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Speech: Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy launch

Hon Nikki Kaye

Associate Minister
of Education

15 November 2013

Speech: Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy launch

Talofa lava, Kia orana, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Bula vinaka, Namaste, Malo ni, Halo ola keta, Mauri, Fakatalofa atu and greetings.

Good morning.

I’d like to acknowledge:

Russell Burt - Principal of Point England School (and Dorothy Burt);
Teachers, staff and students of Point England School;
Pat Snedden – Chair of Manaiakalani Education Trust and other members of the Trust;
Stuart McCutcheon - Vice Chancellor, University of Auckland
Other distinguished educators and leading IT and education sector representatives

I’m delighted to be here at the launch of the Digital Teaching Academy.

Global Education Symposium

I arrived back this morning from the first Google Global Education Symposium in California.

I have been part of some great discussions about the power of technology in improving education systems across the world.

It is a tribute to Manaiakalani that you had a platform on this global stage. However, it is not surprising given your long-standing relationship with Google and the high regard in which you are held.

As you know, the Government is focused on providing equity of access and you are paving the way in this area.

What we are very clear about, and what came through strongly at the global symposium, is that we must start from a vision of education, not technology.

Technology is a powerful enabler, and can potentially solve many issues such as equity and collaboration. However, it requires smart investment and buy-in from educators, parents and students.

Digital Teaching Academy

This exciting new training facility has been established thanks to the ground-breaking partnership between the Manaiakalani Education Trust, Google, the Innovation Partnership, and the University of Auckland.

This type of partnership reflects emerging approaches to collaboration in the education sector.

It demonstrates the unique benefits of digital technologies, and the advantages of working together with other leading private, education sector, and community partners to achieve improved learning outcomes.

The Manaiakalani Education Trust has shown strong leadership for the education sector with digital technology, and I know that the Trust has also been working extensively with other schools and clusters across New Zealand on how best to work in partnership with their communities.

It’s great to see the Trust building on your considerable expertise to benefit other schools and communities.

Supporting partnerships

Our Government supports partnerships like this one, which bring together educators, the school community, and the private sector with a shared focus on lifting achievement and creating innovative new opportunities.

I want to also acknowledge Manaiakalani for leading the way on learning with digital technologies and establishing innovative approaches, such as the School Wide Area Network, that others can learn from.

I believe that there will be an opportunity to further support the work that you are doing.

I have asked the Secretary of Education to work alongside you over the next three months to determine what that support could look like.

We are living in a technologically-rich country and more of us are living more of our lives online, and in more sophisticated and creative ways. This is especially true for young people.

We particularly want to focus on ensuring that our priority learners benefit from technology, that is, Māori, Pasifika, students with special education needs and students from low income families.

Digital technologies support more personalised and tailored learning opportunities. These are learning opportunities that recognise an individual student’s strengths, talents and needs, and their identity, language and culture.

Students can access relevant and exciting learning opportunities without being bound by the walls of their classroom or school.

Real world problem-solving activities incorporating knowledge of family members and local communities can become common practice.

Investing in infrastructure and a 21st century leaning strategy

We believe technology in education is a game changer which can significantly improve our economic success and quality of life.

Adopting the right approach to 21st century learning will require change across the education sector.

I expect the report from the 21st Century Learning Reference Group will form much of the basis of the Government’s strategy. I expect to make announcements about the recommendations of the reference group in the near future.

The Government has made a multi-million dollar investment in the infrastructure to enable learning to happen in a secure and reliable digital environment.

This year, we increased funding to speed up the rollout of broadband to schools and provide improved wireless connectivity. We announced that the Government will be funding schools’ access to the managed network provided by Network for Learning.

The managed network will provide schools with safe, predictable and fast internet with uncapped data, content filtering and network security services.

Digital hubs

I am pleased to announce today that schools will be able to share their school fibre connection with their wider communities via digital hubs.

This means, for example, that schools will be able to follow Manaiakalani’s lead in providing a School Wide Area Network for students to access the school’s online services from outside school grounds and hours.

Alternatively, school communities with poor connectivity, typically in rural or remote settings, could make their fibre infrastructure available to a third party internet service provider to sell to the wider community.

This move will support students to engage in learning anywhere, anytime.

It will give families greater ability to engage with their children’s learning and school, and potentially strengthen school’s connections with their communities.

This arrangement will not suit every school, but I think for certain rural and lower socio-economic communities there will be benefits.

The Ministry of Education will be providing guidelines and information to Boards on how to go about doing this safely, to ensure that schools protect their ability to receive network connections from N4L, and avoid additional costs or responsibilities from connectivity sharing agreements.

The Ministry will be publishing a set of principles for sharing access to school’s connectivity infrastructure, and making guidelines and templates available to schools before the beginning of the 2014 school year.

I have asked the Ministry to work with the New Zealand School Trustees Association and prospective internet service providers to develop these guidelines.

Thank you for your pioneering work and your commitment to raising achievement and improving the lives of the people of Tamaki. The legacy of your work in education and technology is wider than just this community. There are many teachers across New Zealand who have been inspired by Manaiakalani. Thank you for the opportunity to be here with you today.


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