Myross Bush School pupils (from left) Georgia Donaldson
(10), Milly McLeod (10, obscured), Tarrah Shirley (10) and Eilish McLeod (10) use tablets and laptops as part of their schoolwork. Supplied photo
A managed online network designed specifically for schools,
could bridge the technological divide between rural and urban
schools, a rural school principal says.
Myross Bush School principal Tim Lovelock said he was excited
about the prospect of the Government's Network for Learning
and what it could mean for rural education.
The Network for Learning is a managed online network for
schools which will connect schools throughout New Zealand on
a shared and secure fibre-optic network providing fast and
reliable broadband internet, regardless of where schools are
located, while reducing complexity and costs for schools.
''Some rural schools have thought outside the square to make
sure they aren't the poor cousin [compared to urban
schools],'' Mr Lovelock said.
''But if you didn't have a very IT-minded member of staff,
then . . . you ended up becoming the poor cousin.''
Network for Learning was the answer to the problem, he said.
''It's equal opportunity for learning.''
E-learning and online schoolwork was a reality of modern
education and schools needed access to reliable and fast
internet to provide that, he said.
Since Telecom was announced as the developer and provider of
the network on August 2, more than half of New Zealand's
about 2500 schools had registered their interest in joining
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the need for a
managed network for schools ''stacked up on paper''.
''The fact that schools have been so quick to register their
interest backs that up,'' Ms Kaye said.
''The Government believes that by using digital technologies
over the managed network, students will have access to a
wider range of quality teaching and learning resources that
can enhance their learning and engagement.
''From my experience of visiting schools around the country,
there is a huge thirst for more online learning. The managed
network enables greater access to online learning.''
Mr Lovelock agreed and said he wanted to make Myross Bush
School a showcase for ''what Network for Learning can do for
''We are really going to be pushing to be one of the first
schools in Southland to access it,'' he said.
More than 700 schools will be on the network by the end of
2014 and all schools will be invited to connect by 2016.
- by Timothy Brown