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1000th school to get government's fast internet

Network for Learning (N4L) is connecting the 1000th school to its government-funded Managed Network today.

The Managed Network connects schools via a secure data network, offering higher levels of service quality and support than has been previously available. It will provide schools with fast access to the internet and more reliable connections.

The Managed Network operates over the best mix of ultra-fast, rural and remote broadband available in New Zealand. It is centrally managed, meaning schools will no longer need to support their own internet connection, which will help reduce ICT complexity and costs.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye says the 1000th connection means the rollout of fast internet to schools continues to exceed expectations.

She says she is “delighted to be able to today visit Stanley Avenue School in the Waikato town of Te Aroha, the 1000th school to be connected”.

The latest connection means more than 40% of New Zealand schools are now using N4L for teaching and learning.

Stanley Avenue Primary says it is excited about the potential the new N4L Managed Network connection may bring.

“Our new connection will allow us to grow the range of learning pathways we currently offer students,” says Stuart Armistead, Stanley Avenue School principal. “For example, we will be able to extend the use of mobile devices, grow our school radio and television stations and use technology to enhance communication between home and school.”

Network for Learning aims to connect another 100-200 schools this year.

Kaye says “having schools connected to the Managed Network is part of our commitment to ensuring our young people are equipped with the skills and education they need to be successful in employment and in life, no matter where they are in New Zealand.

“Providing high-quality, high-speed internet will help ensure that every student can benefit from technology to achieve their best.”

The Government is investing $211 million in the Managed Network, which will provide quick and reliable internet complete with uncapped data, web filtering and network security services for all New Zealand schools wishing to participate.

“More than 290,000 students and 20,000 teachers are now using a Government-funded internet connection running at reliably high speeds,” Kaye says.

She says meeting the needs of 21st-century students is a priority for this government. “Ensuring our children are learning in modern and digitally-connected classrooms is critical in enabling schools to explore more innovative approaches to teaching and learning, using the internet and digital technologies.”

N4L is on track to connect all participating schools to the Managed Network by the end of 2016.

N4L reached today’s milestone more than two months ahead of schedule. In August the company surpassed its 700th connection five months ahead of schedule, and then revised its end-year target to 1000. John Hanna, N4L CEO, is pleased with the company’s progress to date.

“We understand a teacher’s need for technology to work smoothly and reliably all the time,” says Hanna. “Once a school is connected, their internet use generally increases exponentially.

He says students are using the internet to collaborate more online and to invent their own creations. “It is exciting to see new ways of teaching and learning introduced into the classroom. All of this activity will better prepare them for the future, and it is very rewarding to see this happening throughout the country.”

Massey Primary in West Auckland was the first school to connect to N4L’s Managed Network at the end of November 2013. Principal Bruce Barnes says it has made a notable difference to both his teachers and students and is instrumental to helping achieve the school’s vision. “Our vision is to graduate students who are better equipped to be global citizens, ready for a world where technology will be more prevalent in their future.”

He says N4L’s Managed Network, alongside the Ministry of Education’s SNUP programme, has enabled Massey to fast-track its digital learning plans. “Students who were previously labelled as ‘reluctant learners’ have embraced the new devices as a way to connect with their learning. This translates to increased engagement with their learning and achievement, which is leading to improved student results.”

N4L works closely with school leaders and local IT support companies to ensure a smooth transition to the Managed Network and to help schools get the most from the network once connected.

An interactive map of all participating schools can be viewed here

For further information click here