Three Otago schools will be among the first 21 schools in
New Zealand to be connected to the new Crown-owned Network for
Learning (N4L) digital hub.
The new learning network is a managed network and portal,
specifically designed for schools.
It will run over fibre, connecting more than 2500 schools to
safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data,
content filtering and network security services.
Bayfield High School (Dunedin), Mt Aspiring College (Wanaka)
and Oamaru Intermediate were among the first 21 schools named
by Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye as schools due to
be connected to the network this year.
N4L chief executive officer John Hanna said a portal was also
being built, offering a safe, collaborative environment where
trusted educational content and services could be discovered,
knowledge shared and constructive engagement recognised.
The aim was to give schools equitable access to digital
technologies, enabling new ways of learning that lead to
improved pupil achievement, he said.
Schools would be funded by the Ministry of Education for
their connection to the network and the portal would be
introduced to schools from February 2014.
''The response from principals has been overwhelmingly
''They tell us they are looking forward to increasing their
school's use of digital technologies in the classroom,
knowing they will no longer be constrained by data caps and
greatly fluctuating internet speeds.''
He said N4L would be taking a progressive, balanced approach
to connecting schools, ensuring a broad mix of schools were
connected this year.
He said it would allow the company to build up a range of
knowledge from different school environments before
connecting more than 700 schools by the end of 2014.
Schools transitioning to the managed network this year
will benefit from internet speeds of up to 100Mbs, which is
about 10 times faster than present systems.
Bayfield High School principal Judith Forbes was delighted to
have been chosen as one of the first seven secondary schools
for the new network.
''This has the potential to make a huge difference to the
interconnectedness of schools and students throughout the
country, as well as providing internet service and a platform
for a variety of learning materials.
''It is a real privilege to have been chosen for this, and we
are sure that internet-savvy parents, teachers and students
will be interested.''
Oamaru Intermediate principal Mary Healey said being one of
the first schools on the list meant the school had greater
certainty about its future.
''Rather than sitting around waiting for our turn to be
connected, we can get going and plan ahead.
''For us, it's really good news. Some schools will have to
wait until 2016 before they are attached.''
Mrs Healey said it meant the school would have much more
flexibility in teaching the curriculum as a result of its
connection to the network.