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Student Stories

Teacher Stories: Miranda Howell

Miranda started the Postgrad Certificate in Digital & Collaborative Learning in March 2018. Her key focus was on student collaboration and digital learning. Miranda is an ESOL (English Second Language Learners) teacher of international students who have recently arrived in New Zealand. She says many of her students come to her unaccustomed to the cooperative, let alone collaborative, teaching – making her focus even more important for their success.

The Mind Lab (TML):  What was the biggest learning you gained on the programme?

Miranda (M): Using the concept of co-constructivism by problem solving with other teachers to reach a goal.

TML: How has your teaching changed since completing the programme?

M: I persisted with some specific digital tools to engage students and I also encourage greater collaboration and extended learning with students.

Miranda Howell (right) and fellow Pakuranga College teacher and Postgraduate student, Lance Martin (left).

TML: How have your students responded to your ‘new’ way of teaching?

M: I’ve gained student voice and it suggests that they mostly believe they benefit from collaboration – but they don’t like too much computer work!

TML: In what ways have you incorporated digital tools from the Postgrad Certificate into your classroom?

M: Through gaining student voice, and engaging students, I trialled a large number of the platforms presented but have narrowed down to focusing on Trello, Coggle, Padlet, Google Classroom, Google sites/docs and some collaborative gaming eg: Quizlet Live.

TML: How would you describe yourself using digital resources before the programme? And now, since being on the programme?

M: I started the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital & Collaborative Learning purely to upskill in digital resources and teaching. Pakuranga College is a very digitally-inspired school so there was a lot of compulsory e-learning. The Mind Lab has augmented our e-learning school PD and exposed me to alternatives which I’ve trialled eg: Makey Makey.

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