Dave McShane, principal at Te Kura o Kutarere, describes how providing students with laptops to use in the writing process has enabled them to engage and sustain their focus on the task. He comments on the way technology allows students to use their imagination and not be limited by pen and paper. Teachers found, using Storybird freeware and a laptop provided an opportunity for students to learn, build confidence, and self esteem in the writing process.
Kutarere school of course is a 100 percent Māori school. It has a bilingual unit and a total immersion unit. Māori children achieving and learning as Māori children is a key element for development in New Zealand. The use of the IT equipment that we brought into school this year has actually provided an opportunity for these children to learn using equipment which builds confidence and self esteem. They’re able to easily revamp ideas because their imagination is just huge. It’s what to do with that imagination has been a stumbling block with a pen and pencil. Having a laptop where it’s so easy to change an error etc has allowed that creativity to be completely limitless. The children keep an interest. If you’ve go to cross out something, rewrite it again, children lose interest - particularly Māori children. They don’t like things to be stilted. They want it flowing.