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Polytechnic tutor flipping brilliant


author:Bay of Plenty Polytechnic

Mike Scott, an electrical tutor at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic was one of only 12 educators to be awarded a prestigious 2014 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award in Wellington last night.

Presented by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Hon Steven Joyce, the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards celebrate New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers - as recognised by their organisations, colleagues, learners and broader communities.

Mike has worked at the Polytechnic for eight years and has introduced a number of innovative teaching methods to increase student engagement and success. His latest endeavour is the introduction of the flipped classroom. This idea goes away from traditional teaching and involves the students watching videos that he produces as homework and then completing tasks in the classroom. These tasks range from completing an activity pack of questions to producing a room-sized picture of a circuit on the floor using masking tape.

Mike was overjoyed with his award and thoroughly enjoyed the night hosted by Ako Aotearoa – The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. 

“It was a great event. I was really nervous, but winning the award was absolutely fantastic,” said Mike. “It has given me the confidence to carry on with my slightly ‘unconventional’ teaching style.”

Dr Alan Hampton, Polytechnic Chief Executive, said Mike’s award was a well-deserved recognition for a superb educator.

“Mike has the special capability to understand opportunities and technology to improve the learning experience and outcomes for our students. More importantly, he is able to stand in the students’ shoes and understand their perspective and needs.

“He has also motivated his colleagues to critically reflect on their practice and has supported and mentored their own journey of change and development.”

This is the fourth time Bay of Plenty Polytechnic staff have received one of the prestigious Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards over the past six years.

Mike intends to invest his prize money in setting up an audio visual studio to produce videos and other interactive material to enhance his student’s learning.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with technology and it’s great to be able to integrate that into my teaching. I don’t believe we will ever better the concept of a teacher within a classroom, but I do see a revolution in the role that they play and the activities that the students carry out. I think the next big step will be augmented reality in the classroom and I want to be at the forefront of that movement.”

He also acknowledged the people that had helped put together his application portfolio, especially Judith Honeyfield who “went that extra mile to ensure the story I tried to tell about my teaching career was the best it could be. Judith was also the person who introduced me to the idea of the flipped classroom and that changed my working life. I will always be grateful for that.”

Malcolm Hardy, Head of School supported Mike’s bid for the award and commented on his work. “Mike has great passion for teaching and bringing new ideas into the classroom. His introduction of the flipped classroom and the use of laptops and tablets has engaged the students. You can tell that the students want to turn up to class because they really enjoy the activity sessions.”

Ako Aotearoa aims to recognise and celebrate excellence in tertiary teaching and share good practice that has proven benefits for learners.  A total of 12 awards for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching (worth $20,000 each) were presented: 10 in the General category, and a further two awards presented to teachers in the Kaupapa Māori category. 

The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award, valued at $10,000, is an additional award that is presented to one of these 12 awardees. The 2014 Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence went to Dr Karyn Paringatai (Ngāti Porou), lecturer at Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, University of Otago.

The Supreme Award, considered the pinnacle of this annual event, recognised Dr Paringatai’s 12 years of teaching learners from a wide variety of backgrounds to become a whānau of champions for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

EduSearch.co.nz 2012