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Principals embrace Oracle’s educational initiative

More than 1400 NZ principals embrace Oracle’s educational initiative

Oracle and NZ government meet to discuss success of Think.com Think.com, an online educational initiative between Oracle Corporation and the Ministry of Education is being embraced by almost 50 percent of New Zealand principals.

Think.com is a free Oracle web-based environment - being implemented by the Ministry of Education - designed for the educational sector to build and maintain online communities. Personal web pages and email accounts are provided to enable primary and secondary school principals to discuss, collaborate and debate online and to upload images, play videos, and explore themes within local and global Think.com communities.

Rolled out in February this year, the Think.Com project is well ahead of schedule with 1400 principals now accessing the four different Think.com online communities. These include “TKI Central”, “Principals Electronic Network (PEN)”, “New Principals Online (NPO)” and “ICT Online” (managers of the Lead School Network initiative).

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said these environments provide principals with new ways to communicate and share ideas online.

“This is an exciting opportunity. We were aiming to introduce 600 principals to the PEN community every year for four years but we’ve more than doubled this in the eight months Think.com has been running.”

The success of Think.com to date has prompted two international Oracle executives to meet with Trevor Mallard in Auckland today, one year since Prime Minister Helen Clark formally announced the availability of Think.com in New Zealand.

One of the visiting executives, Think.com Vice President Nicole Melander, said she is particularly glad to see the project being adopted so aggressively by New Zealand principals as it provides an excellent example of a long term, sustainable approach to bringing technology into the classroom.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said that Think.com, which features 100 percent local content and no advertising, fits well with this government’s agenda to facilitate the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) into the everyday life of schools.

“The project has helped principals foster successful school management through professional dialogue. It’s an integral part of a range of initiatives that have been established to assist principals to collaborate and share their experiences, insights and knowledge, and to access quality information online.”

Stephanie Thompson of Waihola District School in South Otago, one of the principals active in the PEN community, said she is very supportive of the Think.com concept and sees it as key in the future delivery of educational services.

“Think.com provides principals all over the country with the tools to share their day-to-day experiences. It’s a great tool for professional discourse and the experience I have gained has enriched my technology skills,” Ms Thompson said.

The next step of the project involves trialing a fifth online Think.com community, “Future Proof”, which will see New Zealand school students using Think.com for the first time.

“Future Proof” will enable participating students to meet each other online and to work collaboratively on a range of topics together. New Zealand is the first country in the Asia Pacific region and the fourth of five countries in the world to receive Think.com

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