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ICT & Procurement 2011 // www.educationreview.co.nz

STRETCHING DOLLARS for NEw ClaSSrooMS

karEN For BEgInnErs

top 10 sEcrEts of BETTEr BuyINg ToDDlErS & TEChNology

THE DEBATE on New Zealand

part of the

1:1

EDUCATION REVIEWseries


EDUCATION NEEDS TO RESPOND TO NEW CHALLENGES. ARE YOU PREPARED TO LEAD THE WAY?

To find out more:

0800 AUT UNI www.auteducation.ac.nz

AUT/369/EDL/ER

EDUC ATIONAL L E ADER SHIP P OS TGR ADUAT E Educational leaders now need to step outside of the ordinary. AUT’s Master of Educational Leadership goes beyond administrative leadership, into the important areas of new technologies, the impact of world and government policies, and cultural diversity. Knowledge like this provides an appreciation and acknowledgement of our changing world and the aspirations of its local communities. Leaders in education need to be ethical leaders, who understand and can lead and manage the process of change, and are prepared for the new challenges it inevitably brings.

The Universit y for the changing world.


Buying into a high-tech future

Thoughts of “genius” and “gifted” fluttered through my mind as I recently watched our daughter, just turned one, successfully operate our iPod nano. After sharing this revelation (as nonchalantly as possible) with friends also blessed/burdened with one-year-olds, I was swiftly brought back down to earth; it would appear that babies and toddlers are generally very adept at grasping the concepts of new technology. This prompted me to look more into the issue. How much is technology ingrained into our early childhood education curriculum? And is it wise to expose children to technology at such a young age? Kidicorp offer interesting insights on the subject in the article ‘Toddlers and technology’. The rest of this issue stemmed from there. News and research concerning technology, and particularly its relevance to the education sector, is generated as quickly as the technology itself, or so it would seem. In this issue we journey down to Christchurch for a taste of the amazing research and innovation coming out of the HIT Lab NZ (think robots and the like). We also explore the extent to which social media can be used to map the moods of a nation – invaluable information for the modern advertiser. And given the frenzy around Rugby World Cup 2011, it seemed only polite to consider the current and future technological implications for the game with the odd-shaped ball. It is plain to see that technology and procurement are closely linked. Schools have all sorts of purchasing decisions to make and we take a closer look at a variety of things schools can spend their money on to enhance the environment for students and teachers alike. Soundfield amplification for classrooms, wireless networks and videoconferencing systems are among those discussed in this issue. We delve into the debate on compulsory technology for students and are fortunate to gain an insight into the decisions of four quite different New Zealand schools on their ICT procurement policies, and views on one-to-one ratios of device per student. Troy Smith’s research on how schools are spending the technological dollar should also prove to be useful for many readers. Beyond ICT, we look at other aspects of procurement. We talk to Melanie Taylor, principal of the newly-built Golden Sands Primary School in Papamoa, for her experience and advice on how to make money go further in outfitting a new classroom. With the recent marine oil spill placing Papamoa in the world media spotlight, we also take a closer look at this rapidly-growing suburb and consider how education factors into the overall strategy for dealing with local population growth. New Zealand’s new Procurement Academy has taken a high profile, with experts offering training and courses to help organisations make purchasing decisions. We are lucky to have leaders of the academy put together a “dummies’ guide” to spending, which will hopefully be a useful reference for schools and businesses alike. I would like to encourage readers to pop online and have their say on any of these articles in this jam-packed issue dedicated to procurement and technology. Similarly, please get in touch if you have a topic you would like to see discussed in any of the themed issues of New Zealand Education Review for 2012. Jude Barback, editor editor@educationreview.co.nz

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INSIDE:

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36 32

41 Editor Jude Barback Advertising Belle Hanrahan production manager Barbara la Grange SuB-editor Alex Staines Publisher & general manager Bronwen Wilkins Contributing writer David Craig

