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The benefits of authentic learning environments

Kia ora koutou and welcome to Spring!

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Taranaki maunga plays a prominent role in the identity of the boys, their whānau and the school community.

The learning focus for the boys this fortnight has been to build an understanding of:

  • The original inhabitants and the naming of maunga Taranaki

  • The day Te Toka a Rauhoto was moved to Puniho Pā in 1948

Using an authentic context is a vital part of education in the 21st Century in order to transfer knowledge and skills into the real world. Puniho Pā where this wānanga is based provides an authentic learning context. The boys are learning inside the marae where te reo is spoken and waiata are sung. They can visit places of significance that are talked about in our history and traditions. Their teachers are the marae, the awa, the moana, the whenua and the maunga.

Literacy Focus

Within the learning context of maunga Taranaki students are developing the following literacy skills enabled by technologies

  • Using their own words to express ideas

  • Correct spelling and pronunciation of kupu Māori

  • Understanding the components of a good photo of the maunga

  • Summarising ideas into a 30 second audio recording using Tellagami

  • Putting ideas together into a logical sequence to create an iBook about Taranaki maunga with Book Creator

How does the technology support learning?

I selected the tools because:

  • A short audio recording is a great alternative to writing for organising and expressing ideas, reluctant writers are able to focus on their ideas rather than the mechanics of writing

  • Tellagami is a great tool for supporting reluctant learners to develop oral skills because they can listen to their recording and adjust as required

  • Using the tools and a collaborative process of construction allowed the boys time to experiment, action, and reflect on their learning

The learning resulted in these well structured gami’s from the boys explaining the naming of Taranaki maunga.

Manawairua's Gami

Dane's gami


What makes learning effective?

Learners look for connections: When students approach a subject for the first time, they immediately try to perceive the relevance of the new concept to their lived experience. This means that the more encouragement a learner has to become invested in material on a personal level, the easier it will be to assimilate the unfamiliar.”

Lombardi, Marilyn M. (2007). Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview. Educause Learning Initiative – advancing learning through IT innovation.

Authentic activities enable learners to make choices and reflect on their learning, both individually and as a team.

The task provided the boys with the opportunity to work together, give each other feedback, and reflect on, develop, and share their understanding, beliefs, and values about maunga Taranaki.

What’s next

In the weekend we will follow in the footsteps of our tipuna with an overnight tramp to Pouakai hut. This is an opportunity for the whānau to connect to the maunga on a personal and spiritual level, while strengthening the whānaungatanga within the group.

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.