More than half of schools using N4L’s Managed Network

Issue: Volume 94, Number 5

Posted: 23 March 2015
Reference #: 1H9cqh

N4L (Network for Learning) has recently reached the halfway point in its rollout of the Managed Network, with more than 50 per cent of New Zealand schools starting the year equipped with N4L’s fast and reliable internet services.

N4L CEO John Hanna and Associate Minister of Education Nikki Kaye visited South Auckland’s Pukekohe Intermediate school to mark the occasion, as this is the school that has tipped the rollout past the halfway mark.

More than 400,000 students and 28,000 teachers from nearly 1,300 schools are now using the government-funded Managed Network for quick and reliable internet services, which feature uncapped data, web filtering and network security services.

N4L began connecting schools a little over a year ago, and Mr Hanna is pleased at the company’s progress to date.

“We are very proud to be helping bring about transformative change in education by ensuring every child attending school can get access to reliable internet and digital learning opportunities no matter where they live in New Zealand.

“Our team is out visiting schools from all corners of the country on a daily basis and we are encouraged and impressed with the strong appetite for digital learning.”

Pukekohe Intermediate principal Gary Sweeney says he is looking forward to beginning the year using N4L’s Managed Network.

“There is no question that our teachers and students will be taking their use of digital tools and programmes to a new level this year - and the quality of internet they’ll need to do this will increase as a result.

“I want students to achieve outstanding results with all they do and this year I look forward to online programmes providing more individualised learning and inspiration for their creativity. This is really important in the intermediate school years, when teachers need to build a classroom culture allowing for more personalised learning to develop as their students become more independent and move closer to their secondary years.”

A report released in October 2014 found that more than 75 per cent of schools are noticing a positive impact on student achievement as a result of using digital technologies in classrooms.

All schools will be able to connect to the Managed Network by the end of 2016. View the interactive map(external link) of all participating schools. 

In addition to building the Managed Network, N4L has developed a digital learning hub called Pond. 4,000-plus teachers from nearly 1,200 schools are now using Pond to find learning resources and share classroom practices with their peers. Pond can be accessed by every school staff member with any internet connection, and there will be a number of new programmes introduced this year to help teachers create and share their lesson plans:see www.n4l.co.nz/pond.

Making the most of high speed internet

Schools can access support from the Ministry of Education to help them get the best results from the ultrafast, high speed internet connections provided by the N4L Managed Network.

Case study: Digitally empowering education for a future-ready, world ready Aotearoa New Zealand

Manganuiowae-Broadwood Area School is a composite school in Northland with 116 students from years 0–13. 95 per cent of pupils are Māori. The decile 1 rural school is situated 45km south of Kaitaia, and about 25km inland, bordering the Raetea forest. There is no mobile coverage in the area.

Digital learning before the Managed Network

Principal Pani Hauraki wanted to increase the use of digital technologies for learning in the school, but felt that she couldn’t increase her expectation around this for teachers while the area’s internet connectivity was so poor and unreliable.

Basic webpages took a long time to load and often wouldn’t load at all. These conditions made it very challenging to use digital technologies to support classroom learning.

The school registered its interest in N4L the day after the company announced its Managed Network vendor (4 August 2013).

Pani joined a professional learning group of Northland secondary principals to grow her knowledge and confidence in the use of digital technologies for learning and to be in the best position to help her staff maximise new learning opportunities presented by the fast and reliable internet connectivity once the school was connected to the Managed Network.

Using the Managed Network - trusted connections for more teachable moments

In late October 2014 Manganuiowae-Broadwood Area School began to use its Managed Network connection, and since then a whole new world of teaching and learning opportunities has opened up to them.

With fast internet running at predictable speeds, there is now an increased expectation that teachers will use more digital tools to supplement curriculum delivery, and to improve the teaching and learning experience.

For example:

  • The school has introduced a BYOD programme and the network allows them to introduce programmes to manage the use and security of these devices.
  • Several online programmes are now in use to improve the teaching and learning experience. These include cloud software programmes like Google Apps for Education; apps that enable cloud-based word processing, email, calendar and storage tools.
  • The school has subscribed to a video education service (eTV) and is exploring the use of ePortfolios to record and present their work. Students are learning how to store their work ‘in the cloud’.
  • A 3D printer has been purchased and integrated into their teaching programme.
  • They are now using the web more to find and learn about new resources for their classroom.
  • Teachers are using the internet to advance their learning and professional development, and are updating the new school website, showcasing classroom work and sharing news about the school.

Feedback from teachers is positive. Pani says teachers are jumping up and down with excitement following their PD sessions. They tell her, “it’s great as we now get absolutely quick access to information straight away.”

“We are only a tiny little school,” says Pani, “and so there may be only one book in the library that has to be shared by many kids–and now we are really lucky because now [with fast internet], we can all use the same resource at the same time.”

When students were asked about having fast internet in the school their response was “it’s choice and we can now use videos for our learning.”

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 4:12 PM, 23 March 2015

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