Digital technologies are changing the face of education and are impacting what, where and how education is delivered. They are also bringing many opportunities to New Zealand schools, says the Ministry of Education.
For this reason, supporting schools to make the most of new technologies is a significant part of the Ministry’s work programme.
The Ministry says by the end of 2016 all schools will have access to a number of technologies available and will be able to provide high-quality, high capacity, ultrafast internet access for teaching and learning.
Connected classrooms offer students and teachers with easier, affordable and faster access to information, resources, and the opportunity to connect with peers, experts and the wider community, says the Ministry.
The organisation is currently working with schools and their communities to ensure they have access to modern technology and teachers and principals can use their high quality internet connections for better learning outcomes.
At present, there are a number of ways in which the Ministry is working with schools.
For instance it is ensuring schools have high-quality ICT infrastructure through the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP), providing teachers and principals with leased laptops through the TELA scheme, enabling teachers to connect and network with the Virtual Learning Network, and providing free on-going support with the Connected Learning Advisory service.
It's also providing funding for software as well as professional development and information, and is also developing digital resources such as e-books.
Working with Network for Learning (N4L), the Ministry is able to rollout the government-funded Managed Network internet service to schools and provide Pond as a digital hub for teachers seeking educational resources.
Already, schools are using digital devices like laptops and tablets to quickly, easily and cheaply connect students with the growing number of educational tools, resources and subject-matter experts over the internet.
Furthermore, teachers are using online networks and social media to connect with other schools and peers who can help them adapt their teaching practices to make the most of digital tools.
Students are using digital technologies to connect with other students across the country and across the world, and to engage in self-directed learning in areas of personal interest and expertise.
On top of this, parents and families are forming stronger connections with schools using digital services like social networks, websites and online surveys, says the Ministry.
“Ensuring schools are well placed to make the most of digital technologies will help keep New Zealand education system and economy at pace with international systems as they too change.
“We remain committed to consulting with the sector and focusing on research and evidence as we harness the power of digital technologies to transform teaching and learning in New Zealand schools,” says the Ministry of Education.