For the first time, the students in one Year 9 roopu (9RGE) started the school year with their own digital device to support learning.
The digital device program is part of an overall initiative to integrate technology into the learning environment in a way that best prepares students for work and study after high school. It connects with a Ministry of Education initiative focused on effective use of technology in education and increased access to high-speed internet. Through this Ministry of Education program, Thames High School now provides free wifi throughout the school.
Just as important, teachers have access to curriculum and professional development focused on seamlessly integrating technology into the learning experience.
This represents a “significant but gradual shift in education in the last thirty years,” said Deputy Principal Sue Baker. Thirty years ago, for example, teachers often served as a source of information; today, students easily find information online. As a result, “The focus is now on teaching students how to access and use information rather than giving them facts to remember,” she said.
Principal Dave Sim explained that the education world has also seen a shift from teaching students how to use a technology for its own sake to strategically integrating it into their education overall.
The new Year 9 digital device initiative is a perfect example of this shift, he said. “We’re focusing on using the resource in the context of learning. It’s not about the resource — it’s about the learning.”