14 Oct 2013
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First schools sign up for N4L

By Rebecca Wood

More than 20 schools from around New Zealand have already signed agreements with Network for Learning (N4L) to connect to its managed network.

The first three schools – Massey Primary School in West Auckland, Waimate High School in South Canterbury and Mt Aspiring College is Wanaka – will be connected by December with a further 18 schools to be connected by the end of the year.

John Hanna, N4L CEO, says the response from principals has been positive.

“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.”

Trevor Storr, a teacher at Waimate High School, believes a managed network connecting the country’s schools has the potential to transform learning, and is looking forward to be among the first transitioning to the government-funded managed network, which will include uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.

“As a rural and relatively isolated school we have to work with other schools to provide the very best opportunities for our students and teachers,” says Storr.

“A national network of schools connected by fibre will make it easier for sharing and learning to take place across the country and will allow our school community to learn with and from their peers.”

Prior to releasing a list of schools being offered an N4L connection in 2014, the company is asking the 1700+ schools registered through its website to complete an online questionnaire to better understand each school’s IT support needs.

Schools wanting to be considered for a 2014 N4L connection are encouraged to complete the questionnaire by Oct 25 to the company finalise next year’s schedule.

“Every school is different. There is no one size fits all approach. We are building a managed network that is capable of connecting more than 800,000 students, teachers and school administrators across the country. It’s important to get it right,” says Hanna.

“This means ensuring we have the support in place to seamlessly transition schools and help them get the most from our services.”

Schools transitioning to the managed network this year will benefit from internet speeds of up to 100Mbs, which is approximately 10x faster than many current speeds. Connection speeds for all schools transitioning to N4L in 2014 will be released by the end of the year.

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