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Teachers' Innovation Unites NZ Educational Data

Teachers' Innovation Unites New Zealand Educational Data

Two teachers aiming to boost communication between New Zealand's education providers and users have launched a website that does just that.

Edusearch.co.nz is a powerful, easy-to-use website that links teachers, parents, children and anyone with an interest in education with each other and the world.

The site lists over 6700 pre-school to tertiary facilities. Ruth Amrein and Glenys Stanton were determined to bring every aspect of New Zealand's education system together so all education-related information would be accessible to everyone, everywhere. Ruth Amrein works with children with behavioural and learning difficulties and has taught at primary, intermediate, secondary and special schools.

Glenys Stanton spends her week teaching in a classroom, working with gifted children and running a school-wide problem-solving enrichment programme. Glenys Stanton says the idea of creating the website was generated from a passion to create a site that enabled New Zealanders to make informed decisions about education for themselves and their families. She says: "There are so few platforms that enable educators and parents to communicate with each other."

Edusearch.co.nz is loaded with sophisticated features that enable users to access information about New Zealand's education system and its education providers. Site visitors can get up-to-date education news, interact in online discussion forums, comment on articles and subscribe to regular newsletters.

Keyword search tools enable users to scan both the database and article server.

The site is attracting a high volume of hits by people searching for articles on a wide variety of educational topics and those searching for information about specific providers.

Edusearch.co.nz contains links to other education-based websites as well as providing basic information, like the start and end dates of school terms.

The site also features a calendar of educational events to which site users are invited to submit. Membership on the ever-evolving site is free of charge. Discussion group subjects include gifted children, special needs and the pros and cons of various schools. Users can interact with parents, teachers or children, depending on their needs.

While basic information on every pre-school, school, educational organisation and tertiary institution in the country is listed, educators can promote their organisation by establishing their own boutique site for an annual $150 fee.

Currently, education providers can plug into this service at no cost for two months. It enables them to enhance their school's information, highlight specialty areas, establish a website or include a link to their own website, thus ensuring more traffic and a wider reach.

Any information added is automatically linked to the site's keyword search function so that, for example, if a school listed "gifted children" as a specialty area, site visitors who plugged in that keyword would be referred to that school.

Edusearch.co.nz, which has already been added as a link from other important sites, went live in March and, during that month, with no advertising or marketing, it attracted over 10,000 hits. That number is steadily rising.

For further information contact: Glenys Stanton 025 285 2136

Ruth Amrien 021 139 1247


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