2 Four different schools join the debate on 1:1 devices 6 Jude Barback examines the 1:1 preoccupation 7 Student soundbites from Te Puke High School 8 Troy Smith looks at higher trails for the technological classroom 10 From Murrays Bay Intermediate, three student voices on technology in the classroom 12 Andre Basel on the wireless world at Rosmini College 13 KAREN for dummies 15 Education Minister Anne Tolley reports on political progress 16 NZ’s new Procurement Academy shares the top 10 secrets of better buying 18 Allanah King on the yellow brick ICT road 20 Cognition Education’s Tracy Bowker reflects on digital technologies into the future 22 From Plato to iPads 23 Ben Kepes presents varsity in the clouds 24 Rugby: technology and the tries 26 Catching the drips with PPPs 27 Social change initiative is creating an accessible world 28 School boom in the Bay of Plenty focuses on strategies to accommodate population growth 30 YouTube Education channel is a big deal, reports Jude Barback 31 “It’s like they’re not listening to a word I say.” 32 Stretching dollars for new classrooms – Q & A with principal Melanie Taylor 34 NZ lab is hitting the mark at the cutting edge of tech research 35 The best educational apps around 36 Toddlers and technology 38 Jude Barback examines the darker side of ICT 39 Five traits of an effective 21st century teacher 40 Debbie Currie shares what goes on in Room 7 41 Suresh Sood analyses the many moods of social media 43 Business growth is going fast forward in Wellington, reports David Craig 44 Roll call for new secondary funding model 46 The future of face to face – videoconferencing for the classroom 48 Clever tech teachers rewarded

ICT & Procurement

APN Educational Media Level 1, Saatchi & Saatchi Building 101-103 Courtenay Place Wellington 6011 New Zealand PO Box 200, Wellington 6140 Tel: 04 471 1600 Fax: 04 471 1080 © 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Vol. 2 Issue 5

ISSN: 1173-8014 Errors and omissions: Whilst the publishers have attempted to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information, no responsibility can be accepted by the publishers for any errors or omissions. Photos: Getty Images New Zealand

EDUCATION REVIEWseries

Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

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DECISIONS ON devices

The debate

on 1:1

Four schools have their say on the issue of compulsory devices for students. Orewa College – kate shevland, principal Our requirement is for year 9 students to have their own 1:1 device for 2012. Why now? Why this step? Why year 9? Like many schools, we have encouraged our students to bring laptops or netbooks to school. The take-up has not given us the critical mass needed to change the way students learn and the way teachers teach. We don’t want a digital version of what already happens. We have seen primary schools where the use of laptops or tablets has very effectively enhanced independent learning, full engagement and differentiated curriculum pathways. This is what we want in our classrooms. We have noted reports, for example from the New Zealand Institute, the OECD, and the Boston Consulting Group this year on engaging students through IT. We are part of Farnet, a virtual learning network, and our students are accustomed to learning in this way. We are now fully wireless-capable and have UFB. So, time to move. We ran several meetings for our 2011 year 8 parents, as we are a year 7–13 school. We engaged the support of Massey University to monitor and evaluate the ‘1:1 device’ programme. We published information for our school community, organised various purchase options for parents, and selected our year 9 teachers for next year so that training could begin. We chose year 9 because students move from room to room then. Year 7 or 8 would have been easier in our homeroom environment but we needed it to work in a secondary model. Staff involved have iPads, meet at least weekly after school for collaborative sharing or external expertise. Students and staff have workshopped protocols for the practical use of one-to-one devices in the classroom. Feedback, despite an initial media blitz, has been overwhelmingly positive. We have had businesses offering deals, schools wishing to collaborate with us, and IT people providing

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input. While we expect that students from all year levels will bring devices next year, many of them iPads, our pedagogical change is focused on year 9. We expect that with sufficient IT infrastructure, access, portability and staff readiness, we will begin to realise the full potential for student learning.

