cost, with ECT tripling its previous funding to fill a projected shortfall in income.

“Because the region’s teachers have already flocked to The Mind Lab, the organisation is budgeting for a reduction in its professional development income stream. Trustees were comfortable with stepping into that void,” said Mr Murphy.

“It enables remaining teachers to access the full professional development programme and, importantly, enables our children continued affordable access to the benefits of the Mind Lab programme.”

Mr Murphy says ECT is “looking forward” to working further with The Mind Lab, and seeing how the programme flexes and grows to continue to challenge and inspire our young learners.

The Gisborne facility provides a range of digital-based education services including a NZQA-accredited Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning), children’s robotics and coding workshops, and professional development sessions designed to expose teachers to new technologies.

Gisborne Girls’ High School Deputy Principal Bindy Hannah said the Mind Lab had become critical to the success of the region’s young learners.

“The Mind Lab has provided a platform for the development of collaboration through the use of a wide range of digital technology, enhancing transformational 21st century teaching and leadership practice.”

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winston moreton - 17 days ago
As I recall it, The Mind Lab came about, at least in part, out of the huge national competition orchestrated by Chorus to win ultra fast broadband for our district a few years ago. Because we punched above our weight, Unitec Auckland?s Mind Lab was induced to introduce its programme to Gisborne as the first provincial adjunct to its operations.
Our ?Plan for Gig Success? back then was designed to raise the prosperity of the district. ?High deprivation indicators currently label us the poor cousin in the Gigatown final. Gisborne has the lowest internet access in the country, high unemployment and crime, as well as disheartening health and education statistics.?
Were those words from our new ECT CEO who is now justifying a $360,000 annual spend on enhancing ?the digital capability of our teachers and young learners??
Well, my next question is how much has local prosperity risen as a result of this ECT-funded effort?
High deprivation indicators still have us at the bottom of the heap. There may be, as the CEO says, ?175 teachers and ?school leaders? who have improved their understanding of contemporary teaching practices?, but ECT trust money belongs by law to the trust?s funders and beneficiaries, local electricity consumers and residents. They have contributed, without benefit, to the ECT accounts since 1993.
Education, digital or otherwise, is something we pay for through our taxes. So, let us get out of The Mind Lab feel-good-games and into the real world where we have local poverty issues to address. Issues which are exacerbated by relentless overcharging for electricity.

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