Manaiakalani is an elearning and literacy strategy that is being coordinated out of Pt England School but includes a lot of schools in the Tamaki region of Auckland.
The plan was/is to get one netbook per child (almost like one laptop per child but not quite?) for students from year five through to year thirteen, and to distribute wireless broadband into homes in the community, increasing family engagement in education. The first netbooks distributed run Ubuntu and they use Google apps for managing their work. Software in the build includes GIMP, Scratch and TuxPaint. The newer devices are Chromebooks.
To see how it all fits together you might want to check out the Tamaki Achievement Pathway website.
The Manaiakalani Hackers meet at Pt England fortnightly to support the project, along with all the other stakeholders: teachers, students, families, philantrophists, researchers, contributors, and the Manaiakalani Education Trust (hopefully I included most of the stakeholders in my list!).
Us hackers wrote some design principles way back in the beginning, which we revisit occasionally to see if we are still on the same page. We have indepth honest discussions at our meetings – rowdy, passionate discussions – where lots of points of view were brought to light and thrashed about. We frequently have guests at our meeting and all the given feedback is very useful.
I think the role of the hackers and the Trust are to facilitate the changes necessary, so technology is developed, and solutions tailored to be appropriate to the pedagogy desired.
Wow! Looking back over the last few years since Manaiakalani started, here are some highlights courtesy of http://www.manaiakalani.org/our-story
- Tamaki College became New Zealand’s first state secondary school go fully digital in 2012 with all 600+ students with netbooks and has doubled its NCEA level 2 results for Māori and Pasifika in its first digital year making it among the top 60 improving schools in country
- We have research validated rates of improvement for reading, writing and number across its primary schools that exceed national averages
- We have developed and tested a software product called the Teacher Dashboard which is now in is the hands of 1m + users in the USA and elsewhere
- Commercial partners have invented a wireless network that has gets UFB quality wireless into family homes for $4 netbook per month
- More than 1500 families on an average adult income of $19k are paying off netbooks at $40 deposit and $15 per month over 3 years with an 80%+ payment success
- Nearly $4m over 4 years has been raised to support this innovation and nearly 30% comes from parents
- Tamaki year 9 students are sitting internal assessment online (NZQA have announced all exams will be online in 10 years)
- We are creating a digital teaching academy in 2014 partnering with the University of Auckland.
The success comes down to:
- Collaboration across 11 schools where ‘all boats rise on a rising tide’
- Parent as investors with support from commerce and philanthropy
- Results focus on reading, writing and number with comprehensive research
- Shared pedagogy across cluster – Learn, Create and Share
- Affordable infrastructure
Warning: It’s late, parts of this post might not make sense.
We had a great Manaiakalani meeting tonight. We did our usual update on where we are at with issues and current development objectives, but then we revisited our design principles. This was a very useful exercise as there have been changes since the design principles were written. These changes were made because of indepth honest discussions that we have had over the last six months at our meetings – rowdy, passionate discussions where lots of points of view were brought to light and thrashed about.
We had lots of guests at our meeting and we were given feedback which was very useful. Helen Barrett in particular as she gave us her feedback in terms of a change process as well as suggesting we invite teachers to come to the meeting. Also really useful feedback came from Erin Barrett who said something along the lines of: everyone in this room has got it (the process, the risks etc), we need to educate the stakeholders (connect them to what we are doing). There were others who gave feedback so it was a really rich opportunity.
I want to come back to the inviting teachers feedback. Dorothy and I spoke about this later in the evening and she reminded me that it is voluntary to attend. When she said that I saw that it is the same problem as we experience with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) community. There are lots of developers in the olpc community but not anywhere near as many teachers. No matter how much OLPC emphasise “it’s an education project” not a laptop project, many people still perceive OLPC to be about laptops and perceive that you can only contribute if you know how to write code. The reality is very far from the truth. There are lots of other ways to contribute, whether that be translation, distribution, funding, education, promotion, research, the list goes on. I am not a developer and I am contributing to Manaiakalani and OLPC. In both Manaiakalani and OLPC the voices that need to be heard and need to lead the decision making are the voices of learners and teachers, and I think the role of the developers is to facilitate the changes, so technology is developed to be appropriate to the pedagogy desired.
An absolute highlight of the meeting was having three students with us. They were invited to participate as equals to us, to raise questions and put forward ideas, but I think they were quite shy. We had some time at the end of the meeting which we used to talk with the students and we ended up talking about their career aspirations and fields of study in science. I look forward to seeing their blog posts about their experience attending “the Manaiakalani Hackers meeting”.
Last Tuesday night was Manaiakalani meeting night. We meet every second Tuesday at Pt England school usually and talk about the hot topics current in the Manaiakalani project. We can be talking about the netbook hardware, software, OS, or the wifi within the participating schools and the municipal wifi, authentication, the financial status, the logistics, the provisioning, the teacher preparation and feedback, parents, security, rollout process, documentation, you name it we talk about it.
What made last Tuesday special was that it was camp week at Pt England school and we got to mingle with the students at dinner time. I asked some of the students about life with the netbooks. They told me they liked to play games, read each others blogs, do writing. They were interested in who the people were and what they did for the project.
Pt England students camp at the school (some Monday to Wednesday, some Wednesday to Friday). They enjoyed the activities they had been doing, particularly dunking (where someone throws a ball and if it hits the target someone else gets dunked). They liked to be the one who got dunked. The students sang for us, they are just great.
There was also a concert which we watched a little of after our meeting. There was some singing and dancing, as well as guitar playing. There sure is talent to be found in Pt England school.
I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Manaiakalani Film Festival at Hoyts Sylvia Park on 11 November on what is called the Xtreme Screen (biggest screen you can get I think). There were seven schools involved, primary, intermediate and high schools.
During the day time the students from the schools were bused to Sylvia Park, however I went to the evening parent and community showcase.
They had a guest MC (Anthony Samuels) but there were also children MCs who introduced each movie. The children were well prepared, speaking both clearly and well. There was even pre-event entertainment provided by a band from one of the high schools.
The beginning and end of the show used a scene setting video which I will share here as she is fantastic! Manaiakalani Film Festival 2010
I would highly recommend you watch the movies, and you can, as they have been made available online. Click here
This week the Manaiakalani project team meet at our house for a change of scene. I think that was the fourth or fifth big meeting with somewhere between 15 and 20 people in attendance.
So what is Manaiakalani? It’s an elearning and literacy strategy that is being coordinated out of Pt England School but includes a lot of schools in the Tamaki region of Auckland.
The plan is to get one netbook per child (almost like one laptop per child but not quite?) for students from year five through to year thirteen, and to distribute wireless broadband into homes in the community, increasing family engagement in education. The netbooks will run Ubuntu and they will use Google apps for managing their work. Software in the build includes GIMP, Scratch and TuxPaint.