Queen Margaret College – richard knuckey, head of ict Queen Margaret College is an independent girls’ school (years 1–13) located in central Wellington. 2011 is the first year of implementation of a 1:1 laptop programme starting with years 6, 7 and 8 girls. Years 9 and 10 students will come on board over the next two years, with seniors using a computing device of their choice to connect to the school network. Designed to complement the curriculum

Queen Margaret College student using her compulsory laptop.

and ensure girls develop appropriate computer literacy skills for the fast-paced learning environment of the 21st century, the programme is compulsory. Each student has a uniform machine and image. From a management perspective, the rationale behind this was to enable seamless automatic connection to the school domain, and provide access to network drives, easy printing, and the monitoring of computer usage of students on the network. From a teaching and learning perspective, it means that all teachers can plan their lessons, comfortable in the knowledge that access to the required hardware, software, and online resources would be the same for each student, and lessons wouldn’t be held up with one-off troubleshooting situations. The laptops used in the programme were selected on the basis of performance, price, light weight, and battery life. All girls have a secure locker and the bag chosen is sufficiently small to fit inside a school backpack. Upon lengthy consultation with all learning areas in the school, a uniform image was developed by the school’s ICT technical team. This includes an extensive and diverse range of software with application across the entire curriculum. An induction programme was run by the school’s head of e-learning, Richard Knuckey, at the start of the year, with ongoing support provided through an on-site ICT help desk. Students have benefited greatly from the 1:1 programme. Having access to a wide range of learning and research materials online, student engagement in lessons is increased, there is greater scope for differentiated learning and students are more creative in the ways they present their learning using written, audio, or visual means. Students have gained a marked increase in IT competency, specifically pertaining to general use and care of a computer as well as familiarity with Windows and Microsoft software, internet safety and ethics, web 2.0 Continued on page 4 >>


Digital devices are not compulsory for students at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, but are actively encouraged.

Rangi Ruru Girls’ School – julie moor, principal Rangi Ruru was one of the first New Zealand schools to connect to the internet and offer this tool to support teaching and learning, socialising and collaboration in and outside the classroom. Today, Rangi Ruru provides a wide range of technology including a substantial wired and wireless network, across the school campus. It is not compulsory for Rangi Ruru students to have a particular, or any, digital device for school. I have no doubt that in time – and probably not that long – as it becomes increasingly useful and convenient, the majority of the girls will have a device with them, but we have not yet reached that time and we do not want to mandate something that the research does not support as being essential when girls have access, on a need-to-use basis, to a wide range of devices. Rangi Ruru’s IT philosophy has always been that as a school we will provide ubiquitous technology, and where a specific device is preferable, that is what we

provide. Clearly it would reduce our capital expenditure considerably if we simply said every girl was to bring her own, but we believe it is better to have a kind of guided evolution, allowing people to make choices but providing support, skills and encouragement. At last year’s prizegiving, I suggested parents consider a device such as laptop, netbook or iPad for their daughter, and since then we have actively encouraged girls to use such devices in their learning. Some do. Some prefer not to. In some classes such a device is an integral part of the learning while in others it is far from essential. The use of technology, while requiring planning and staff development, is something that constantly evolves. In the meantime we ensure that the skills required to work with a range of devices are covered, so that our students have the capacity to confidently use whatever is required for their learning and living. We do believe it is essential that students remain able to handwrite clearly, confidently and quickly. Handwriting is not going away! Examinations are still, in the main,

handwritten, and this is likely to remain the situation in the foreseeable future, apart from provision for students who require special conditions. Handwriting is a skill that remains important for our students, just as increasingly their digital development is a vital part of learning. As in most schools, our students are far more digitally capable in some areas than their teachers or parents and are aware of the capabilities that technology has to support and enhance their learning. This capability is one of the greatest changes and challenges education has seen. As a school we intend to maximise and grow this capability, but we also recognise that change that involves ‘guided evolution’ rather than being forced is far more effective. We want to be able to support and engage every learner, from the high-end technology user to the girl who likes to mix and match, and we will continue to work on ways to make it easy and productive for girls to use their devices, whatever they are, creatively, authentically and productively to support and enhance their learning.

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DECISIONS ON devices

<< Continued from page 2 tools, and general computer trouble-shooting. One development has been the use of e-portfolios using Microsoft OneNote. This has been a great tool for both teachers and students, providing students with a one-stop portfolio for all their subjects. It also allows teachers to provide feedback at any time to any assignment without the need to collect in books or paper. It enables students to take away a digital folio comprised of multiple media resources of their year’s learning and reflection. The development of both teacher and student e-portfolios using OneNote will be a focus during 2012. The 1:1 laptop programme so far has been a great success. As the nature of IT changes, the way Queen Margaret College uses it to enhance teaching and learning will no doubt change as well.

