Te Kura teacher wins Australasian Teaching Award

Jan Bolton has won the Teaching Excellence Award from the Australasian Association of Distance Education Schools (AADES) for her outstanding work in online education with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura).

The award citation describes Jan’s “Outstanding innovation and approach to teaching and learning” and says  “Jan has pioneered the way for others to work in authentic learning contexts.”

Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings says, “As New Zealand’s only state distance education provider Te Kura has much to learn from and share with the larger Australasian distance learning community and it’s great to have a Te Kura teacher recognised for her incredible leadership and talent.”

One of the projects Jan was the visionary behind, as Te Kura’s Kaihautū Mātauranga Curriculum Leader of the Performing and Visual Arts was Collaborate to Create. This encouraged students to collaborate online in Te Kura’s Online Teaching and Learning Environment. This collaboration produced the song and music video Echoes of the Sun, written, composed, performed and recorded by students. This project involved 56 Te Kura students of all ages from around the world. This year, the Echoes of the Sun audio track won the music prize in the Create1World competition.

Jan says she was keen to challenge some of the perceptions around distance education and show what is possible, she says, “The end result is something that could never have been achieved by just one or two people alone, and which reflects the unique character of Te Kura and its students."
Mike Hollings says, “This project illustrates the way Te Kura is now working more and more. Every school in New Zealand and, in fact, around the world is grappling with the challenge of connecting with students, engaging them in learning, making it authentic and relevant. We also need to make sure our young people are skilled in the use of technology and there is no better way of doing that than making it an integral part of their learning.”

Jan says a key part of these projects is that they are in the hands of the learners and by teachers having high expectations, mentoring and facilitating, young people can have fun and learn deeply, picking up necessary qualifications along the way.

Jan was presented her award at the AADES conference by Hon. Susan Close, Minister of Education South Australia, on Thursday in Adelaide.

You can listen to the song and view the video for ‘Echoes of the Sun’ on Te Kura’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/tekuranz