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Nearly 800,000 students and teachers from 2400+ schools are now using Network for Learning’s (N4L) Managed Network to enhance their learning, marking the completion of one of the largest technology implementations into New Zealand schools.
The rollout of fully-funded fast, reliable, uncapped, and safe internet began at the end of 2013 and is accessible to every student and teacher no matter where they live or go to school in New Zealand.
Education Minister Hekia Parata acknowledged the Managed Network as “a very successful project given it involved a large-scale rollout that was completed ahead of schedule and within budget.”
During a visit at Naenae College in Lower Hutt, N4L CEO John Hanna announced the first stage of the rollout is complete and the next phase has begun.
“Today is really about marking the end of the beginning,” says Mr Hanna. “Schools are using more online learning programmes, more devices and are producing more digital content in class and beyond the school gate.
“The use of digital technologies in schools is increasing, as is the complexity around providing anytime, anywhere learning. Our job is to reduce this complexity for schools, making sure teachers and students can get on with great learning.”
Mr Hanna says there is plenty of work to do in the coming years to ensure that every school-aged New Zealand child continues to have equitable access to the technologies they need for learning, regardless of where they live or go to school.
The principal of Lower Hutt’s Naenae College, John Russell, who was this year named Senior New Zealander of the Year, says: “Now that we have a reliable internet connection that is funded by Government, we are turning our attention to the critical work of getting more laptops and devices for our students so they can continue to make the most of digital learning.”
“We also want to spread wifi connectivity beyond the school gate, especially to homes without internet access, which for us is still about 35% of our learning community.”
N4L credits the success of the Managed Network rollout to its collaborative approach to doing business. The company works alongside schools, government and key technology partners, especially Spark, to deliver its services in a way that caters to the needs of individual schools, while planning for their growing use of technology.
Internet use skyrocketing
In the month of November, New Zealand schools consumed more than 1.4 petabytes of data, the equivalent 40-storey cubic square of sand (with one byte representing one grain of sand). About 35% is streaming video. Further, more than 645 million websites were blocked last month with N4L's web filtering tools.
Feedback given to the company by its partners has been overwhelmingly positive, with schools indicating their increased confidence in implementing their school’s digital learning strategy since connecting to N4L’s Managed Network.