Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has outlined plans to harness the power of digital technologies to transform teaching and learning, on the back of yesterday’s announcement of 90% of schools across New Zealand are now connect to the N4L Managed Network.
“I’m pleased to make this announcement just over two years after the first school was connected to the N4L Managed Network, which gives schools access to fast, reliable, Government-funded internet and uncapped data for learning,” says Kaye.
“Kaye says with more than 2282 schools now connected to the Managed Network, the rollout is running about a year ahead of schedule, and the remaining 10 per cent of schools will be able to connect next year.
“This is a tribute to the hard work of the team at Crown company N4L, and I’d like to acknowledge them for the great job they’re doing,” she adds.
Kaye says the Government believes that to participate successfully in the future, young people today need to be learning a range of 21st Century digital skills.
“Providing state-of-the-art infrastructure is one way we’re helping schools make the most of digital technology for learning, and ensuring that New Zealand has a world-leading, digitally-enabled education system,” she explains.
“We’re also supporting schools to provide innovative, digitally-enabled teaching and learning practices, access to high-quality online content and resources, and equitable access to digital devices.”
Kaye says the work set out in the outline released today incorporates responses to recommendations from the 21st Century Learning Reference Group.
“This group was established by the Government to provide guidance on building a successful education pathway towards the digital future, and I’d like to thank them for their valuable contribution,” she says.
Some examples of work already underway include:
• enabling all schools to connect to the N4L Managed Network by the end of 2016, with access for state, state-integrated and partnership schools fully-funded by the Government
• delivering a digital strategy across the agencies that administer our education system, to integrate IT systems and allow each student’s record of learning to follow them from early childhood to tertiary and beyond
• including digital literacy as an indicator in ERO reviews from mid-2016
• by 2018, moving at least three NCEA digital examination subjects online; by 2019, the NZQA external moderation service fully online; by 2020, all NCEA external examinations online and after 2020, moving progressively to online exams on demand, anytime, anywhere
• digitising education resources and creating new resources for schools using a range of digital formats
• reviewing the position and content of digital technologies in the curriculum
• prioritising digital fluency in future professional development for teachers
• ‘N4L POND’ - a central hub for digital discovery and participation, enabling teachers to collaborate, and educational resources to be created, accessed and shared easily
• supporting schools and communities of learning to share models of effective practice to achieve equitable access to digital technologies, such as Manaiakalani - an initiative enabling families to buy devices on affordable lease-to-buy arrangements, and access their school’s network via community Wi-Fi 24 hours a day, seven days a week
“The Government’s commitment to ensuring our students and teachers are digitally fluent is reflected in our investment of $700 million towards digital infrastructure in schools, and tens of millions of dollars towards online content and professional support for teachers,” says Kaye.
“Recently, I visited Singapore to speak at the Bett Asia Leadership Summit 2015,” she says. “This was a meeting of Ministers and leading educators from around the world to share the latest trends in the use of information technology in education.
“It is clear to me that New Zealand is a world leader in many areas, including providing high-quality digital infrastructure and innovative teaching practices,” Kaye continues. “There is more work to do to ensure all students can benefit from digital technologies, and we will also adapt our approach as new technologies emerge.
“Our schools are opening up an exciting world of digital learning for students,” she says. “This is helping to prepare them for a world in which being a fluent user of digital technology will be intrinsic to their careers and everyday lives.
“We can be proud of the innovative learning environments that our schools are providing to help equip them for this future,” Kaye adds.