Te Aroha College – troy smith, head of ict Te Aroha College is a small decile 4 country town school serving a community of around 4000. The college is located at the southern end of the Hauraki Plains and has a roll of 360 students, 85 of whom are currently in year 9. The college’s total computer count is currently around 300, with roughly two thirds available for student use.

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Te Aroha College has an extensive ICT network that is in continual development, with well-resourced ICT rooms and wider network. This year the college installed a third ICT suite and third set of Computers on Wheels (COWs). Seven years ago, the school invested in gigabit fibre, allowing the spread of workstations and wireless into remote classroom blocks. The COWs are Acer Windows 7 devices and join to the recently upgraded Ruckus Wireless network. The college has seven 7962 access points (APs), all controlled centrally by a zone director, and expects to purchase five additional APs in the next six months to have total coverage amongst the buildings, allowing seamless roaming around the school. All teaching staff at Te Aroha are supplied with TELA laptops, fully funded by the board of trustees, and each classroom has a dedicated teacher workstation linked to a projector and sound system. This allows easy access to Moodle, Kamar and Clickview by full-time and relieving staff alike. The college has a vision of 1:1 computing and full integration of the SMS and LMS into their website, allowing the entire community access to the classroom, college culture and achievements. The college would like to see each student with a portable web-enabled device, but does not expect parents to pay for

this and the college will not be providing it. At Te Aroha, no technology ownership is compulsory. However, it is expected that students supply calculators; if they cannot, then the school will supply these for them. Te Aroha’s policy is that a family’s financial situation should not affect their children’s learning. Students who do own laptops or iPads are allowed to use them in class where appropriate and can join them onto the school wireless network. Mobile devices are however not to be seen or heard, in or out of class, unless permission is specifically expressed by the teacher for pedagogical reasons. The college endeavours to provide realistic ICT solutions that cater to the learning needs of individuals and provide the teaching solutions required by their teachers, and is currently developing an ICT sustainability plan to forecast future repairs, maintenance and developments. Technology in the classroom is a catalyst for learning and the multimedia lifestyle today’s digital native students have outside school dictates that a digital approach to teaching needs to be used. The very few studies that show technology in the classroom to have a negative effect on learning notwithstanding, without proper management every teacher is aware of what a distraction this can become. n


one-to-one

The 1:1 preoccupation A computer in the hands of every child does not necessarily ensure they are meeting desired learning outcomes. JUDE BARBACK looks at different views on the subject.

M

any New Zealand schools are preoccupied with achieving a 1:1 ratio of students per computers or devices. However, perhaps too much emphasis is placed on this goal at the expense of one-to-one teacher–student time. Interestingly, Adam Garry, manager of global professional learning at Dell, agrees. “1:1 should be a learning initiative instead of a tech initiative,” says Garry, in an interview with ZDNet Education’s Christopher Dawson. Both Garry and Dawson agreed that technology can be leveraged in such costeffective ways that the focus of 1:1 should no longer be on how we get students computers and maintain them all, but how we use the technology to improve teaching, learning and student achievement. University of Southern Queensland’s Peter Albion says laptop programmes in schools are often promoted as an answer but many of those promoting them appear to be following a trend rather than asking the relevant questions. As Dawson says, without an underlying platform for learning and a clearly defined strategy for using the technology both in and out of the classroom, ultimately all you have are a whole lot of expensive typewriters. The reality is that financial hurdles will always be a factor for some schools in trying to supply computers to all their students, yet a variety of solutions can be used to maximise student access. After all, 1:1 can take many forms. Schools are increasingly providing the platform in the forms of wireless access, virtual classrooms and social learning, but allowing students to bring their own devices to access these platforms (with appropriate subsidies for those who cannot afford to). This approach obviously brings its own challenges, not least among them the disadvantage to those students who cannot afford their own device, even if computers are supplied at school for them. Ultimately, however, it lets schools focus on the platform and learning rather than hardware acquisition. Albion agrees. “The educational need is not to have a computer in the hands of every student but for students to be able to access

