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Wish we’d thought of that: Exciting education innovations

The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you’ve got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re going to be regularly showcasing the best innovations we come across. We focus next on Innovation in Education, Training and Development, sponsored by Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand?.

Manaiakalani Education Trust

The Manaiakalani Education Trust were the winners of the Excellence in Social Innovation & Innovation in Education, Training & Development category at the 2016 Innovation Awards. Basically, the Manaiakalani Education Trust’s Manaiakalani Programme looks to improve student achievement for 12 mostly decile 1A schools in the Auckland suburbs of Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure. About 95 percent of students from the areas are of M?ori and Pasifika heritage, and the area is Auckland’s oldest state housing community.

Focusing on digital learning so students can gain digital fluency to become more engaged citizens, the Trust supports parents to buy a personal digital device for each student, provides wireless internet access at home and school, and supports. They’ve also had quite a bit of investment, including $1 million from the Spark Foundation in 2013, and a further $1.2 million in 2014-2015. Vector contributed $100,000, while will.i.am’s foundation i.am.angel donated $100,000 to the Trust after he made a surprise visit to Point England School in 2013. Oh, and the Trust also counts such companies as Google and Samsung as technology partners.

Ruku Ao

The brainchild of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, Ruku Ao is a ground-breaking collaborative leadership initiative that enables leaders to deliver on the complex challenges of our time. Adam Cooper, co-founder of Ruku Ao, says the leadership initiative is part of a global shift in how leadership training is undertaken.

 “Gone are the days of sitting through lengthy powerpoint presentations. The demand for experiences that foster creativity, curiosity and the ability to work well with diversity is too compelling to ignore. New Zealand has one of the most ethnically diverse populations on the planet and when you place this alongside our world-class public sector and vibrant creative sector, we have a great opportunity to transform how people learn and work. Ruku Ao is about how we explore this opportunity, how we create learning, innovation and collaboration out of the unique capacities we have in this country.”

Virtual Medical Coaching

Virtual Medical Coaching offers you the world’s first true VR application for teaching medical professionals how to take X-rays. In the radiation-free simulator, the user can perform radiographic examinations as they would in the real world, critique the resulting images and getting instant feedback. It also offers a practical skills assessment, classroom training, and e-coaching. And the whole thing is based in Christchurch.


Christchurch’s Linewize received a Highly Commended award in the Tech Start Up category at last year’s internet Awards for their software that lets teachers track what students are actually doing on their devices – and it’s easy to see why. Teachers using Linewize can use the software to identify which students are staying on task on their device, and which students have been distracted by other things. The software lets teachers implement their own filters and helps schools support “bring your own device” policies while tackling one of the biggest problems with devices in schools: making sure students stay on task.

Educa Limited

Finalists in last year’s Innovation in Education, Training & Development category at the Innovation Awards, Educa was founded with the idea of making it easier for educators and parents to share information and expand learning. With more than 200,000 users worldwide, Educa allows parents to keep track of their child’s progress in the cloud every day.

 Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories for the 2017 Innovation  Awards, and tell your story by clicking here

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