Teacher Stories

Ready for the challenge, Clint McAuley embraces digital and collaborative learning

Spurred on by the impending changes to the curriculum through Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko, Clint McAuley of Kaiapoi High School took us up on our invitation to attend a free workshop in his neighbouring town of Rangiora.

“I started to get concerned, having graduated teaching back in 2000 that these impending changes would put me in a vulnerable position.

“Its that adage of you can’t teach what you don’t know and I guess that’s what scares us about new technology. We’re frightened to take that leap into new learnings. In particularly for my age group, keeping up to date with digital technologies feels like tough work.”

With a background in farming, Clint appreciated the practical elements of what he experienced at our workshop.

“I’m a kinesthetic learner and have always been practically inclined, so I took a lot from the activities. Its something I always try to incorporate into my lesson plans. At the workshop, we made a hovercraft, worked with motors, worked in teams. It was a great night.”

From such an enlightening introduction, Clint took the plunge and signed up to our Postgraduate in Digital and Collaborative Learning.

“All of a sudden it wasn’t all fun and games. I quickly realised there was a lot I needed to learn and I was so glad that I’d come to this realisation early enough to make changes before the new curriculum came into effect.

“I discovered my peers were familiar with the terms, but I was a complete novice. It really highlighted that I needed to upskill and refresh my teaching practice.”

Through study and new learnings, Clint recognised a significant difference in Primary and Secondary practice, noting that Primary were taking strides in embracing new and exciting technological advancements.

“Secondary is so driven by NCEA, and we can quickly lose sight of those enjoyable learnings.

“I’m fortunate at my school, as the technology teacher, I’ve got tonnes of flexibility, and I have a great boss who allows me to be creative with lesson plans.”

These days Clint’s moved all of his teachings to Google Classroom, so everything is now digital.

“My kids this year haven’t experienced collaborative learning prior to attending my class. Subsequently, we’ve had amazing results from implementing Google Classroom. Mainly through their application and processing of my feedback.

“When I respond to their work, they’ve got it in writing, they can refer to it, it’s far more personal, it’s direct feedback. As a result, more than half of my cases take on the feedback and resubmit their work.”

One of the major highlights of his journey through The Mind Lab was understanding the importance of valuing himself as a leader.

“I struggled initially with the idea of leadership. I thought I was at the bottom of the pile why do I need to worry about leadership? I do my 20 hours of teaching and leave the leadership to everybody else.

“But once you explore leadership and its positive impact on colleagues and your relationship with students, it all makes sense.”

Clint’s a month away from finishing his Postgraduate certificate and says he’s learnt a lot.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It’s one of those things that creeps up on you. You don’t realise how much you’ve learnt and how much it’s improved your practice. It gives you a new perspective on teaching.

“I’ve always loved teaching, but I used to be one of those people that sat within their comfort zone. Whereas now I’m willing and eager to look at new ways of doing things and I’ve become far more analytical. [The Mind Lab] has given me the tools to enable me to identify my strengths and weaknesses.

“The way its framed, the enquiry process and self-reflection of you as a person and how that impacts on your teaching. It’s a brilliantly engineered course.”

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