New initiatives to ensure barrier-free student internet access for learning.

N4L CEO Greg Woolley, Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie and Haeata Community Campus Principal Andy Kai Fong

Network for Learning (N4L) is taking another step toward ensuring barrier-free student access to its Managed Network internet services for learning, working with telecommunications company Chorus on a number of future-focused initiatives announced today.

The government-funded Managed Network is used by more than 811,000 students and teachers across 2400-plus schools throughout New Zealand, providing fast, reliable, uncapped and safe internet for learning.  

Given the significant rise of internet consumption and device use in schools, the three initiatives announced by Chorus today describe joint initiatives with N4L to ensure the Crown company can continue to respond to the needs of schools now and in the future, and to help achieve the Government’s goal of focusing on 21st century learning*.

The initiatives will be closely developed alongside N4L’s other technology partners, as well as its key stakeholders across government and education, to ensure that schools can continue to access as much internet for their learning in a way that meets their needs, with further details released in the coming months.

N4L CEO Greg Woolley says N4L is committed to its goal of providing equitable access to digital technology for every student in New Zealand regardless of their location or socio-economic status.

“The initiatives announced today support N4L’s aspiration to achieve digital equity for Kiwi kids. Removing speed constraints and simplifying technology in schools, especially for those in rural and isolated areas with little or no ready access to technical support, is an important step along the journey to barrier-free access”.

Haeata Community Campus pilot: student wireless home education

Feedback from schools using the Managed Network indicates learning is not confined to school hours, and that there are many students with limited or no internet access at home.

One of the initiatives announced by Chorus today includes a trial planned with Haeata Community Campus, where students will be able to log into the Managed Network from home to access the same safe (filtered), uncapped internet experience they get at school.

Haeata Community Campus Principal Andy Kai Fong is excited about the trial, pointing out that approximately 50% of his student population does not have internet access in the home:

“Allowing our students to learn online at home in the same way they do at school will really make a difference for our school. Because we know that home internet access allows and enthuses our students to continue their learning at home.

“We have examples of students who have continued with their passions and projects from school, and they can only do this, with access at home. For example, we’ve got a student working on project to start a school radio station. He’s been doing research after school and on weekends around the required equipment and costs because he’s so excited about the idea.

“This wouldn’t happen if he didn’t have access to the internet at home”.

N4L CEO Greg Woolley says delivering student wireless access at home for Haeata Community Campus will considerably help reduce this inequity for those kids within the trial area:

“The proliferation of devices and home internet access is widening the digital inequity divide, where some students have access to the tools and connectivity for learning out of hours, and others do not.

“It’s critical we continue to work together with our partners like Chorus, planning and trialling new innovative programmes so we can ensure the 811,000 students and teachers using the Managed Network can learn and teach in a way that meets their needs today and in the years ahead”.

*Labour’s Education Manifesto: