Governor-General experiences unique educational elements
The joy of connecting to learning through Mātauranga Māori was a focus of a visit by the Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, to Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi last week.
Dame Patsy was introduced to two flagship programmes that engage Māori students with education by integrating Mātauranga Māori and other knowledge bases. Dame Patsy shared her day at the Whakatāne campus with primary school students in the RoboPā computational thinking programme and nursing students in the Bachelor of Health Science Māori Nursing.
Awanuiārangi chief executive Professor Wiremu Doherty said the Governor-General was able to experience for herself the vibrancy of the learning environment and the deep engagement that happens across all age groups when the Māori knowledge base is the foundation of learning for Māori.
“Our RoboPā and Nursing programmes are both outstanding examples of how Mātauranga Māori and other knowledge bases are co-existing strengths in the design of our curriculum, and in particular how we bring together these knowledge bases in teaching the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and maths,” Professor Doherty said.
Dame Patsy was also able to see how technology is used to enhance learning at the indigenous tertiary institution. She visited RoboPā – which is for students aged 9 to 12 years from kura reo, low decile or remote schools – and experienced a robotics scrimmage between Te Kura o Motueka (Allandale School) and Te Kura o Tāwera. In the scrimmage, students worked together to construct, test and demonstrate their prototype solutions to a robotics challenge.
“The excitement and engagement of the students in learning like this is infectious, and that showed when Dame Patsy faced off with Sir Wira Gardiner in their own robotics challenge,” Professor Doherty said. “Her involvement helped show how computational thinking practices (CTP) form the foundation for innovation and drive student interest in the STEM environment.
“RoboPā also highlights the connection Awanuiārangi has as an indigenous tertiary institution with our community and our schools. Through RoboPā and the medium of te reo Māori, we are able to share resources and help Māori learners engage at an early age with STEM learning.”
The Governor-General also took the opportunity to experience augmented reality (AR) technology being used to train student nurses. The Awanuiārangi Māori nursing degree programme uses hologram patients to teach critical assessment and care, and virtual humans in the study of anatomy and physiology.
“Dame Patsy tried out the AR experience herself and seemed to enjoy not only the amazing technology but also the energy and positivity of the students. Awanuiārangi was honoured that she personally made the request to spend the day with us, and humbled to have the opportunity to show her what we achieve here. She moves in a unique community and her time with us may help to widen insight into the unique elements of education here at Awanuiārangi,” Professor Doherty said.