Teaching Tech

Passionate Gisborne teacher selected to be a Google Innovator.

Passionate Gisborne teacher selected to be a Google Innovator.

Amie Williams works with students at Riverdale School in her role as a Manaiakalani facilitator. She is pictured here helping Cruze Walker with an avatar he has just designed using a graphics package. Classmates Regan Beach (left) and Elizabeth Halaleva work on their chrome books. Picture by Liam Clayton

Amie Williams is passionate about technology in education and has become a Manaiakalani facilitator this year. She was also selected to be a Google Innovator and joined an elite community of 36 educators in Sydney in May. She talks to Kim Parkinson about her work for the Manaiakalani Education Trust and her hopes for the future of education . . .

Amie Williams was born and raised in the Waioeka Gorge on the family farm and went to Wairata School before boarding at the Rectory at Gisborne Girls’ High School. After qualifying as a teacher in 2006, she taught at Matawai School from 2006 to 2012. Her three children Elle (20), Dylan (17) and Seth (14) went to the school.

“When my daughter started at Gisborne Girls’ we moved to Ormond and I still drove back to Matawai every day.
“I realised I was spending a lot of money on petrol not to mention the time it took travelling to and from school everyday so I later got a job at Gisborne Intermediate,” she says.

I worked with Herman Fourie who was instrumental in getting chrome books into the school.
He and I worked together to provide technical and professional learning support to the teachers. We had 200 chromebooks which were spread among the classes.

This year she became a Manaiakalani facilitator and is enjoying the new role working with 11 teachers in six Gisborne schools.

“One of the first things we teach is a “cybersmart” curriculum which includes device care; navigating the internet and we use a learn, create, share pedagogy where the students learn a new skill, use it to create a digital learning object and then share it through the use of a blog. This puts the learner in the driver’s seat and they are well-supported.

“As a Manaiakalani facilitator, I model how to use the tools in the classroom so the teachers can use digital technology in purposeful ways without throwing away the good, sound teaching practice we know our effective teachers already have.
“Manaiakalani has 22,000 students across New Zealand and nearly 2000 in Gisborne.
“I get to teach what I’m passionate about to both learners and teachers and I’ve always been passionate about coaching, so this is an aspect of the role I love too.

“I feel so blessed to be able to get around to all the many classrooms I work in and get to know the kids and our schools.
“I’ve seen the benefit in the purposeful use of technology in education for many years and have worked in varying roles that have allowed me to test my skills.

“Manaiakalani is the best vehicle for this because it is so grounded in research.
“I really loved working with my hub mates at Gisborne Intermediate, so it was a big pull to leave, but I felt this was something that was actually going to allow me a way to make a difference.

“Education needs to change. Our career world has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. Our kids need to come out prepared for that.
“The new digital curriculum due to be in place in 2020 is also a great driver, encouraging parents and teachers to see the need for changes as well.”

Amie recently returned from the Google Innovator programme in Sydney after being selected to take part along with Wainui Beach School deputy principal Rachel Duckworth.

“It was a wonderful experience to be with like-minded people who are empowered to disrupt education and try to get the best for our kids.
“I stayed on for a fourth day for the Google Energiser which is a day they run where they welcome back all their previous innovators.
“We went through a Google Road Map where they share the new tools which are going to be coming up.”

She and the other participants were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements so what they saw remained top secret.
“It is really exciting as an educator to be able to foresee the new tools and also to give feedback on them.
“The design team met with us and it was great as they were scribbling down notes based on our feedback.
“When you are in the classroom you know how you want to use these tools and the designers don’t always know that.
“The idea with Google Innovator was that each person selected to attend would take along an educational challenge.

“My idea is based around coming up with digital resources which can be used in collaboration with organisations such as Tonui Collab (The MindLab), Turanga Heritage Trails and Waka Hourua for example.
“Now it’s time to put my innovation academy plan into action. This week we meet all the other Innovators online for a mentor match party, where we celebrate who our mentors for the next year will be.

“I’ll meet monthly with my mine who will support me in moving forward on my innovation.”

Yoga and nature also a big part of Amie's life

Outside of teaching Amie is a dedicated yoga practitioner who loves getting out in nature.
“I love walking on the beach or in our many parks and when I can get there, to my parents’ farm in the Waioeka Gorge. My husband and I love to go tramping into some of the remote places off the back of the farm with just the dogs and our two-man hammock tent.

“It’s so great to just get back to basics. I guess growing up on the farm was where my love of real-life learning came from and part of why I’m so passionate about getting kids really making complete use of our wonderful local resources and community resource programmes.
“I grew up with Dad teaching us how to make our campfires safely and my brother was quite an engineer, even rigging up our own flying fox out of a clothesline pulley and a rope.

“We learned so much from just being out in the natural world, assessing risks and growing from our experiences.
“I used to take my classes back up there and get them to undertake a week of Survival Challenges such as making their own bivvy and lighting campfires from the best gathered-materials they could find.”

Amie also loves to write.

“I’m working on a couple of books and a blog. I am also working on a Google Site for the beekeeping business my son and mum and I are creating and also one for the hemp company my husband and I are just starting out with.”

Google Innovators are innovators for life and can apply to go back to Google as coaches and mentors in later years.

The company is running its first Google Certified Innovator in Japan in 2020 and she would like to attend.
“That would be an amazing opportunity to be part of at some point, but I’d really have to upskill to do something like that as my language skills are a bit rusty after just teaching the very basics for the past few years.

“My dream for the future is that together as a region we’ll find a local model of education which is grounded in the collaboration of all our schools and communities.

“That we’ll have learners who are engaged in learning outside the classroom and in our community that will be extended and deepened through the addition of online resources.

