Friday, 8 June 2007

Education Edge

Kate Sheppard, Alexander Aitken, Katherine Mansfield
Received mail this week asking "Is the Heroes series of articles available as a book? I want to use the articles to inspire my boys. Boys educator/speaker Joseph Driessen suggested that parents provide their boys with heroes and I could not find a book about heroes in the bookshop today!!"

Publishing books is for another year. In the meantime we enjoy the company of parents, teachers and students on the nzedge Heroes page. We love helping with homework: "I am 12 years old and I am doing a study on Jean Batten and I would just like to say that I think you have put together a great web site" (Palmerston North); "I've found this page very useful for a year 9 social studies unit that I teach on famous New Zealanders. I reckon it's a great site and the kids will be using it in term four for research on famous New Zealanders" (Teacher, Leeston); and "Thank you for all the information, I needed this for my assignment due in next week and I’ve found all my questions reading this, so thanks heaps to those who got together this information" (Auckland).

We started to drill deeper into some of our "legends" from an educational point of view, and developed school kits based on the NZ curriculum for Kate Sheppard and Alexander Aitken, plus some homework on Katherine Mansfield prepared by Damien Wilkins. The Aitken story has been especially helpful to mathematics teachers for personalizing a difficult subject for many students (try teaching math to 5th form boys!). "What a fabulous site! It was neat to read more about Alexander Aitken. I find it incredible that no-one else seems to know about such an amazing New Zealander!" (Teacher, Porirua).

Role modelling and "virtual mentoring" is an important aspect to nzedge. A mother from Keyborough, Victoria wrote us: "As a mother of three children with a Kiwi mother and an Aussie father, I feel they need to know how special it is to be half Kiwi. Being raised in Melbourne, they do not get to see the diversity and uniqueness of New Zealand and New Zealanders. My 12-year-old son is now in High School and uses Kiwi examples in his projects, including Lord Rutherford of Nelson for a science project on The Greatest Scientists. This is a wonderful site showing a small part of who and what is great about being a New Zealander. Thanking you."

And this is sweet: "Hi, I am a 10 year old girl and I have found this site really good for class assignments and for learning about the people who have helped make this country respected around the world. Well done in doing this, you are keeping the dream alive" (Christchurch).
And: "Leading the world from the edge by being fast and a generator of ideas is the encouragement students like myself need" (Student, Auckland).
And: "Reading the literature on this site one thing kept occurring to me: "These are my sentiments exactly". New Zealand is a special place without a doubt and New Zealanders are special people. I moved to Australia 7 years ago, and I still think about New Zealand on a daily basis" (Student, Melbourne).

Finally: "What a great web-site. My daughter (aged 7) is to write an assignment on a famous New Zealander - she had initially chosen the old favourite, Edmund Hillary and then moved on to Kate Sheppard, both great choices but on reading through your web page she has decided to do William Atack ! I am of course delighted that she is thinking outside the square and that you have provided an interesting website to accommodate this. We have marked you in our favourites as I am sure we will revisit your site for projects in the future."

Posted from LAX.

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