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appropriate processing power, software and data as required.” Either way, schools are at that point where they have sufficient digital assets and access to support truly personalised learning. Dell is piloting a personalised learning platform with

shouldn’t be forsaken for laptops and iPads. That is not to undermine the power behind technology as a means to achieving improvements in literacy, numeracy and all manner of subjects. Take reading for example. The introduction of levelled reading

“The educational need is not to have a computer in the hands of every student but for students to be able to access appropriate processing power, software and data as required.” the underpinning notion being that every student can show mastery of subject matter in many ways. These platforms will be driven by formative and summative assessments and will cater to students’ learning styles and needs. However, platforms such as Dell’s won’t drive success on their own. Student achievement can’t improve on technological advances and access alone. It is merely a tool to leverage student learning. The national drive for improved literacy and numeracy

or remediation software could make a vast difference to student achievement. Early 1:1 computing initiatives entailed significant technological challenges and sometimes seemed to be more about marketing than education. Though the suitability of technology for classroom applications has improved, the real issue continues not to be one of provision but rather of ensuring that learners and teachers can access and transform information as required. n


STuDENT SouNDBITES

Education Review asks students at Te Puke High School how technology aids their learning. yaSMIN, yEar 11 Q: What technology do you use? a: Digital camera, laptop Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: Art, homework Q: How does it help your learning? a: To catch up out of school hours SukhPrEET, yEar 13 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: ICT, English, maths, economics, chemistry Q: How does it help your learning? a: In research, finding and learning new information and typing rEBEkkah, yEar 11 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop/computer Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: English, PE, ICT, homework Q: How does it help your learning? a: Research, out-of-school work NaThaN, yEar 12 Q: What technology do you use? a: Computer Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: Graphics, history, ICT, English Q: How does it help your learning? a: Researching, creating documents lENNIE, yEar 13 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: None Q: How does it help your learning? a: They don’t

hEIDI, yEar 13 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: ICT, tourism, early childhood education, Gateway, English Q: How does it help your learning? a: For research, typing and the internet ShaE, yEar 13 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop/Mac Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: Design, photography, ICT, geography, study Q: How does it help your learning? a: Photoshop, research ErIN, yEar 11 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop, digital camera Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: ICT, SFL, English, Spanish Q: How does it help your learning? a: Researching, creating documents, schoolwork raMNETT, yEar 11 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop, digital camera Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: ICT, English, PE and homework Q: How does it help your learning? a: Creating documents, researching faster kErryN, yEar 13 Q: What technology do you use? a: Laptop Q: For what subjects do you use this technology? a: ICT, English, tourism, stats, design, photography Q: How does it help your learning? a: Design, typing and researching EDUCATION REVIEW series ICT & Procurement 2011

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TROY SMITH, head of ICT at a New Zealand secondary school, writes about how to spend the educational technology dollar strategically.

Higher trails for the technological classroom

R

eaders of this article might well be in a situation similar to what I was in 12 months ago. As head of ICT, I needed to advise my school on whether to buy computers on wheels, workstations, tablets or smart phones, and many other technologies. I can save you some reading – the answer is “yes, we should buy all of these things”. Obviously, it is not that simple, hence I have spent the past year completing a literature review on “how to spend the educational technology dollar in New Zealand” as a guide to developing a strategic plan for the next three years of spending on ICT in our school. This is a summary of my findings and some opinion on changes that perhaps are needed internally and nationally to best manage this. Internationally, the United Kingdom was

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the educational technology leader prior to the liquidation of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA). This happened in March this year due to government cuts resulting from the global financial crisis. However, prior to going under, BETCA was responsible for driving many innovative technological advances with which New Zealand is now playing ‘catch up’; namely the introduction of full-speed fibre into schools, laptops for teachers and an interactive whiteboard programme from the late 1990s. Horizon reports, which attempt to predict coming international trends in educational technologies on an annual basis, also have a good track record in anticipating technologies that have eventually become a part of New Zealand’s education system. The Horizon

reports successfully predicted the effects of learning management systems, social networks and ubiquitous mobile devices from 2004. These technologies have also been noted by Core Education in their top 10 trends in New Zealand this year. The current major investment in educational technology in New Zealand is the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband (UFB) and the Schools Network Upgrade Project (SNUP), a project to ready schools’ network infrastructure for gigabit and beyond data rates. This investment is evidence to schools of the importance that the government places on e-learning in New Zealand classrooms and will go a long way to help bridge the technology gap that exists between New Zealand and other leading OECD countries.


