Christine Elder sees opportunities in her local community to share technology learning with her year eight students.
Using work in our community to learn about technology
Christine Elder: Balclutha at the end of last year did a major upgrade in our main street, and in August the plans started to come through so we actually used the plans, the designs for it with our technological modelling unit. The opening was just before Christmas and then I was sort of thinking about the next year what I was going to teach in technology and thought that is the perfect topic because its community and we are a small town.
So all the students are familiar with it, but it fitted beautifully into the characteristics of technology and technological products. So we could link in with how the main street had changed over time, we could link in the museum and also with the materials they were using with the new plaza.
I linked in with the council. Kathleen, my head of department, and I went up and talked about what we were thinking about for this year to one of the engineers and then we went down to the museum and we watched a presentation on Balclutha 100 years ago and in a horse-cart, shops that were there, what sort of shops that were there, what were they made from, how long they lasted and students could see how technology had changed.
As part of the upgrade they had a wide variety of materials which linked in with our technological products, new materials, local materials, imported materials, and the students looked at how they had been manipulated, why they'd chosen them and were they socially acceptable and technically feasible.
One of the developments with the plaza was the green wall. A green wall is a living wall, vertical wall. And a green wall is a technological system which is what we were working with our year eight students this term. So I've had it linked in with the designers of the green wall up north and asked them questions and they have sent me information down. The year eights are going to use it and also there is quite a sophisticated lighting system down there, technological system. But we are actually going to focus on the green wall. I do focus actually quite a lot on community.
Brian Cadogan: This has been a hugely significant project, it's taken almost 20 years to finally get it on the go but it's the catalyst for things for the future. We see it that we are not going to allow ourselves to get what every other rural area in New Zealand seems to be destined for. This is a positive push on to attract people to our district. It's only part of our battle plan but it's exciting part and it's our front window at the moment. I think it's neat to have that interaction between the students in something that is so critical to their district.
You know, we are wanting to attract them back. Maybe they will go away to university, maybe their lives will go around the world, but we want them to know that there is a bright positive place for them to come back to. That's quite important and even now for them to get an understanding of why we are doing this, why it means something to us, you know. We have got a chance here to put a bright face forward and actually get some growth. And it's greats to have the kids onboard and have that understanding.
Christine Elder: I think just a challenge to technology teachers to use what you’ve got in your environment because there's always interesting things happening. You sit back and you think "that's technology" and I think engaging the children and the community they are more than happy to share and support. It does educate them in what technology is, and they can start seeing how it slots in.
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