Chris Clay is a self-described advocate for the use of technology to extend the capabilities of both teachers and learners. In 2006, he started developing online collaborative learning environments for the students in his biology classes at an Auckland secondary school. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, these learning communities were opened to the students of affected schools and later those from all over New Zealand.
Subsequent development involved students collaborating online with biologists at Auckland’s Landcare Research to solve genuine biological challenges, like having students analyse DNA results sent to them from scientists working on an endangered bird species breeding programme. This resulted in incredible outcomes for both students and scientists, as well as Chris being named “Microsoft’s Global Innovative Educator” in 2011 ahead of over 200,000 other nominees from around the world.
Over the last three years, he has worked alongside organisations including The Smithsonian Institute on projects to help connect education to the challenges faced by communities both local and global. Chris is also the Education Director a.k.a. ‘Chief Academic and Science Boffin’ at The Mind Lab, New Zealand’s first education facility dedicated to engaging kids in active learning in technology-infused subjects such as robotics, programming and film-making.