Noel Leeming’s Mobile Learning Centre, a community initiative designed to share new technology to New Zealand’s most remote and least advantaged communities, has travelled over 20,000kms across the North Island visiting over 100 low decile schools during its first year in operation.
Twelve months into the plan, Mobile Learning Specialists, Maxton Gilchrist-Priebe and Eve Reed have driven the high-tech vehicle throughout the regions letting students, parents and teachers experience first-hand some of the world’s latest technology and gadgets.
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 thousands of Kiwis.
“Technology has become an essential part of our daily lives,” Gilchrist-Priebe adds. “It’s important that all New Zealanders have access to the learning possibilities it brings.
“The Mobile Learning Centre is kitted out with the latest technology allowing kids to listen and learn, plus an activity area to create digital content and experiment using devices like 3D printers, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and more.
“There are so many great ways that technology can be used to engage students and enrich the learning experience.”
Citing a recent example, Gilchrist-Priebe alludes to ‘Mystery Skype’, which allows small rural schools to connect with new friends from around the world and experience a cultural exchange.
“Another example is through the use of Minecraft for a ‘trip’ to Gallipoli,” Gilchrist-Priebe adds.
“As an educational classroom activity, we are able to explore digital worlds and teach students how to work together by solving puzzles and challenges.
“It’s been an honour to share our knowledge throughout the North Island’s most remote areas. It' such a wonderful opportunity to learn about each community and be able to give them a one of a kind experience.”
During a recent visit to a school in flood damaged Whanganui, Gilchrist-Priebe says the team developed a workshop around disaster situations exploring a variety of new ways to communicate and help one another during such an event.
“Our aim is to provide ongoing support for teachers as they continue to explore modern learning,” Gilchrist-Priebe adds.
“We understand how hard it can be to stay up to date with all the online resources, programmes and apps, so we currently provide all teachers with an online resource kit offering great ideas to continue to spark for innovation.
“We look forward to reaching the rest of New Zealand over the coming year visiting not only schools, but senior citizens as well.”