A Northland teacher wants others to take part in a digital learning course saying educators need to "step up" and learn skills that will be critical for the future of students.

Mark Pickard, a relief teacher in Mangonui, is taking part in Unitec's The Mind Lab postgraduate certificate on digital and collaborative learning as he wants to learn how to use technology effectively in a learning environment.

"I think we're somewhat lacking in skills - especially people who are my age and of that pre-digital era. We need to translate [technology] into a teaching format using what works. It's critical we need to step up, all these things will be what students will be using in the future," he said.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning) teaches educators how to use the technology and how to implement it in classrooms and schools, create digital change and how to get the most out of it, said Mr Pickard.


"It's about changing the mindset rather than how we use them. Are we using technology as a substitute for other things or is it fundamental? I think some teachers and parents still think of it as a babysitting device."

The Mind Lab by Unitec is hosting an Open Lab tonight from 4pm at Excellere College in Whangarei. Mr Pickard said he encouraged teachers to head along. He said there were several ways technology could be used in the classroom.

"We're using a lot of video technology, we're using Chromebooks - basically it's becoming more and more paperless. We're starting to use robotics and coding ... I did coding with my students and you could hear a pin drop," he said.