ict spending

The Ministry of Education has released its latest requirements for school network technologies and cabling, with far more detail and specifications than the previous release from 2004. To take full advantage of these initiatives, schools should build a mutually beneficial relationship with their preferred technology suppliers and technical support companies, without being limited either to one company or to too many. Schools should use companies that have overlapping areas of expertise so that advice can be sought from different contractors to reduce the risk of losing ownership of their technology infrastructure. Ideally, these contractors should work in collaboration with the schools’ teaching and management staff to create an ICT strategic plan for the future to best make use of the SNUP and ensure that the systems remain operational in years to come. The money that is being invested in school network infrastructure by the ministry – beyond the operational funding and building grants already given to schools – indicates the perceived importance of e-learning. As the SNUP funding stops at the wall socket, it is up to the school to decide what technology they put in front of their students. To help decide which technologies to purchase I reviewed many international and national case studies. I found that you don’t have to look very hard to find that any investment in educational technologies results in an improvement in engagement and achievement. However, due to the rapidly changing landscape of educational technology, there are few longitudinal studies demonstrating continued improvements, such is the nature of ICTs. The most talked about technology currently finding its way into the classroom is, like so many others, not designed specifically as a teaching tool. Yet the consumer and marketing hype has worked well for Apple, with some schools adding the iPad to their stationery lists. With the devices being so new, can the teacher really be an expert? In reality, it is probably more likely that the students will be teaching others how to use the device; there is nothing wrong with that – this is collaboration. With so many technologies available it is difficult to know which to choose, so if you take nothing else away from this, remember the following bit! Teachers in New Zealand classrooms need to be connected with the school, online globally and using interactive multimedia tools. To do this, teachers need a computer; to this end TELA is too good an opportunity to pass up and boards of trustees should encourage teachers to use the technology by providing funding for this. OHPs are “very last century”, but they found their way into nearly every classroom. In their

place now should be a good-quality projector with a high contrast ratio so we don’t have to teach in darkened rooms. Teachers need to be able to put together an interesting PowerPoint quickly and easily, hopefully with a funny yet educational video included. This means our classroom needs sound; good quality speakers can be purchased for less than $200 that fill a classroom with enough sound to let the kids in the room next door know you’re having more fun learning. The video can come from the school’s video server or from online; both require network connectivity. Network connectivity does not require every classroom to have a complete wired LAN, as current wireless technology allows an entire campus

guides at government level available on the ministry website; these need to be considered by schools in their strategic planning. In some cases, the community will be consulted as to how much technology is expected and in others the community will need educating as to what the technology can do for them. The board of trustees then needs to ensure it has the best possible technical advisors in place to deliver the technology that implements the school’s strategic plan. This implies that educational technologies that are accepted and expected in one school might be unnecessary in another. Regardless of which educational technologies are chosen and who is expected to provide them, there is a definite need to have

For any educational technology to be effective, the teachers using them must have a strong belief that their use will educate students effectively and to a higher standard than alternative teaching methods. to have coverage from a single gigabit switch and strategically-placed access points. Don’t forget to ensure your classroom is comfortable, with ergonomic seating and desks, a quality temperature control and good lighting – as all these technologies ensure a comfortable learning environment. Teachers need to be able to take still images, moving images with sounds, and record voices to create evidence of good practice and to use as video tutorials for future students. Smart phones can do all of these things. Personally, I would love to see a programme developed similar to TELA that put an Android in every teacher’s pocket. Teachers would need a card reader, a Bluetooth-enabled device and WiFi to get data from students who have phones without memory cards. Teachers should encourage their students to bring their phone’s cable to school to transfer data if no other way is available. This is not a conclusive list of educational technologies needed, rather an opinion of what a modern classroom should at least possess. Certainly, specialist subject teachers have needs that should also be met. However, we need to get the basics right before investing in specific expensive technologies that can only be used by individual departments. For any educational technology to be effective, the teachers using them must have a strong belief that their use will educate students effectively and to a higher standard than alternative teaching methods. The educational technologies employed should be those that have been strategically chosen by their institution to better influence the learning of the students. There are broad e-learning

