Wellington school’s technology leading the world
January 2013, St Mark’s Church School in Wellington became the first International Baccalaureate (IB) school in the world to implement Storypark. Since then, a growing number of IB schools in New Zealand, Australia and Japan have adopted Storypark - a new online platform that improves learning outcomes for children.
Kent Favel, Principal of St Mark’s says “Storypark is smart technology that makes a difference. I'm sure we'll see this becoming a way of life throughout preschools and schools around the world - it's the next evolution in practice.”
Storypark is taking education at St Mark’s to a new level. Parents, teachers and families are working more collaboratively, with greater insights and documentation from which to respond to children’s unique interests and abilities. Teachers are capturing aspects of learning in a child’s education and sharing them with parents and the wider family via a secure, private online network. Photos, videos, audio and text can be linked to the IB framework (or other curriculum) and uploaded for relatives to view and interact with. When a new notification is received, family members simply log on to their electronic devices, provide instant feedback, and become a vital part of the daily educational process. Parents and families are involved in creating provocations, increasing their understanding and support of the curriculum, extending learning at home and even engaging in Grandparents day from all over the world.
As schools search for ways to provide the best opportunities for students, it’s clear that St Mark’s is continuing to differentiate itself through its forward-thinking tradition of implementing technology that expands education. “Storypark has strengthened relationships with the schools families and helped us to deliver an even more tailored and nurturing learning experience for every child” says Zoe Roles, Dean of the St Mark’s Preschool.
A membership survey lends further credibility to this new style of learning. Of the teachers that responded, 80% say Storypark has helped improve their teaching practice and 92% have more communication with families.
Of the parents surveyed, 96% felt Storypark gave them a greater understanding of their child’s strengths and interests, and 97% felt Storypark had enabled them to be more involved in their child’s learning.
St Mark’s are also using Storypark to transition children from preschool to Year 1, helping ensure children get the best possible support when they start school, and continuing to strengthen St Mark’s value to parents. Peter Dixon, Storypark CEO says, “Storypark is different because content is owned by parents and travels with the child. This helps teachers collaborate, supports important transitions for children and provides families with a life-long record of their child’s learning. We’re proud that Storypark is helping make such a difference.”
Mrs Roles believes that Storypark’s impact is deeply rooted in educational theory. ”Within the IB curriculum that we teach it states that children’s learning will be more beneficial if they can base their learning on real life-experiences, and that this in turn will lead to further, and deepen their inquiries. If you also look at many of the other theorists such as Bruner or Pigaet they all make the connection between the child and their parents/family and the involvement they have. “
“Storypark has allowed us not only to be informed daily of our son’s activities but has facilitated an informed relationship with his teachers”, sums up one St Mark’s parent. “It’s clean and simple to use but delivers so much.”
Founded and run in Wellington, Storypark is already working with over 20,000 teachers, parents and families in 80 countries.