Toki Pounamu - Chromebooks in schools
DWC’s support of an education initiative has played a key part in helping West Coast children access Chromebook laptops. The initiative is run by the Toki Pounamu Education Trust and involves financing parents so they can purchase the laptops for their children. To date over 1,300 students have gained their own computers through the scheme. Starting the finance pool was made possible by the $450,000 in loans DWC advanced to Toki Pounamu. The scheme then sees the Toki Pounamu purchase Chromebooks in bulk, meaning parents and schools can then purchase the laptops at an affordable rate, along with a three-year warranty and insurance.
While some parents are able to purchase the Chromebooks outright, Toki Pounamu also supports a three-year repayment programme. To date, 13 schools across the West Coast have joined with Toki Pounamu to support their pupils through the scheme – Kaniere, Paroa, Karoro, Grey Main, Blaketown, St Patrick’s, Paparoa Range, Lake Brunner, Awahono, Greymouth High, Kumara, Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi and Westland High. The Toki Pounamu Education Trust says it aimed to make digital learning accessible to as many children as possible, regardless of their family’s economic situation. It also promotes shared learning at home with whanau encouraged to share in the use of the Chromebooks. End of year data from 2016 indicates the digital learning has helped some primary school children make two years’ progress in their writing in just nine months.
DWC Support for Life Education Trust West Coast
DWC has joined Rosco Contractors, Grey Ford and Bathurst Resources as major sponsors of the Life Education Trust West Coast.
“We are extremely grateful to have DWC come on board as one of our major sponsors of the Life Education programme, something which every child on the West Coast benefits from,” says Life Education Fundraising Manager Suzi Taylor.
The Life Education Trust educates and empowers children to embrace positive choices for a healthy mind and body.
On the West Coast the mobile classroom travels from Haast to Karamea, over 5,000km every year – one of the largest geographical areas in New Zealand. Harold and Carmen (Life Ed Educator) visit every primary school and many preschools across the Coast, reaching over 3,300 kids.
“These children get to experience the joy and wonder of being inside the mobile classroom, which is equipped with sight and sound equipment designed to capture their imaginations and, along with Carmen and Harold, gives a unique learning experience,” says Mrs Taylor.
Computers in Schools Project
The Computers in Schools project was designed to increase student engagement and achievement by providing access to 21st century technology. It came about after ICT facilitator Eric Martini, the ICT Management Committee and West Coast Primary Principals came to DWC with a proposal to upgrade schools ICT equipment.
Over three years DWC has provided $300,000 to fund new computer equipment to 33 West Coast schools. A 2012 survey found students using the new equipment are more engaged in their education and in some schools behavioural problems have dropped.
Principals say students are using the ICT equipment in many ways including to support inquiry learning, play on-line maths games and record events.
In 2005 $1.8m was invested in a West Coast literacy project. The results were excellent with 40% of children between year 5 and 8 reaching levels in reading and comprehension that were significantly higher than pupils of the same age in the rest of the country.
An Education to Business project (E2B) was so successful that much of its content has been adopted for introduction into the national school curriculum. More recently, 1,500 enterprising students were involved in an Education for Enterprise (E4E) project which aimed to foster growth of enterprise skills.
DWC is justifiably proud of its achievements over the last ten years. It has been an important vehicle to improve the lives of the people and communities of the West Coast.