Education technology in New Zealand is rapidly changing due to the recent introduction of high-speed broadband Internet to schools across the country.
The New Zealand Information and Communications Technology Strategic Framework for Education states that all students should be able to access information and communications technology at school and have the opportunity to become confident and capable users.
To help, New Zealand’s Ministry of Education funds a program called the Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES), which allows schools to provide licensed programs for software. The Ministry also runs a dedicated video conferencing bridge and other e-learning services for schools.
Technology is also being used for innovative professional development for K-12 teachers. The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education uses a webcasting platform called Mediasite by Sonic Foundry to meet e-Learning requirements in schools across the country. The program offers professional development across all regular curriculum areas, and a new bilingual webcast program is also offered to educators who teach in the indigenous language, Te Reo Maori.
A variety of other technologies are also being used in New Zealand schools. The TELA laptop scheme, for example, gives laptops to all teachers to enable them to integrate e-Learning into all their programs. This initiative gives educators the opportunity to access a leased laptop for three years, with the Ministry of Education funding two-thirds of the total cost. Interactive whiteboards are being replaced by interactive flat screen TVs in some schools, as fast-speed broadband rollout is introduced nationally.
Cost for schools to access technology continues to be a challenge, but in today’s 21st century classroom, technology is a necessity.
Mark Dashper is a facilitator for Faculty of Education at The University of Auckland, New Zealand