School's IT initiative backed by charity

An information technology initiative was launched at Wakatipu High School yesterday, aiming to help the school become an "exemplar" in delivery and the use of IT in an e-learning environment.

Principal Steve Hall said the scheme, called e-xcellerate, will improve the provision of information technology and e-learning, underpinned by a new high-speed internet connection which has seen up to "tenfold improvement" in internet speeds.

The installation of the vastly improved connection had been made possible with funds raised during the Shotover Jet Locals Day and the Christmas Spectacular, which had provided a solid foundation for the school's IT strategy.

The improved connectivity would help the roll-out of e-xcellerate, which would see the school run an e-learning pilot, undertake professional development of staff and ascertain how best to ensure every pupil at WHS had access to the requisite devices over the next 12 months.

Shotover Jet Christmas Spectacular producer Jan Maxwell said the show and Locals Day had raised more than $50,000 for causes including Plunket, the Youth Booth and Branches Camp over the last six years.

"Since its inception, the charity arm of these events has been targeted at delivering benefit to the children and youth of the Wakatipu, and the chance to take that next step directly into their education as well seemed like a great fit," she said.

Shotover Jet Locals' Day is scheduled for November 17 and will give locals the chance to ride the Shotover Jet for $20 per adult and $10 per child. All proceeds will go towards e-xcellerate.

The Shotover Jet Christmas Spectacular begins at 4pm on December 2.

Mr Hall encouraged everybody to support those events.

"The generosity of Shotover Jet has given us the confidence to start what will be an exciting and ultimately infinite journey.

"More tools are emerging every day. Any strategy in this area will need to be dynamic and will take time to develop and evolve.

"While it may not be quite as exciting as the thrill of a jet boat ride thought the canyons of the Shotover, our determination is to provide our students and staff with the IT facilities they deserve."