The pilot programme by the Whangarei-based Taitokerau Education Trust – Te Puawai Digital Immersion Cluster -- to enable Northland students to go digital by providing them with computer tablets launched its second stage at Forum North on Tuesday November 3.
Northpower and Northpower Fibre have sponsored the Trust since last year and the programme has already resulted in vastly improved learning outcomes and whanau engagement around education.
The programme is based on the Manaiakalani initiative in Tamaki, Auckland with their pedagogy and philosophy of parental involvement.
The Te Puawai schools are already piloting the programme with 300 children, with very positive results, and it has also helped lower truancy rates at the six Whangarei schools involved in the pilot programme this year.
The reason the programme was launched with schools connected to the Northpower Fibre UFB network in Whangarei was to make use of the quality broadband connectivity and give the greatest impact possible.
Successfully led by Manaia View School in the initial roll out, the other schools involved are Hikurangi Primary, Whangarei Intermediate, Te Kura Otangarei, Whau Valley Primary and Tikipunga High School who all range from decile 1 to 5 and their students are mainly Maori.
The second stage is about putting another 800 tablets into Whangarei schools next year. The project is expected to go Northland-wide eventually with Whangarei being the starting point for the roll out.
The 20/20 Trust, which is part of the project, will provide training for any parents who want to learn.
Trust chairwoman Jo Brosnahan said each tablet cost $500 which proved to be an impediment to many families. The trust’s goal is to purchase the tablets and have families pay them off over time with that money being reinvested into more tablets.
The trust has partnered with Northpower Fibre, 20/20 Trust, Oxford Sports Trust, YHPJ Chartered Accountants and Orbit Audit for the project.
Northland Inc firmly supports the trust and its project.