Tag: The Mind Lab by Unitec

OECD Study Validates The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgrad Programme

Recently the OECD published a study called Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection. Unfortunately the media did the usual thing the media does and made a superficial (mis)reading of the document to come up with the headline Computers ‘do not improve’ pupil results, says OECD, and that was the BBC for heaven’s sake! Of course the report is narrow in scope, in that it focuses on PISA results, and concerns itself with only a handful of external references. It also only grudgingly acknowledges the success in digital teaching and learning in Australia, preferring to focus on its apparent mission to talk up the deadly drill and practice traditional schooling of the Asian territories who play the PISA game so well and make their kids so miserable in the process. No-one, surely, wants to see anti-suicide fences put up round our examination halls? Nevertheless a deeper reading of the document gives more interesting insights that validates our post graduate programme in digital and collaborative learning at The Mind Lab by Unitec. As the OECD report says, ‘technology can support new pedagogies that focus on learners as active participants with tools for inquiry-based pedagogies and collaborative workspaces,’ a philosophy very much in tune with our own. Of most interest, however, is Chapter 8, Implications of Digital Technology for Education Policy and Practice. In a previous study, Pathways to a Better World: Assessing Mobile Learning Policy against UNESCO Guidelines in a New Zealand Case Study, I looked at New Zealand policy in the context of the UNESCO Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. One of the conclusions from that piece of research was that it reaffirmed the importance of some core policy recommendations, such as the need to introduce the use of mobile devices into teacher education. The OECD’s much broader study also acknowledges the critical importance of teacher education in making the most of technology in schools; ‘Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology cannot replace poor teaching.‘ It also acknowledges that there are many benefits that PISA cannot measure, including the way that that ‘technology provides great platforms for collaboration among teachers and for their participation in continued professional development, thus empowering them as knowledge professionals and change leaders.’ These three themes of digital tools, collaboration and leadership lie at the heart of our programme. We would wholeheartedly echo the final words of the OECD report: ‘The key elements for success are the teachers, school leaders and other decision makers who have the vision, and the ability, to make the connection between students, computers and learning.’ We share that vision, and are busy giving teachers the same vision, and the ability, to transform education for the better.