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Communities of Online Learning

Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 15 Sep 2016 10:15am () Replies (4)

With the recent announcement of schools, and other organisations/groups being able to establish Communities of Online Learning (COOL) there has been a lot of interest and conversation going on.

The Bill proposes to enable new partnerships between schools and online learning providers, and enable children and young people to access their education through online delivery. Online learning providers will come from the schooling, tertiary education, and private sectors, and will be able to seek accreditation as a Community of Online Learning (COOL). (Ministry of Education)

Education Minister Hekia Parata talks about COOLs in this video: Communities of Online Learning.

NetNZ has published an opinion piece on Scoop, COOLs - Opportunity or obstruction? In it, they suggest (among other things) that online learning can definitely (and already does) have a place in the New Zealand education system. It provides opportunities for students to learn subjects/topics that are not readily available in their own schools, for example.


Enabling e-Learning held a live discussion yesterday afternoon to explore what a COOL could look like and how it could support the learning of our students. It was really interesting to get an early perspective of the possibilities that COOLs could have for our learners.
Watch the video of the discussion here:


  • What do you think are the possibilities of COOLs for your school and learners?
  • How do you think your school and students could benefit from COOLs?
  • What excites you about COOLs?


  • Hamish Hislop (View all users posts) 15 Sep 2016 2:55pm ()

    I think its a terrible idea. Copying a failed concept from the states terrifies me as an educator. We can do better than this. 

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 15 Sep 2016 4:06pm ()

    Kia ora Hamish

    Thanks for your thoughts. These ideas and changes can seem challenging so it will be interesting to see what possibilities come from them.

    We already have successful organisations such as NetNZ and VLN Primary who offer online courses to support flexible learning. You might be interested in the following video of a Student perspective of learning online through NetNZ.

    Derek Wenmoth shares in What's cool about COOLs?,

    The reality in New Zealand is that online programmes of learning have been available to students for nearly twenty years through the virtual learning network and, more recently, the VLN Primary. These programmes cater for the needs of learners who cannot access the full range of curriculum options they want at their local school, and have a very successful track record in doing so. The case for students requiring attendance at a physical school where they can develop social and emotional skills is not argued — indeed, they get the best of both worlds.

    I think at the moment, while there is more detail to come about COOLs, it's a great opportunity to think about how we would like to see online learning in our schools and how this new initiative of COOLs could benefit our learners.

    How do you see online learning being used to benefit your students?

  • Angela Botherway (View all users posts) 15 Sep 2016 3:26pm ()

    Hi everyone. I think it is great to offer another learning model to a few students who have a love of learning and are self motivated towards their study habits and achievements but I have my reservations because of the lack of details around COOL schools.. I am part of a Health School who supports a learner while they are unwell. 

    My concerns are based around students who live in families who do not thrive and cannot make the best decisions for their children. Who will motivate them? A computer can only do so much.  I see students flicking between social media and their learning in the class often. Also, who will provide them with the technology and a safe place to learn when home is not a place to learn. Some families will make a student stay at home for company and other babysitting duties.

    Our Akonga spend so much time in their rooms already. COOL schools will create another barrier to social interactions. I hope there are really tight boundaries around COOL schools as I have fears for our future learners as social adults. 


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