If you’ve been through school in New Zealand like I have you might recall some of your history lessons – I remember tales of Cap’n Cook, European favoring colonisation stories, and British this and British that. Well what I was taught and what I remember learning is all about to change.
The NZ govt is in the process of updating the NZ histories learning area to better reflect a more contemporary understanding of NZ history.
One of the most exciting features in this coming update is a special focus on localised learning. This means that different regions will be encouraged to adapt and localise learning outcomes to reflect different parts of New Zealand’s history.
For example kids in Tokomaru Bay (East Cape) might learn about early Polynesian navigators like Tupaia, whereas kids in Wellies might learn about early trade routes.
Here’s the thing though, all of today’s kids are digital natives – they dream of electric sheep. So it’s really important that EdTech providers and EdTech funders are getting behind and creating learning experiences that match our kids’ other digital experiences. If not, we might risk losing their trust. Or attention. Or both.
To support the upcoming curriculum changes, Gamefroot is developing a suite of interactive online history resources for teachers to use in their classroom.
Instead of basing our resources on specific events or figures we will be designing templates that any educator in New Zealand, whether they are in a school, kura, or learning community, can use with their students to capture and share their local knowledge in the form of a digital story or game.
One example is Gamefroot’s ‘Aotearoa 1840’ timeline builder, a resource which asks teachers and their students to research events around the Treaty of Waitangi / Te Tiriti o Waitangi and create their own timeline (based on their research) that they can share with others.
Additional resources currently in development include a more generic timeline builder suitable for any events or figures, and a DIY activity that kids use to create their own digital flashcard games based on historical events and historical figures that they have researched – kids enjoy this and it provides students with a great way to showcase what they have learned.
The way we see it, there is a massive opportunity for fellow EdTech companies like ours to create digital content that resonates with today’s kids and has the power to engage the hearts and minds of both teachers and students who are hungry, and waiting for digital learning.
If you are interesting in piloting our resources contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note in the comments below.