Bring it on! 2014 the year of possibility!

posted Feb 13, 2014, 3:17 PM by Nicky Ryan
Kia ora e tu whanau
Welcome back to 2014 the start of a great year for Weston School.

Firstly I am delighted to be back on board and thank the Board, teachers, staff and Sharlene Carki for their support and leadership to finish 2013. 

Thank you to those parents who came along to Meet the Teachers on Monday. For those of you that could not make it we discussed the focus for 2014:

Digital Citizenship

Drawing from the Key Competencies and Values in the NZ Curriculum and a growing body of research knowledge,  Netsafe, in consultation with the NZ teachers has produced this definition of a NZ Digital Citizen

A digital citizen:
    • is a confident and capable user of ICT

    • uses technologies to participate in educational, cultural and economic activities

    • uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace

    • is literate in the language, symbols and texts of digital technologies

    • is aware of ICT challenges and can manage them effectively

    • uses ICT to relate to others in a positive and meaningful way

    • demonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICT

    • respects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital world

    • contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship

    Digital literacy or the ability to understand and fully participate in the digital world is fundamental to digital citizenship. It is the combination of technical and social skills that enable a person to be successful and safe in the information age. LIke literacy and numeracy initiatives which provide people with the skills to participate in the workforce, digital literacy has become an essential skill to be a confident, connected and actively involved lifelong learner.

    Netsafe definition:

Why is Weston doing Science?

We are told that less students are taking science at high school level - causing huge concern. Our country needs scientists and they are the ones who will save the world and help with the problems we have e.g. climate change to name but one example.

We want to engage our students and especially our boys...who need concrete experiences and real learning. They need to experiment, observe and discuss and plan and reflect. We need to be asking questions! We are not saying girls don’t need this but boys achievement is a special focus for us in 2014.

Below a scientist Sam Askin tells students why science is important...

Science is important in school for a lot of reasons...

  • Science affects everyone in the world, every day. The fact that you can even type a question to us on a computer is owed to science. When you get up and eat a bowl of cereal with milk? Science. Wash your clothes? Science. Sunscreen on at school? Science. It is absolutely everywhere, so knowing about it makes so much sense!
  • At your age, with a lot of your life ahead of you, you have the potential to change the world! If you and your friends learn about science, as you grow up and understand what science is and why we should understand it you can help others to do the same. Some of the biggest problems science faces is that there are lots of people (and lots who are older and didn't grow up with it) who reject new things that science puts forward. By having you there understanding basic science, you can help all of the awesome things in the world that science wants to do, get done! You can share the messages of science and allow people to understand it!
  • Finally, science is just awesome! Do you ever think when you stand outside that the reason you have to wear sunglasses is because YOU ARE SO CLOSE TO A STAR THAT IT HURTS YOUR EYES AND BURNS YOUR SKIN! How incredible is that? There are so many things that people don’t think about that are just amazing when you consider the science behind them.
  • If you think of these things, science in school becomes so important, because it sets you up for the rest of your life! And a life of understanding science is the best kind to have.

What is an MLE?

An MLE means a modern learning environment - it is about imagining future focused learning for 21st century learners. 

We need to accept that the purpose of education has changed. 

In the 20th century you had an education that prepared you to go into an industrial or rural setting. You were happy with a 9-5 job and you followed the rules. 

We are now in the 21st century - those old rules have changed and the lines are blurred. Business operates differently and ‘everyone’ has access to tertiary education and a mine of information through the internet. Traditional education has given way to a new way of thinking - world governments as well as business now require innovation, a science focus and students who will be future citizens who are critical and creative thinkers, while still demonstrating care, empathy and consideration. Therefore, we need spaces that encourage and enhance these skills. Students are no longer passive receivers of information. Knowledge is now a currency and changes all the time - our students are active learners and expected to have a voice. They want to learn alongside us and with us. They want guidance but want to be able to collaborate and learn in a way that is real and authentic. They want to solve problems. Teachers are no longer the 'sage on the stage' and font of all knowledge - they are the 'guide at the side' and are also actively involved in the learning process of students as well as being expected to be learners too!

Our new classrooms will support and nurture this change in education and thought. Please check the school office or notice board for the plans of the senior school. We are due to start in the next two weeks.

Lastly our mantra for 2014 is 'to make haste slowly...'
It is really important to have you on board as parents/families and as active members of school life and learning. We have immense empathy for parents and their own learning in this new world:
  • How do I support my child's Maths learning?
  • How do tablets really help learning?
  • What technology do I need to know about?
  • What about handwriting?
  • Surely sitting on a bean bag means the quality of work will go down not up - you need to be at a desk?
  • My child knows more about the internet than
  • Technology is changing our family values!
We want to work together and navigate the waters together so let's go slowly...but always be moving forward. The school has some events and sessions planned to help and some tools to make this easier. Watch this space, go safely and go well.

Kia kaha