Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the launch of a new advisory service aimed at helping schools make the most of rapidly expanding opportunities for digital learning.
“The service enables teachers to get expert help, either online or over the phone, on any questions they have about digital learning,” Kaye says.
“There are all sorts of digital devices and online learning tools available today that can make learning more engaging, more fun and more effective."
According to Kaye, the new service will help teachers find out what will work best for them, and provide any guidance needed on how to use the technology available to them.
The government will invest $5 million in the Connected Learning Advisory - Te Ara Whitiki service over the next three years.
The service is delivered by CORE Education, which offers a range of e-based learning and development services while all state-funded and state-integrated primary and secondary schools and kura can access the service for free.
The service includes a helpdesk, as well as face-to-face and online regional and national learning events based on identified needs.
“This is an important service because while most schools believe digital technologies can positively affect learning, many teachers feel they lack the necessary skills to use these technologies to best effect in the classroom," Kaye adds.
“The service will help teachers see what’s out there and how they can use it, and also help them keep up to date with the fast pace of change in this area."
Kaye says the new service complements the ultrafast broadband that is currently being rolled out to schools.
Participating schools are being linked to ultrafast broadband via the Network for Learning (N4L) Managed Network and because it’s centrally managed, Kaye says schools don’t need to support their own internet connection, "reducing ICT complexity and costs."
“This is about giving teachers the skills and knowledge to ensure the government’s investment in infrastructure pays off where it counts, in the classroom," he adds.