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Enabling e-Learning snapshot: Year 9 and 10 Integrated programme at Orewa College

Here's a timely story! With a focus on localised curriculum, schools are talking a fresh look at learning design that is relevant, authentic and negotiated; where natural connections are made across the curriculum. While this may be easier for primary schools, secondary schools like Taita College (Lower Hutt), have proven learning can be authentic, future-focused, multidisciplinary, and culturally responsive (Cultural intelligence inspires authentic learning in STEAM at Taita College, TKI).

Orewa college studentsFurther north and more recently, Enabling e-Learning has captured another secondary school story. After consulting with students, Orewa College is taking a more contemporary approach to their curriculum; where year 9 and 10 students no longer have timetabled specialist subjects. Instead, they undertake eight topics each year with each topic being taught by three specialist teachers. The school has decided:

  • Subject area teachers would work together to link topics and objectives in groups of three subjects.
  • The curriculum would better encourage the values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • The timetable would be simplified to make lesson times longer to allow for more depth
  • Time would be set aside to further develop each student’s interests and keenness to learn.

The review highlighted that activity in the working world involves a bit of everything, rather than discrete specialist subject knowledge and skills. So, the school decided to explore how content from three subjects could be linked together into topics.

Each topic was given one of the school’s values as a foundation to build on. The result was the creation of 16 integrated learning topics, each designed by a team of six teachers from across the three learning areas. Year 9 and 10 Integrated programme at Orewa College (TKI)

Orewa CollegeOrewa College curriculum design is values-driven, and each topic comprises of five main phases:

  1. Introduction – exploring the topic’s big theme
  2. Knowledge – learning knowledge and skills
  3. Integration – making sense of the issues
  4. Planning – preparing to display learning and/or have an impact
  5. Create, critique, and reflect

This also includes 'mai time' (time allocated to passion projects) and ako time, to strengthen and life skills as well. This process takes some deep thought, planning, time and dedication to work across teams and subjects areas. Digital tools like Google’s GSuite, particularly Google Classroom provides a key platform (on a variety of devices) enables collaboration between students and teachers.

Any thoughts or wonderings about an integrated programme for secondary students? 

With the introduction of the Digital Technologies in the Technology Learning area, and a strengthened focus on localised curriculum design, what approaches is your school taking to develop a more cohesive, connected curriculum? We'd love to hear more. smiley Simply join the e-Learning Leadership group to add your comments below.

To find out what this looks like in reality, see more of Enabling e-Learning’s snapshot: Year 9 and 10 Integrated programme at Orewa College. Also, be sure to check out the NZCER report Curriculum integration: What is happening in New Zealand schools? Sue McDowall and Rosemary Hipkins with experiences, processes and outcomes of CI shared from both primary and secondary schools as well as the five rich examples of curriculum integration in, Rich Curriculum Inquiries - Education Review Office.


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Image source: Orewa College student Anzac Day parade.jpg Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2, Enabling Learning Orewa College learning topics.

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.