Monday, 21 May 2018

Visiting the Innovation Stream at Howick College

The Innovation Stream at Howick College is a unique programme that sees integration working across a number of multiple subject domains.  At Tamaki, we have had a a number of trials of integration across our school and are still in the process of finding the right fit for our learners.  We have been closely working with Liggins and engaged the expertise of Rose Hipkins in creating a cross curricula programme for our year 9's that will allow us to use real data and research from our community to shape the contexts for our learners.  I was interested to see integration and innovation in action in a secondary school context and made arrangements to visit Angela McCamish at Howick College.

After a discussion of what the programme was all about, Angela showed me the space where the innovators innovate.  There are two large classrooms joined together and whilst one was like the project room, the adjoining room housed the students, which seemed like a 'learning' space.  The project space had lots of places for group work and different projects seemed to be going on in the different spaces around the room.  I saw some cool projects like old style desks being revitalised to show messages of support for social actions and a table filled with little houses that had measured down to size to address the housing issue and how kids could up with real world solutions.

My favourite project were the student designed rubbish bins that were created to encourage students to put the rubbish in the bin.  They were bright and eye catching and I am hoping to encourage my year 13's to think about pollution and rubbish as an issue at our school, and to come up with an idea such as this one which could support their actions.

In the next room, I visited a group of year 10 who were designing an 'Angry Birds' type game and were looking at promoting it through an activity where the teacher was going be the target of the angry bird to test out their game physically.  Kids were predicting how far a projectile would fly using different scientific and mathematical equations and were trying to see who had the best prediction.  They had to argue why each groups prediction would or wouldn't work.  In the room was a maths and a digitech/graphics teacher who shared the space at the same time and supported the kids in their learning.

I enjoyed seeing the Innovation stream in action and one of my next steps is to sit down with HOD's at my school to see how we could develop something that could work for our kids.  I also want to meet with Louise Addison, who was one of the instrumental developers of the programme and is currently the Principal of Edgewater College.  I would be interested in seeing if she plans to implement the programme at Edgewater and if so, how she would go about doing it.

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