Today marks the launch of Noel Leeming’s Mobile Learning Centre – an initiative to offer technology learning to New Zealand’s most remote and least advantaged communities.
The initiative’s focal point is a high-tech vehicle that will travel throughout New Zealand over the next two years letting students, parents and teachers, senior citizens and community groups experience first hand some of the world’s latest technology and learn how technology can enrich and shape lives.
The centre’s work with schools will focus on low decile schools, and it will seek to reach more geographically isolated towns and communities around the country.
This community initiative is the result of months of planning to develop an interactive learning environment filled with the latest technology to help Kiwis connect and discover technology and its power to aid learning.
The initiative is an extension of Noel Leeming’s Open Learning Centres, introduced to its stores in May 2013, which have so far provided technology learning sessions to more than 14,000 Kiwis.
“Our Mobile Learning Centre aims to reach more than 100,000 New Zealanders over a two year period with a focus on students, teachers and parents at local schools, as well as the elderly and local community groups," says Daniel Albertsen, National Open Learning Centre Manager.
"Our team of passionate experts are trained to help communities learn about technology and how it can be used to improve learning and help people reach their full potential."
The Mobile Learning Centre is kitted out with the latest technology and includes booths and pods that allow kids to listen and learn, plus an activity area to create digital content and experiment using devices like cameras and tablets.
While the high-tech Mobile Learning Centre vehicle is a learning site itself, its main function is as a resource centre, and a means of conveying the technology and expert trainers to schools and communities.
When working with schools, the Centre has resources that can be used in the classroom, and programmes that enable technology to be brought into a student’s learning environment.
From the Centre, schools can roll out full, immersieve learning experiences over multiple platforms, including an ability to create and share digital art, music and much more, using educational apps already employed in NZ classrooms.
“Our mobile learning initiative will bring technology into communities throughout the country, giving families who might not otherwise have the chance to see and use leading edge technology," Albertsen adds.
"It really gives you an insight into the limitless potential of technology.”
Noel Leeming is supported by partners who have helped create the Mobile Learning Centre, such as Microsoft, Acer, 2 Degrees, HP, Flybuys and FCB.
“We are very grateful for their help supporting the Mobile Learning Centre” Albertsen adds.
The Mobile Learning Centre will visit up to 160 communities throughout New Zealand over the next two years, aiming to reach approximately 64,000 New Zealanders around the North Island in its first year of operation.
The second year will be spent travelling the South Island with the aim of reaching a further 40,000 Kiwis.
“Technology is becoming an essential part of our daily lives," Albertson adds. "It’s important that all New Zealanders have access to the learning possibilities it brings – the Mobile Learning centre will be equipped to do this in easy and fun ways.”
There are a total of 470 decile one to three primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand, with over 75,000 students to be reached - a percentage of these children have never experienced a tablet or any other technology.