Sunday, 12 June 2016

Are you the next Shona Scott?

Shona Scott, a teacher at The Garden School, is currently undertaking Postgraduate study right here at The Mind Lab South Auckland.  She’s been teaching for a “very long time”, but thanks to the course, her learning hasn’t stagnated. Instead, it has given her a new lease on her career!

Shona previously used technology as a ‘reward’ for a student’s hard work. Using the class iPad to aid learning was something exclusive to those who were often already good at it. One of the biggest changes Shona has made has been incorporating iPad use into daily activities, available to everyone, not just a select few. Using the tools available through tech has revolutionised her students’ learning, as well as aiding her teaching.

The programme has also acquainted her with the power of collaboration, which she now says means everything to her. Not bad, for someone just part-way through the course, we say! But it’s not just Shona who’s capitalised off her Postgraduate plunge... Her class, made up of six and seven-year-old children, are reaping the benefits of her decision too. She has learnt that giving them greater leeway to decide what they want to study has seen great rewards, and that telling them what to do isn’t always the best approach.

Are you the next Shona Scott?  Learn more about what the Postgrad Programme entails. Or apply now for July intake!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Where should The Mind Lab by Unitec go next?

Today’s education demands new skills, new knowledge, and new connections, no matter where you are. Educators in the regions: The Mind Lab by Unitec heard your call and we have taken on the challenge of meeting you in your backyard - or at least at your local school.

While having eight locations spread across Aotearoa is game-changing in itself, having twelve locations will allow us to have even more of an impact. Over 1,400 educators have completed our Postgrad Programme, and 40,000 kids have been through our physical labs. But this is just the start of our journey and we have so much more ground to cover.

Our goal is simple - to take professional development to the regions. To provide all educators, across Aotearoa with the power to deliver contemporary education practices to their students.

But with demand for our Postgrad Programme coming from every corner of New Zealand, we had a hard choice on our hands: where to next?

Who better to make that decision than the educators themselves! Now’s your chance, folks...

  1. Search for your school or location
  2. Fill in your details to express your interest
  3. Crowd-source some support from other local educators
  4. Once you reach 40 applications, just await our arrival!

The race is on!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Bay of Plenty is abundant in more than you may think…

Much of the time, the beauty of a city is determined by its inhabitants. You could have an adventure park, a crystal-clear lake and natural hot springs on your doorstep… but it’s the community, the inner-workings of its people that make all the difference. 

Rotorua is a city that has the best of both worlds.

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru is just one Rotorua-district initiative working to take the community to new heights. They believe digital devices have unlimited potential to enhance student learning, and generously support local people with the same mindset. The NEXT Foundation, a nationwide organisation, is devoted to the environmental and educational excellence of future New Zealanders and provides funding to those attempting to do the same.

Both organisations were instrumental in supporting four Rotorua Boys High School staff members to join our 32-week Postgraduate Programme in Digital & Collaborative Learning. Nicky, Rosalind, Matt and Richard work across the curriculum (Science, Social Science, Deputy Principal and Technology) but are united by their Mind Lab journey. As leaders of their faculties, they have felt “empowered”, “excited” and “stimulated” by their journey so far and feel better able to lead their fellow staff members towards a more contemporary teaching pedagogy.

Matt (Deputy Principal) spoke of his Mind Lab experience as a “welcome change” that has generated some “wonderful outcomes” within the school. But it doesn’t end there. Take a peek at the clip to hear more about how their inner transformation has affected the staff and students around them!
Application for our postgraduate program is now open:
 Apply now for Postgraduate program


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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Gareth Haddon - 'NEXT Foundation Expert Teacher' Award Winner

Passionate, dedicated and aspirational are just a few words you could use to describe Gareth Haddon of Aorere College. A ‘NEXT Foundation Expert Teacher’ can now be added to that list. His constant commitment to self-improvement through iterative self-reflection is to be admired, and now acknowledged in award-form. And rightly so!  
Gareth embodies passion, dedication and aspiration. Being a geography, social science and robotics teacher at Aorere College didn’t sway his confidence in applying for, and excelling at, postgraduate study with us. Gareth embraced the journey with open arms and implemented learnings from our every session into his classroom the next day. Integral to this successful process was constant self-reflection. After each lesson Gareth asked himself what could have been improved and took action the next time round.

His future is full of promise. It’s a place where students see him as the teacher that asks more questions than he answers, opening their eyes in the process. It’s also a place where he holds a leadership role in the school and community as a whole. Watch this space!

He recognises the ability of each and every one of his students to achieve greatness - and is providing the perfect environment for them to do so. Congratulations Gareth - the recognition was well deserved.

