Arbor Day at Rata School New Zealand 1894

Making Learning in a Binary Landscape

“Arbor Day at Rata School 1st August 1894” Original image held in archives at

I rather like this photo, a small rural school community planting trees to commemorate Arbor Day in a vast deforested landscape. Today Rata is a busy New Zealand farming community. All the kids that attend that school will have access to tablets, the school will have WIFI, a great library, interactive white boards, projectors, google classroom, google earth, and links to other classrooms on the other side of the world. The community in general has more information at their fingertips in a week than the children in this photo possibly had in their lifetime. But has the process of effective learning vastly changed? Can we learn a few things from the past to apply to the present and orientate our decision making for the future?

The creation of an elearning project

When my colleague and I decided to collaborate to create an online teacher training course, the best tool I found in my toolbox to combat this scenario wasn’t technological. It was the old learning.

This Saturday at the Digital ELT Conference in Dublin, I am excited to be presenting a talk about learning and building an online course.


  1. A cultural context of learning: looking briefly at Aotearoa New Zealand Māori concepts and the need for agile learning among European settlers.
  2. Hearing from my family about our farming community in Aotearoa New Zealand and how it learns.
  3. A comparison with then and the sociology of community today and the impact of mobility and new community on learning.
  4. Our experience so far of making materials for an online environment.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there and some great chinwags. Also to watch the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday night – tips on the right pub will be appreciated! Kia kaha kapa Ō-Pango! Go All Blacks! 


About the author Emma Louise Pratt

Emma Louise Pratt studied at Ilam School of Fine Art, Canterbury University, New Zealand. She has been the runner up in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award (2005), and a finalist in the Norsewear Award (2007) in New Zealand and finalist in the Focus Abengoa International Painting Prize, Spain in 2014. Emma is known for her landscape based work where she explores specific landscapes that convey significance to her either for their historical or personal importance, serving as they always have, as a personal travel map.

All posts by Emma Louise Pratt →

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