Crown company releases new four-year strategy
A new four-year strategy for Crown Company Network for Learning (N4L) has been released, which explores new ways to bridge the digital inequity divide for students.
Designed to support the government’s goals for education, particularly around removing barriers of access to 21st century education, N4L’s new Statement of Intent (SOI) builds on the growth and success of its student-focused Managed Network, which provides more than 2450+ schools smart and safe internet services for learning.
CEO Larrie Moore says the schools’ data consumption has doubled within a year and that it’s important the company responds to the ways students learn now and in future: “Teachers and students are using the internet in ways like never before – and our ambition is to provide them with a safe and seamless online learning experience regardless of where they connect to the internet.
“We are working hard to remove the barriers that prevent connectivity, and the barriers that prevent principals, teachers and students from using technology to enable learning.”
The three areas outlined in N4L’s new SOI include:
- Connecting Schools – Upgrading the Managed Network
To meet the growing needs for more bandwidth and robust security in schools, N4L will boost its internet safety and security capabilities and make it easier for schools to get more internet capacity when they need it. More robust protection against online threats, such as phishing and ransomware; and simpler reporting tools are a key part of this workstream, which kicks off in July 2018 and is expected to be complete by October 2019.
For example, the upgrade will better equip schools to manage the filtering needs of individual classes and students, and prevent attempts to bypass the school’s internet filtering with VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).
- Connecting Classrooms – Smart School Programme
Many schools are without the means or skills to manage their wireless networks which can come under pressure as more devices are added. To help further reduce IT complexity, N4L will explore options to extend its Managed Network services beyond the school communications cabinet and into individual classrooms, shifting the point of connection closer to the learner. N4L’s stream of work in this area will focus on the challenges faced by small schools with fewer than 100 students.
- Connecting Learners – Equitable Digital Access for Students
As a key partner for the government’s ‘equitable digital access for students’ programme, N4L will continue to explore ways to bridge the digital divide for students living without a suitable home internet connection so they can carry on their learning at home via the Managed Network. These students will be able to login to the Managed Network from their home, giving them the access to the same safe (filtered), uncapped internet they get at school.
N4L is already involved with a series of pilots to inform the next steps of this programme and is working alongside MOE, local government, technology companies, and the school community on models that can scale to other areas of the country.
Schools consuming more data
Schools consumed more than 12 petabytes through N4L’s internet filtering tools during the first two school terms of 2018 (Jan 29 – July 6); almost double the amount of data consumed during the same time last year. More than 374 million websites, and 118,000 viruses and malware threats were blocked across the Managed Network during the same timeframe.
About Network for Learning (N4L)
Crown company Network for Learning (N4L) connects more than 2400 schools across New Zealand to fast, reliable, safe, uncapped internet via its Managed Network. The service is fully funded and managed for schools, allowing every student and teacher seamless access to the internet for their learning, regardless of where they go to school. The company works alongside education, government, and technology partners to help schools get the most from digital connectivity. For more information, please visit www.n4l.co.nz.