From everyone at The Mind Lab by Unitec and NEXT Foundation

Application for our postgraduate program is now open:
 Apply now for Postgraduate program

Monday, 25 April 2016

Graduation: where one journey ends and the next begins

With a bit of hard work and dedication, nothing can stand in your way. Prime example: our 164 educators across three locations who threw themselves into postgraduate study and are now reaping the benefits.

Their pride radiated from their faces at the ceremony, but so did a certain something else: confidence. The reignition of their passion for teaching was clear, but so too was a renewed assurance in themselves and their abilities. Catching snippets of conversation would lead you to realise just how much of an impact the journey had on them, their students and their fellow teachers, who now look to them for advice. And all because they had the courage to pluck up an opportunity when it came their way.

But it wasn’t a walk in the park. The Auckland, Gisborne and Wellington educators took on the challenge of balancing work, play and study to complete the course, and were highly successful in doing so. They put in the hard yards: knowing that with a little time, effort and commitment they could, and would reach their goals.

And here they are, on the other side, after doing just that! We thank you and your loved ones for embracing the journey and the trade-offs that arose along the way. You’re paving the way towards a brighter future for Kiwi kids, a transformed education system for all. So on behalf of your current and future students: thank you. And congratulations - to each and every one of you. Keep doing us proud.

Frances Valintine
Founder, The Mind Lab by Unitec.

Application for our postgraduate program is now open:
 Apply now for Postgraduate program

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Four Principals is Better Than One

Good things happen when a bunch of principals get together with the future of their students, and community, in mind. Great things happen when they enlist the help of The Mind Lab by Unitec.

Rosina, Saane, Sonia and Karl are four Manurewa principals leading the charge towards revolutionising education in their South Auckland community. As school leaders, they recognised the  influence they have over their students and community. But they didn’t stop at that humbling appreciation, as many people do. They put their powers to use, and took action.

It all started with the realisation that their schools had much in common. Similar cultural background? Check. Comparable approach to teaching? Check. All four voiced their belief that being responsive to their community - listening to the wants and needs of parents - is paramount. However, their most significant shared trait was their deep desire to transform their teaching practice through the use of technology. Cue, a coalition of determined principals: Pacific Island Manurewa Principals. And cue: The Mind Lab by Unitec.

As you can gather from the clip, their Mind Lab experience didn’t just guide them as to the direction of their teaching practice, but went deeper… It helped them navigate that first step on their journey, as Rosina recalls. Rosina also found the programme “fun, exhilarating and uplifting” - a course where she learnt how to shape herself into a better leader. Karl found that The Mind Lab course provided him with the theory and experience to back up the innovative techniques he learnt, and all in a welcoming, supportive environment. Each one of them now feels much more confident when using digital tools, and knows exactly how to use them to accelerate student learning. Put simply? In their words, “eye-opening”.

It takes just one courageous person (or, better yet, four of them) to action positive change and transform the lives of an entire community of New Zealanders. Our Pacific Island Manurewa Principals are doing just that, by sharing what they learnt with local teachers at their own workshops. You’re true Kiwi heroes, and have our unwavering support.

Application for our postgraduate program is now open:
 Apply now for Postgraduate program

Monday, 8 February 2016

Explore ideas, challenge yourself and dream the dream

Fee Holdsworth, Social Media and Technical Advisor at Tauhara College in Taupō is passionate about creating authentic, engaging and inspiring learning opportunities for students in her community.

Fee’s journey began when she saw a news story about a group of The Mind Lab by Unitec students learning to solve problems using robotics. She knew instantly that these practices could help her develop future-focused skills in her classroom.

“I was always trying to grasp how we might best prepare and equip our students and communities with the skills they need to be inquisitive, innovative and life-long learners. The Mind Lab by Unitec has helped me realise that to achieve this, I needed to change the way I operate both as a teacher and a learner myself,” she says.

In 2015, Fee completed The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), a qualification that has had a fundamental impact on her perspectives and approach to teaching.

“The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice breaks all of the stereotypical boxes of what a postgraduate course looks like. It’s engaging and I’ve had a lot of fun ­– you’re certainly not drowning in textbook readings and writing essays. My approach to learning has changed dramatically and I’ve become a lot more curious towards my teaching paradigms.

“Better yet, it was great to meet and work with other like-minded teachers on the course, all of whom are on a similar journey. I loved heading into The Mind Lab each week to learn something new, so that I could then race back to the classroom to try it out!”

Fee wants to thank the team at The Mind Lab by Unitec, who she says are truly inspiring and the essence behind why this course is so important. Fee said the qualification is a must for anyone in education who is passionate about learning.

Fee is now on a sabbatical this year, so she can complete a Master’s degree in Applied Practice. We wish Fee all the best with her study, and can’t wait to see the impact her study makes in the Taupō community.