“That our kids will be aware of the incredible resources in our community and will understand and celebrate what a unique and amazing place we live in.

“And that our learners will all have access to these amazing opportunities, regardless of potential barriers that could stand in their way.”

Amie Williams is passionate about technology in education and has become a Manaiakalani facilitator this year. She was also selected to be a Google Innovator and joined an elite community of 36 educators in Sydney in May. She talks to Kim Parkinson about her work for the Manaiakalani Education Trust and her hopes for the future of education . . .

Amie Williams was born and raised in the Waioeka Gorge on the family farm and went to Wairata School before boarding at the Rectory at Gisborne Girls’ High School. After qualifying as a teacher in 2006, she taught at Matawai School from 2006 to 2012. Her three children Elle (20), Dylan (17) and Seth (14) went to the school.

“When my daughter started at Gisborne Girls’ we moved to Ormond and I still drove back to Matawai every day.
“I realised I was spending a lot of money on petrol not to mention the time it took travelling to and from school everyday so I later got a job at Gisborne Intermediate,” she says.

I worked with Herman Fourie who was instrumental in getting chrome books into the school.
He and I worked together to provide technical and professional learning support to the teachers. We had 200 chromebooks which were spread among the classes.

This year she became a Manaiakalani facilitator and is enjoying the new role working with 11 teachers in six Gisborne schools.

“One of the first things we teach is a “cybersmart” curriculum which includes device care; navigating the internet and we use a learn, create, share pedagogy where the students learn a new skill, use it to create a digital learning object and then share it through the use of a blog. This puts the learner in the driver’s seat and they are well-supported.

“As a Manaiakalani facilitator, I model how to use the tools in the classroom so the teachers can use digital technology in purposeful ways without throwing away the good, sound teaching practice we know our effective teachers already have.
“Manaiakalani has 22,000 students across New Zealand and nearly 2000 in Gisborne.
“I get to teach what I’m passionate about to both learners and teachers and I’ve always been passionate about coaching, so this is an aspect of the role I love too.

“I feel so blessed to be able to get around to all the many classrooms I work in and get to know the kids and our schools.
“I’ve seen the benefit in the purposeful use of technology in education for many years and have worked in varying roles that have allowed me to test my skills.

“Manaiakalani is the best vehicle for this because it is so grounded in research.
“I really loved working with my hub mates at Gisborne Intermediate, so it was a big pull to leave, but I felt this was something that was actually going to allow me a way to make a difference.

“Education needs to change. Our career world has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. Our kids need to come out prepared for that.
“The new digital curriculum due to be in place in 2020 is also a great driver, encouraging parents and teachers to see the need for changes as well.”

Amie recently returned from the Google Innovator programme in Sydney after being selected to take part along with Wainui Beach School deputy principal Rachel Duckworth.

“It was a wonderful experience to be with like-minded people who are empowered to disrupt education and try to get the best for our kids.
“I stayed on for a fourth day for the Google Energiser which is a day they run where they welcome back all their previous innovators.
“We went through a Google Road Map where they share the new tools which are going to be coming up.”

She and the other participants were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements so what they saw remained top secret.
“It is really exciting as an educator to be able to foresee the new tools and also to give feedback on them.
“The design team met with us and it was great as they were scribbling down notes based on our feedback.
“When you are in the classroom you know how you want to use these tools and the designers don’t always know that.
“The idea with Google Innovator was that each person selected to attend would take along an educational challenge.

“My idea is based around coming up with digital resources which can be used in collaboration with organisations such as Tonui Collab (The MindLab), Turanga Heritage Trails and Waka Hourua for example.
“Now it’s time to put my innovation academy plan into action. This week we meet all the other Innovators online for a mentor match party, where we celebrate who our mentors for the next year will be.

“I’ll meet monthly with my mine who will support me in moving forward on my innovation.”

Yoga and nature also a big part of Amie's life

Outside of teaching Amie is a dedicated yoga practitioner who loves getting out in nature.
“I love walking on the beach or in our many parks and when I can get there, to my parents’ farm in the Waioeka Gorge. My husband and I love to go tramping into some of the remote places off the back of the farm with just the dogs and our two-man hammock tent.

“It’s so great to just get back to basics. I guess growing up on the farm was where my love of real-life learning came from and part of why I’m so passionate about getting kids really making complete use of our wonderful local resources and community resource programmes.
“I grew up with Dad teaching us how to make our campfires safely and my brother was quite an engineer, even rigging up our own flying fox out of a clothesline pulley and a rope.

“We learned so much from just being out in the natural world, assessing risks and growing from our experiences.
“I used to take my classes back up there and get them to undertake a week of Survival Challenges such as making their own bivvy and lighting campfires from the best gathered-materials they could find.”

Amie also loves to write.

“I’m working on a couple of books and a blog. I am also working on a Google Site for the beekeeping business my son and mum and I are creating and also one for the hemp company my husband and I are just starting out with.”

Google Innovators are innovators for life and can apply to go back to Google as coaches and mentors in later years.

The company is running its first Google Certified Innovator in Japan in 2020 and she would like to attend.
“That would be an amazing opportunity to be part of at some point, but I’d really have to upskill to do something like that as my language skills are a bit rusty after just teaching the very basics for the past few years.

“My dream for the future is that together as a region we’ll find a local model of education which is grounded in the collaboration of all our schools and communities.

“That we’ll have learners who are engaged in learning outside the classroom and in our community that will be extended and deepened through the addition of online resources.

“That our kids will be aware of the incredible resources in our community and will understand and celebrate what a unique and amazing place we live in.

“And that our learners will all have access to these amazing opportunities, regardless of potential barriers that could stand in their way.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the parking plan change the council is seeking, to reduce parking requirements for new business developments in the inner harbour?