Avondale College leading the way in Digital Technology learning

Avondale College has proven again it is New Zealand’s powerhouse school when it comes to digital technologies.

In July the college sent a team to the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships in Orlando, Florida, then welcomed home a World Champion and four team mates who featured in the top 10 of their competitions.

It is an incredible result when you consider the competition attracted 760,000 competitors aged between 13 and 22, coming from 116 countries.


Year 11 student is world's best in Power Point

Avondale’s Tristan Mona, a Year 11 student, was crowned World Champion when he took out the PowerPoint category of the 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship. The other categories are Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

Months of training came down to this one high-pressure test, a 50-minute final where Tristan had to create a series of slides, complete with transitions, animations and media based on information given to the competitors.

Watch Tristan describing the final on TV One

Tristan was the first Polynesian student to compete in the finals which have been running 17 years. He was still aged 15 when the competition was held, the same age as US student Kevin Dimaculangan who took out the Microsoft Excel honours. The Microsoft Word honours went to competitors from Taiwan and Thailand.

Innovation Programme ensures Avondale College leads the way

Along with the world champion status, a gold medal and shining trophy, Tristan won an X-Box and US$7000 in prize money. And no doubt major bragging rights among his peers on Avondale College’s Innovation Programme.

An indication of how successful the programme is comes when you consider that 120 schools had students competing in the New Zealand deciders ahead of the World Championships, and all 20 finalists were from Avondale College.

The other four Avondale College students to excel at the recent Microsoft World Championships were:

  • Sebastian Thomas, 7th Microsoft Word (2013)
  • Christopher Tang, 8th Microsoft PowerPoint (2013)
  • Jack Hui, 7th Microsoft Excel (2013)
  • Alexander James, 8th Microsoft Excel (2016)

Programme that is innovative, individualised and real world-based

Avondale College’s Innovation Programme was launched in 2013 with 23 students, and has seen a steady flow of students heading away to compete in the Microsoft World Championships annually from the start. The programme offers an innovative way of learning, one with no tests, no lengthy exams, no lesson or unit plans.

Instead Tristan and more than 120 other students are guided on individual learning programmes, with much of their time spend working on real life applications of digital technology. Most are logged in by 8am each school day, and many are found in the computer labs on Saturdays .

Learn more about the Innovation Programme at Avondale College

Fun, engaging and with a real world focus

The Innovation Programme is led by teacher Paul McClean who keeps track of the students by using student-engagement and assessment tools which he developed.

His aim is to make digital technology learning engaging and fun, and believes that it’s not the technology the students need to master, but the ideas and thinking that can produce new ideas and new applications of today’s technology.

The programme steers students into top level tertiary ICT study, and even directly into work for some in the booming field of digital technologies. It’s a programme that looks right on top of the world.

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