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Farnet North – Boost for Northland Schools

Thursday 20 September 2001 Media Statement

Farnet North - Boost for Northland Schools

The Government’s vision to spark ideas and innovation using information and communications technology is becoming a reality for students at Far North secondary schools, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

“Today’s launch of 'Farnet Learning Communities' involving ten secondary schools in the Far North is a major step forward for the schools, their students, teachers and families,” Prime Minister Helen Clark said.

The Farnet initiative has seen Far North secondary schools hard wired and fitted out with high speed Internet access, computers, and on-line educational resources thanks to the Government’s Digital Opportunities partnership with key information and communication technology businesses.

The launch saw students and teachers carrying out project work involving the Telecom Challenge Trans-Atlantic Rowing Team, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Education, and communicating and sharing their investigations using the information technology.

“The Farnet project is now live. Students and teachers in these remote areas can email, surf the Internet and tap into a huge range of digital curriculum resources to learn more, and discover new ideas and new ways of doing things.

“As a government we are developing and implementing programmes and policies to transform the economy and develop an information society.

“We want to take every step we can to promote innovation and creativity, to spark the entrepreneurial spirit, and to raise awareness of New Zealand’s role in the global economy.

“Exposing these Far North communities to on-line opportunities in partnership with business is a real and measurable way of meeting these objectives," Helen Clark said.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the project was one of four Digital Opportunities Projects the Government has put in place in schools to help turn the digital divide into digital opportunity.

“The whole idea behind this joint government-business initiative in the Far North is to bring learning and teaching alive.

“The information and communications technology going into the secondary schools is being used to help teachers deliver the maths and science curricula, and help students enjoy learning, expose them to innovative approaches, and encourage them to come up with new ideas using this technology,” Trevor Mallard said.

“Giving these remote secondary schools the ability to tap into some of the best tools available in information and communication technology is a fantastic starting point for creating an information society.”

The Learning Centre Trust (which manages the TKI portal), Telecom, IBM, Microsoft, Renaissance, and TVNZ have all been partners with the government in this project.

It is one of four Digital Opportunities Pilot Projects in which the government is investing $10.4 million over four years.

Background information on the Learning Communities and other digital opportunities projects

The Learning Communities pilot project provides 10 schools in the Far North (Bay of Islands College, Okaihau College, Broadwood Area School, Kaitaia College, Taipa Area School, Kerikeri High School, Northland College, Pangaru Area School, Opononi Area School, Whangaroa College) with:

- Computer based bilingual learning resources, including interactive and tailored materials targeted at the maths, science and technology curriculum. This includes creating resources and using existing resources from TVNZ and INL archives.

- Good quality connections to the Internet (minimum 128k - two way connection).

- Computers, software, and professional development.

- The resources are available through Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), the Ministry of Education’s bilingual education portal.

- The project encourages collaborative approaches to curriculum planning and delivery.

GenXP" - ICT Technology Training - West Auckland and Gisborne

"FarNet"- Learning Communities in the Far North

"Wick-Ed"- ICT Boosted Study Support Centres in Southland & Canterbury

"Notebook Valley" - Lap-tops for Teachers and Senior Students - Hutt

Valley


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