The World Economic Forum predicts that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet. Guests at HP’s inaugural Evolve Education event on Thursday 26th October heard from industry leaders all calling for radical changes to New Zealand’s education system to prepare children for their adult careers.

The event at Auckland’s Aotea Centre saw over 70 principals, teachers and education experts come together to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology. Renowned broadcaster and business journalist Andrew Patterson was MC of the event, which included keynote presentations from education and technology futurist Frances Valintine, nanotechnologist and STEM expert Dr. Michelle Dickinson, and learning design expert and Melbourne University associate professor, Kenn Fisher.

High school students Caitlin Taylor (15) and Dakota Kahi (14) joined University of Auckland science student Tristan Pang (16) on a panel where they offered unique insights into their own learning experiences and what could be done differently to better engage students using technology. All agreed that the pace of learning in the classroom was slow, outdated and uninteresting, meaning they preferred to teach themselves at home using online resources like Kahn Academy. They believed more digital and peer-to-peer learning, facilitated, rather than dictated, by a teacher would help to better engage students.

Interactive break out workshops later provided guests an opportunity to dive deeper into the topics of education leadership, STEAM learning and robotics and learning design, using Stonefields School as an example where digital learning has been integrated strongly into the curriculum.

Thirteen delegates from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for school technology leaders based in the US, attended the seminar as part of a nine-day trip to Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland. CoSN CEO Keith Krueger rounded out the day’s events by sharing some of his key observations, stating that innovation is not an end destination, but rather a constant that requires strong leadership and a culture adapted to embrace change.

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