Starting in 2017, St Andrew’s College has created a new position to support teaching and learning with technology both in and out of the classroom. This role, called Head of Innovation and Information Services, has been filled by Mr Wilj Dekkers and reflects the College’s continuing commitment to ensuring both staff and students are equipped to maximise the opportunities presented by technology. Wilj has moved into this role from a position in the St Andrew’s College Preparatory School. He has been the subject of posts on this blog in the past, particularly this description of his implementation of Minecraft and this one which describes his exciting journey to Budapest as part of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Programme.
The interview below introduces Mr Dekkers and his role.
Wilj, can you give an outline of your previous roles/experiences?
I began teaching 19 years ago in a bilingual school in Mangere. My interest with technology in education was quickly picked up on by the school principal who had me draw up plans to cable the old school buildings and network their Acorn computers.
From there the technology advanced and I became a teacher, network administrator and tech support in a new Apple school in Manurewa, eventually becoming an ICT facilitator working with a cluster of schools across Auckland where I worked with school Heads, teachers and students.
I returned to the classroom in 2003, teaching and running various departments in the United Kingdom until my wife and I returned to New Zealand towards the end of 2013.
I began teaching in the Preparatory School here at St Andrew’s College with the responsibility of eLearning Co-ordinator added to my main function as a Year 6 classroom practitioner.
Over the past three years my use and combination of technology to enhance and promote learning continued develop and I was fortunate to be selected as one of five Microsoft Innovative Educators to be sent to Budapest, Hungary for the annual E2 education conference.
What are the main aspects/responsibilities of your new role at StAC?
My new role in the College is as Head of Innovation and Information Services. I will be running programmes and projects with students and teachers that involve everything from coding, robotics and 3D printing through to helping collegians use technology more effectively within their learning programmes.
What are the main aspects of your role that you are most looking forward to?
2017 will be an exciting time. With the new challenge of also running the Secondary Library I am looking forward to working with the team to redevelop the space into a modern library technology centre. This redefined learning space will become the venue for testing new technology before introducing them into the classroom, various coding and robotics programmes and will also be a variable learning classroom for Science and other departments to book as required.
The core library function will be enhanced with a more modern look with the library staff role altering to work more closely alongside subject teachers to support the curation of resources and to teach the effective use of information literacy skills.
Other than technology and education, what are your main interests?
Aside from my teaching and learning role with technology I also thoroughly enjoy running the Preparatory School Football programme. Each Wednesday I am out on the Prep School field with 60 players ranging in age from 5 to 10 and in the winter months I have the pleasure of coordinating the Under 9 to 13 teams. The last three years have seen football number continue to increase with the sport becoming very popular with both boys and girls.
It’s great to welcome Wilj more formally into our team, and it is exciting to hear of the developments he will be implementing. Wilj will become an occasional contributor to this blog so check back to hear of his progress!