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Our Apple Superstars


Tuakana Teina

December 2021

Rotorua Primary School (RPS) continues to soar and having recently received Apple Distinguished School recognition Principal (Fred Whata), his leadership team and staff can can be very proud of all they have achieved.

Both Kaiako (Teachers) and Tamariki (Children) have embraced Apple Technology and leveraged it to immerse themselves in creative and highly engaging learning opportunities for ALL students.

The BOT continues to support the growth of teachers by investing in professional development that both supports and challenges teacher practice. One of our goals is to put RPS on a global stage where our learners can have their voices heard and their hearts felt, celebrating who we are and where we come from.


Tuakana Teina

I observed...


Waimiere - Using the Apple CLASSWORK app to retrieve and complete daily tasks and learning opportunities (both teacher generated and on ‘live’ websites).


Matua Avi - Using KEYNOTE to retell local Myths and Legends.


Cheryl - Using data to create graphs in NUMBERS and then shared via a KEYNOTE Presentation to share their rooms culture (their favourite things, the way they travel to school etc).


Liz - Sharing students writing by creating a PAGES book.


Pare - Students had previously used iMovie and other Apple apps but paired with Cheryl’s students to learn NUMBERS (which was new to them) today.





Although students were younger in years and perceived as the ‘Teina’ in this scenario this group absolutely shone! Initially shy, as this was their first time sharing in this situation their knowledge and clear understanding of how they accessed their work (via the Classwork app) was a credit to Waimiere.


Learners new how to access, complete and share their work but also how to independently lead their own learning (even accessing the recorded instructions when they were unsure).


I loved that when I asked one student what the ‘play’ button was for she said “Oh that’s my helper if I get stuck” - Waimiere had recorded her voice giving instructions so no learner was held back by their reading ability. So powerful.


Waimiere will be a valuable resource to lead and guide other staff in the use of Classwork. I definitely see ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator) in this passionate teachers future!

Matua Avi: Matua is a humble and softly spoken high achiever. Not only has he grasped every opportunity to learn new skills but he arrives to every PD session with questions and wonderings and takes back everything he learns to implement directly into his practise.


The learners in Matua’s care have come so far they not only have a depth of understanding but are so articulate when teaching others. I love that fact that we have focused on just the one app (KEYNOTE) throughout this journey as not only does Matua now have the confidence to try new things and transfer this learning across the Apple suite of apps but his learners have been afforded the opportunity to delve a lot deeper and become truly proficient animators, narrators and storytellers.




Cheryl likes to explore lots of different ways that technology can support classroom learning, integrating the tech seamlessly through the curriculum. She has explored several ‘real world’ projects (Maths budgeting and Live Satellite Astronomy feeds) and sees the potential in removing the walls of the classroom.

Next year I’d love to see this age group budded up with a junior class so that we can develop the Tuakana Teina approach further, great accountability when they have to ‘teach’ rather than show.

Cheryl is confident with tech, a solution seeker and will give anything a go with is a sort after trait.




Liz has had a very busy term but has met every session head on and trialed lots of new learning in class.

Leading literacy across the school has meant that she has always considered tech through this lens and how it can improve student data. Liz is working on developing a student rubric which is aligned with the Digital Technologies Curriculum,

this has HUGE value and I can see it being a great teacher and student scaffold moving forward.




Pare has not been in a full-time teaching role this term but has utilised the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and to explore shared resources. Pare herself is becoming much more proficient at using the Apple suite of apps

(especially PAGES) for completing school wide documents and reporting.

Pare has also adapted some of the resources to suit the needs of her students.

Inspire Innovation

November 2020

Rotorua Primary School (RPS) is clearly and purposefully on the journey to becoming and Apple Distinguished School. They not only have a committed Principal (Fred Whata) but also a passionate lead teacher (Layla Rask) who supports all staff with the infusion of Apple products in everyday classroom practise. RPS students have a unique environment which packs every opportunity into school life, a larger than life scooter track which covers the field, trampolines, table tennis tables, a newly commissioned state of the art Esports centre, almost every child has access to iPad either owned or school provided. At morning tea and lunch the biggest boom box I have ever seen pumps out beats that you can’t help but move too. These are seriously lucky tamariki.

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Classroom Walkthroughs

I observed...


Hemi - small group in class working on GARAGEBAND. Group were learning through exploration and sharing their discoveries via Apple TV.


Frances - small group of students working on KEYNOTE. Frances shared 1:1 examples of learning on big screen from throughout the school year.



Mere - worked with a group supporting the physical writing process while whole class worked independently on utilising PAGES for writing (Full immersion).


Layla - explicitly teaching a small group focused on utilising CLIPS to capture student voice. Students shared examples of their progress and learning via Apple TV.

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I love that Hemi openly shared that GARAGEBAND (and music) is not his strength… yet he ensures he is following his students passions and allowing them to explore and create using iPad. His students were recreating popular songs and beats and then going one step further to add their own flavour. Learners seamlessly moved between YouTube keyboard tutorials and the keyboard on GARAGEBAND as they taught themselves the notes. As a next step learning opportunity I have shared a ‘Learning Ukulele’ Apple Book with Hemi so that he can look at using both physical instruments (which the school has) and then using GARAGEBAND to record and create multiple tracks.





Frances’ confidence and use of technology throughout the Inspire Innovation journey has increased dramatically. I love that each new idea that is introduced is taken onboard and transferred straight back into the classroom with Frances immediately relating to how this can be adapted to her everyday localised curriculum.





Sam is an ideas man and has been heavily involved in the creation and establishment of the schools esports academy. Sam also has robotics and 3D printers Reflections 6 in his space and obviously thrives on exploring new technologies.





Layla is the glue that binds and drives the team in this journey. She is not only passionate but has that much needed ‘never give up’ attitude. She is the ‘techy’ and responsible for ensuring the roll out of devices and their everyday classroom management is successful. She is doing an amazing job as well as well as teaching and role modelling in classes throughout the school. I have ensured Layla (and the Inspire Innovation team) has access to a wealth of resources and support materials (in a Google Drive folder). I have encouraged Layla and the team to join Twitter as connecting with likeminded educators will increase exposure to latest developments, resources and become a one stop shop for inspiration.





This class clearly show what’s possible from a very young age. These learners are provided a safe nurturing environment where their language is treasured and expectations of authentically integrating iPad throughout their day have been clearly role modelled. The expectations in this classroom are high and students continually go beyond them. I only wish we could clone Whaea Mere (as I’m sure her Principal does) - she is absolute gold.

Next Steps...


I’d love to see the team creating resources that are unique to RPS, in both English and Te Reo Maori. Resources that could sit alongside learning experiences as well as student workbooks and templates to scaffold the learning. Building up a Kete of resources would mean that all teachers across the school could draw on these to support and sustain the learning using iPad. It would also be a great opportunity for leadership and role modelling from the current team showing the potential and using not only themselves but also their tamariki as ‘the experts’.



For sustainability bringing another group of teachers on board with 1:1 coaching and mentoring with goal setting and accountability would be a great next step, especially with the disruptions and uncertainty of Covid this year. Being face to face and having time between the sessions is great for accountability and keeping forward traction.

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