Lilly Trietsch Race to Ora

  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Tammie Leong, Don Chooi
  • School
    Media Design School

Race to Ora is a third party app used at the Auckland Zoo as an interactive learning tool for intermediate school teachers and their students to learn more about Aotearoa’s wild birds and the importance of their role in our ecosystem. With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) on the rise in our classrooms, there is a great opportunity to be able to utilize this technology to increase motivation for young learners to study our native ecosystem

One modern tool that has been introduced into the classroom from the beginning of the current century is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Over the years as technology advances, not only does the variety and style of laptops and tablets develop, but so do the methods we use in conjunction with modern devices. However, the development of technology is progressing at such a rapid pace, that it has created a few learning obstacles for teachers. In order for them to be up to date with the latest digital learning tools, there must be extra funding, materials and time to train educators to familiarize them with these rapid changes in technology, which is why teachers are the primary target audience for this project and students as the secondary target audience.

If educators encounter certain obstacles or difficulty teaching their students, then students have no valuable education, which is why it is all down to supporting teachers first. Consequently, in order to improve the learning experience of kiwi students is not solely focused on what they are learning but on how. Although technology has improved the methods of learning in some ways, teachers have to keep up with these rapid changes which is where Race to Ora comes in. Race to Ora is a mobile app for teachers to use with their students as a learning challenge to learn more about New Zealand’s birds and their ecological impact on our environment. The app provides interactive learning with the use of a QR code scavenger hunt at the Auckland Zoo, encouraging learning in an outdoor environment and an informational website for the teachers which supplies additional learning resources that can also be used simultaneously with the mobile app such as quizzes, and handouts for the students.

Utilizing BYOD is a great way to introduce new, engaging and interactive ways of learning for students. One of the primary reasons for implementing a QR code scavenger hunt at the zoo for young students is that it encourages learning outside of the classroom. Students in intermediate schools (ages 11-13) are at the age of beginning to develop the capability of analyzing situations in a more complex manner. However, simple online research projects in the library or classrooms, for instance, tend to be tedious and repetitive, hence why bringing in new learning environments can increase motivation to learn. If educators have the appropriate support and tools in teaching, then students will have quality and valuable lessons which they can hold on to for the next generation to come.