Log in

Just announced: Student network for learning

A student network for learning was announced today by the Hon. Anne Tolley:

"Education Minister Anne Tolley has announced that a dedicated nationwide online network for New Zealand schools will be developed, to ensure that teaching and learning is at the forefront of global educational developments and makes the most of new technology.

The safe, secure system, called the Network for Learning, is estimated to cost between $300 -$400 million over the next 10 years, and will provide high-quality educational content and resources to schools and students, to help lift achievement for young New Zealanders wherever they are across the country.

The Network for Learning, which will be available from 2013, will also simplify and substantially reduce costs for schools accessing ICT content and services, including the cost of internet connections.

"This is hugely exciting for education in New Zealand," says Mrs Tolley.

"The scale and complexity of the Network for Learning is enormous - with potentially over 2500 schools and more than 800,000 users this will be the biggest network of its kind in the country.

"The Network for Learning will ensure that schools get the most from their ultra-fast broadband connection, and will provide them with affordable access to the latest ICT teaching and learning developments....[Read the full article]

Source: Voxy.co.nz > Politics

There's a lot to take in in this announcement. What are your initial thoughts?


  • Tim Kong

    Have had a few twitter conversations about this one. My thoughts.

    1. It's election time - promises are all the rage.

    2. Headlines in 2008: "National Standards will lift student achievement"

        Headlines in 2011: "Innovative learning Network will lift student achievement"

    Neither policy will do what they set out to achieve, mainly because the aims are so broad and ill-defined. And yet, at the same time there is enough broadness in the policy statements to ensure a measure of success can be claimed, regardless of actual results.

    3. I'm not sure what the point of this network is - does it replace TKI and the VLN? Does it mean all IT services such as UFB and monthly data charges are paid for by the government? Does it mean a central LMS and/or SMS will be funded by the government? Will the govt do a deal with Google Apps or Live@Edu? Is it a network version of TELA (*cough* Ignoring the fact that TELA appears to have gone belly up...)

    4. Schools and school leaders that get it - get elearning, get the shift, get the requirements of this seachange in designing, delivering and enabling learning to occur - are just getting on with it. Adjusting their budgets, their PD training, their resourcing accordingly - and the best ones will do it in ways that are sensitive to existing staff, student and community needs. This seems a clumsy way of "saving money" - while not actually being able to deliver what it says it does.

     In other words, this is great politics  :)

  • DC

    Thank you Tim, you have expressed the concerns of many - succinctly and with an appropriate level of cynicism re political utterances at election time.

    The concept that the minister shares has great potential - we are a small country, population wise smaller than greater London so it makes sense to have a national network of some sort.  But the track record of our politicians and our ministry does not give me great confidence. Easy to say all these nice words but the reality mmmmmmmmmm! I have been around too long to believe that it will happen as smoothly as Tolley says it will, and will do anything like what she says it will do.

    Point 1 Yes. Point 2 yes, Point 3 absolutely confusing reality! Point 4 - the truth for our school right now, doing it on our own, fibre etc, no SNUP, just ICTPD and a lot of hard working, dedicated teachers and BoT, parents making our little world a bit better for our kids - with minimal help from anyone in government or the ministry! You have expressed the reality.

    Take politics out of education!

  • Michael Fawcett

    I am concerned.  Not that I dismiss Mrs Tolley's intentions, or that a network as decribed wouldn't be benificial in many ways, but that once you institutionalise learning networks they become stale, uncreative and subservient.  I hope we'll still be able to access the many and varied tools we use now, or will we be tied into a system where students and teachers are locked down and shut out of the "real" online networks that we've built?

    We'll have to wait and see I guess, but I bet there's another agenda behind the announcement... control.

  • Shem Banbury

    Shooting from the hip a little here without knowing the full info about the system but here are my thoughts.

    1. An Election Idea

    To me this is an election idea dreamed in the offices of people who haven't been in a class for a while. Ask 100 teachers their wishlist for e-learning and I dont think a 'NZ student learning network' would be high on the agenda. But it sounds good, is easy implement (just add money and an IT guru) so people will think it is a fantastic idea.

    2. It doesn't deal with the real needs

    Is building a huge amazing student portal really going to make a difference with students learning? I doubt it. My hope is that good educators are starting to be wise in the things they spend their money with relation to ICT. I dont see that same wisdom being used here by the government. Wouldn't it be better to spend money on a early reading programme like 'Reading Eggs.' In my view we should be spending the money on the cold face with direct benefit to students.

    3. Big Brother is Watching you

    Dont tell me the government wont want 'specific information' put into this amazing system. With the money they are investing they want to keep an eye on everything that is happening and that will include the progress of students. If they didn't want that why don;t they just fund every school with money and time to sign up to google or windows live.

    4. Will Schools be Forced to use it?

    Probably and I dont like that.

  • Kty Pai

    This sounds like a very expensive election banner to me. This will not raise learning for our young people, it will be the myspace of education. A once was, dated before it was completed.

  • Tessa Gray

    This message has been released from Marg McLeod, Acting Group Manager, Schooling Group, Ministry of Education.

    Good afternoon,

    The Minister of Education has just announced Cabinet’s decision to proceed with establishing a ‘Network for Learning’, a dedicated online network for schools, which will run over the ultra-fast broadband infrastructure currently being rolled out across New Zealand.

    The Network for Learning will provide schools with affordable, safe, ultra-fast internet access as well as a range of online content and centrally-procured services.

    We are now working to confirm next steps for procuring the Network, and to identify how it will be governed and managed.

    In support of this, we will be engaging in discussions over the next few months with a wide range of potential users and suppliers, to ensure their views are taken into account in the development of the Network.

    Obviously the views of schools will be of paramount importance in planning for the successful development and implementation of the Network. We look forward to discussing this with you further at upcoming forums, including our next ultra-fast broadband seminar series. This is expected to be held in Term 1 of 2012 and more information about this will be sent out shortly.

    More information about the Network for Learning including FAQs can be found at www.minedu.govt.nz/UFBinschools

    If you have any questions at this stage, please email them to ufb.schools@minedu.govt.nz