A Vision for Innovative Education

“Guarantee every learner engages in innovative, personalized, world-class learning.”

At the heart of Ormiston Primary School’s vision statement is preparing young learners for an ever-evolving future. Ormiston’s innovative education model is founded on the concept of Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) called “Habitats”. Ormiston paves the way for learners to develop the competencies and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

students' work

As a trailblazer of future-first education in New Zealand, the leadership team led by Mr. Heath McNeil, Leader of Learning at Ormiston, saw the opportunity to partner with globally recognized technology education leader Digital Media Academy (DMA) to bring a world-class STEAM curriculum to their learners. Founded in 1999, Digital Media Academy’s curriculum and learning framework is designed by leading industry and education experts and independently verified by Stanford, Texas University, and the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) to meet the highest standards in 21st-century technology education pedagogy.

Led by Ormiston’s DMA Coordinator, Ms. Shivanni Nayyar, a team of forward-thinking educators in the school developed and implemented a STEAM learning program. The program seeks to develop early years digital literacy, design, and computational thinking skills, and promote learner collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving within their habitats.

Ormiston completed their Digital Media Academy accreditation in December 2021, receiving the highest accolades by demonstrating the capacity to lead learners to become creators of technology rather than just consumers. Throughout the Certification process, Ormiston submitted evidence of teaching and learning that demonstrated the ability of its learners, educators, and leaders to discover, explore, and apply new types of knowledge and skills in a way that better prepares learners for the realities of learning and work of the 21st century. The Ormiston leadership team identified the Digital Media Academy curriculum and learning approach as the perfect tool to bridge the gap, aligning seamlessly with the school’s leading-edge curriculum approach. It was with their self-directed learning block that their DMA Coordinator, Shivanni Nayyar, coached learners to develop new skills in coding, design, engineering, game development, and more through real-world, hands-on projects.


Bridging The Gap: Real-World Steam Education Enhances In-Class Learning

Digital Media Academy courses were a huge success for Ormiston on several levels. A key result was that learners were excited to tackle technology-related challenges that they could connect with their own lives.

One such activity was creating an iOS app using Thunkable. Throughout the learning journey, learners explored fundamental programming concepts of mobile apps and put them to use to create a basic educational app for iOS. “Explore the Internet” was a course where learners created envelopes that would function as pseudo emails. They then sent messages, while also comparing and connecting addresses with IP addresses.

Another learner favorite was “Computer Science for Kids” which engaged learners in the creation of their own devices such as the paper cup string telephone, which they used to communicate with each other using the binary language of zeros and ones. This provided a foundational understanding of how a computer works in an engaging and approachable format.

By partnering with Digital Media Academy curriculum, our school has been able to support its vision of engaging in innovative and personalized world-class learning and enhancing learner engagement through project-based inquiry.

- Shivanni Nayyar