Transforming education for rangatahi
Māori are under-represented in tech and it’s time for the tech workforce to become more diverse and inclusive. Using funding from InternetNZ, Tōnui Collab Charitable Trust is working to address this with their mission to transform education for rangatahi in Te Tairāwhiti.
In 2022, Tōnui Collab adopted a mobile strategy. They wanted to be more agile and responsive to the needs of the Tairāwhiti community. Now they're able to reach more people and teach in spaces where they feel comfortable to explore and learn.
"All of our learning activities are designed to be open ended, and challenge the learner's thinking and creativity. We encourage questioning, but our educators may not always give an answer as we wish to foster an inquiring mindset in the learners. We place a strong emphasis on the joy of the challenge and accepting failure as a normal part of the learning process". - Shanon O'Connor, Director of Tōnui Collab.
"Their STEMM Equity and Digital Inclusion in Te Tairāwhiti grant aimed to increase exposure and engagement of rangatahi Māori, helping to create more equitable access to pathways into STEMM careers.
"When we talk about STEMM, we are talking about the diversity and intersection of science, technology, engineering, maths and mātauranga Māori. This goal is underpinned by a commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse STEMM workforce."
In 2022-23 Tōnui Collab designed and facilitated 85 full day STEMM wānanga and 108 half-day STEMM wānanga in schools and kura for tamariki and rangatahi ranging from Years 1–10 from across Te Tairāwhiti. They explored tools or technologies including robotics, game development, electronic engineering, and virtual reality.
Additionally, 24 community-based full day STEMM wānanga were held for tamariki aged 7–13, using tools or technologies including robotics, game development, music engineering, virtual reality, and digital art. Tōnui Collab also co-designed and facilitated three multi-day STEMM wānanga in marae across te Tairāwhiti. Those marae were Rangiwaho, Pākōwhai, and Whangara.
"Whānau play a significant role in supporting and influencing rangatahi to pursue STEMM education; on day three of our marae wānanga, whānau have been invited to come along and celebrate their tamaiti/tamariki and the learning they have had over the wānanga and we also take the opportunity to share with rangatahi and whānau potential study and career pathways, celebrating our Māori and Pasifika brothers and sisters as role models that are succeeding in their fields."
Evaluation has been woven throughout this mahi, with a drive to measure the impacts of these learning engagements with tamariki, rangatahi, and whānau. Tōnui Collab tested and refined ways of gathering information along the way for more meaningful insights, including 1:1 and 1:2 digital data gathering. They trialled tools and methods such as Kahoot, Google Forms and Flip, interviews, group discussions, and video feedback.
Here’s some of the amazing feedback they got from parents:
"He (my son) loved Collab. He always felt included, and was very stimulated by the activities. It was a highlight of his week."
"Thank you, really love the opportunity for my daughter to be able to experience different topics and subjects that might not be touched on at school."
"The best day of his life. I'm not kidding, that’s exactly what he said!"
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