The future of technology in New Zealand education

4 August 2016

Insights from ISTE 2016 Conference

Four CORE Education staff recently attended the ISTE2016 (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference held in Denver, USA on 26-29 June, to connect with educators and thought leaders from all over the world, and explore the latest ideas and technology on the horizon.

CORE are always looking to push the boundaries of possibility, so it was interesting to see how the future-focused technology and pedagogies we are already implementing here in New Zealand, in comparison with what global educators are doing.  Our conclusion is that New Zealand is proving to be one of the world leaders in education technology, particularly in the ways in which our educators are seamlessly incorporating technology into their curriculum practice, rather than seeing it as a separate thing to do.

The growth in Augmented and Virtual Reality and the work in STEAMPunk and MakerSpaces are all ideas we have brought back to think about in the NZ context. This has started the wheels turning for more of us at CORE to begin thinking of ways we can work more on incorporating this into our classrooms and our education practice.

Another area where NZ is clearly leading the way is in our use of innovative modern learning spaces. The work that CORE has undertaken as part of Grow Waitaha, the Canterbury Educational Renewal programme, has provided an opportunity to work with schools to construct innovative physical environments that enable future-focused education for all learners and their communities.  Evidence we saw at ISTE suggests that many schools in the US are still at the stage of looking at furniture and space to create modern learning spaces, rather that focus on the pedagogical shifts which are needed to teach and learn in these new environments.  At CORE, we strongly believe spaces like these create a collaborative learning environment that is flexible to allow and encourage students to be creative and innovative while learning.

At ISTE, one of the keynote speakers who entertained and inspired us was Michio Kaku. Michio spoke about the exponential growth of technology, and the way it will change lives over the next fifty years, in particular the use of virtual reality and advances in health care.

We would also recommend you keep an eye out on our future uLearn conferences.  We are working on bringing over some inspirational keynote speakers who are embracing new technologies globally, that we could look to use here in New Zealand education sector.