Digital literacy in schools is to be the focus of a new 14 member reference group.
The group, made up of leaders in technology and education, will also provide expert advice on 21st century learning environments.
Taking account of the recommendations of the select committee enquiry and government response into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy, the 21st Century Learning Reference Group will work on a strategy for learning that enables schools to make the best use of modern technologies.
“This group will be tasked with exploring ways to provide every student and educator, in both rural and urban New Zealand, with the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the 21st century,” says associate education minister Nikki Kaye. “I will be asking the group to prioritise particular areas of work such as improving device access and the development of 21st century skills.”
“With the increasing number of schools adopting device polices and many progressing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), it will be important to ensure that children from low income families also have access to online learning opportunities,” says Kaye.
“We are investing significantly in the roll out of ultra-fast broadband fibre, school network infrastructure and a managed network for schools. These initiatives will make a real difference as a new platform for effective teaching and learning practices in schools.”
The government has already rolled out a number of initiatives, including allocating $134 million to speed up school network upgrades by two years and the provision of wireless capability to schools.
“Other initiatives that have been progressed include enhancing the role of information science in the education sector, the development of 21st century building design templates and initiatives to tackle cyber bullying,” says Kaye.
By 2016 all schools in New Zealand will have increased access to digital learning opportunities – 97.7% of schools will have fibre connections, and the most remote schools (2.3%) will have wireless or satellite connections. In addition, all eligible schools will have their school networks upgraded and the option to connect to a managed network for schools.