At Aorere College, all year nine students take a whole year’s course called Digital, Innovation and Design as a core subject. This snapshot outlines the course content, why the school took this route, how the course was developed, and the impact for students and teachers.
The course was developed because:
The school developed, in consultation with its community, a learning framework – Aorere Kia Ako – which outlines six critical lenses for designing learning:
Teachers design the local curriculum using this framework and the Digital, Innovation and Design course is no exception.
Specialist teachers from across different learning areas develop and teach the Digital, Innovation and Design course. This approach:
The course comprises of nine modules.
Students spend three hours each week timetabled for the course across the whole year.
Some students bring their own Chromebooks to school. For those that don’t, each room is equipped with a set of Chromebooks for students to use.
Students reflect on their learning every week through writing, images, or video, which are published using Google Sites so that they build a portfolio during the course.
Student reflections include:
Links to other learning areas are made throughout the course.
Having teachers from all subject areas teaching the course means:
Giving all year nine students a deep grounding in the way that digital technologies are used at the school from the beginning of term one ensures all teachers can be confident about their expectations of students’ digital skills and knowledge. For example, a year nine science teacher can expect that from term two students will be able to use a spreadsheet to create tables and graphs to record and present data. This learning can be reinforced and put to practice in context.
Students have a better appreciation for the technology learning area and can make more informed choices when choosing their year 10 option subjects.
Students provide feedback throughout the course and modifications are made as a result of it.
Feedback has included:
Teachers identified that students struggle with the curiosity and creation aspects of the course so they will design activities that help students to unleash them.
“We’ve really got to target the creativity. And then link to the real world. They’ve got to invent something. Completely new. That is really hard. They struggle.”
– Stuart Kelly, Deputy principal
The school recognises that Māori and Polynesian girls are under-represented in the IT workforce so they have developed a public-private partnership with IBM, The Warehouse, Manukau Institute of Technology, and The Mind Lab to offer a year 11 course, P-Tech. The course is designed to provide young people with the academic, technical, and professional skills required for 21st-century jobs.
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