technological and pedagogically competent leaders in the school who can show the way and advise on ICT procurement and use. The Technology Career Changer Scholarship is one such pathway that allows people with industry knowledge to easily progress in secondary education. This is a start, but perhaps we need more incentives to get highly qualified industry-savvy people into schools to educate our children. Get connected, get interactive and engage with your students in a medium they understand. n Troy Smith is HOD of ICT and systems administrator at Te Aroha College. Troy has a BSc in physics and electronics and received a TeachNZ Careers Changer Scholarship in 2008. Troy has worked as an electronics service technician, embedded electronics developer and ran his own business specialising in motorsport electronics for five years prior to becoming a teacher. Troy’s main interest in education is ubiquitous mobile devices connected to a national and global learning environment via a socially constructed medium. Recommended further reading: CORE Education (2010). eLearnings – Implementing a National Strategy for ICT in Education 1998-2010. Christchurch: CORE Education Ltd. Wright, N (2010). E-learning and implications for New Zealand schools: a literature review. Report to the Ministry of Education: Research & Evaluation.

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STuDENTS Say...

STuDENT voICES

Three students at Murrays Bay Intermediate School on Auckland’s North Shore share their experience of technology in the classroom. luCy hughES, yEar 8 Technology is becoming a huge part of today’s society and the human race depends on it, so Murrays Bay Intermediate School and many other schools have incorporated it into our learning. At Murrays Bay Intermediate, there is a variety of technology used to amplify our learning. For example, there are approximately 13 computers in each classroom as well as an ICT suite. The school has 10 iPads and 40 iPods that can be booked for classes. Each class has a smartboard. Students are allowed to bring their own technological devices such as iPhones and laptops to school to use in class. Our teachers blend the use of technology in with our subjects. In English we use computers to publish our writing; in math we use Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets and the internet for Mathletics and other math websites. Our teachers create workshops on PowerPoint then project them onto the smartboard. Technology in the classroom is a very useful thing. How does technology help? Firstly, using interactive technology in the classroom, such as smartboards and iPads, plays on multiple

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intelligences. Many people learn better with touching and feeling (i.e. bodily kinesthetic) and some with music. It is found that children often work better with music in the background, especially slow music, because the heartbeat slows to match the pace. Also, if a child works alone on an iPad while a group of children concentrate on a workshop projected on the smartboard, it gives the teacher time to work one-on-one with some of the other students. Finally, technology is more ‘green’ and ecofriendly than paper worksheets and books. A variety of technology is used in almost every school subject. The result of it being incorporated into our learning has more pros than cons. Technology in the classroom is a good thing.

aDElE zhao, yEar 8 Technology is being developed to help everyone, so there’s a lot of technology out there that a student can use. There’s a lot of technology provided at school, so I usually just use that. The technology includes things like iPads, iPods, a smartboard and several computers in each class. I find the iPads and

iPods useful during maths, and the smartboard and computers are good for pretty much any subject, but really, the technology can be used to do anything. There’s also WiFi in certain areas, so that means that we can bring our own technology to school and continue on with it at home without having to email it or put it on the internet. I find that by using technology to help with learning, everything becomes interesting, as it makes the subjects interactive and more suited to the students’ way of learning.

Soo-MyouNg jaNg, yEar 8 I use technology in a variety of ways to help me learn, such as computers, ipods and smartboards. These technologies keep me interested in my subjects, and make me want to learn more things as a result. I use these technologies in nearly all my subjects, except for physical education of course. This has improved my grades by a considerable amount, as I am open to a larger range of resources, like the internet, for example. Overall, the use of technology has been extremely beneficial for my learning and my grades. n


wireless network

Wireless

world

Education Review interviews ANDRE BASEL, IT manager for Rosmini College in Auckland about the school’s experience of installing a wireless network.

Q A

What prompted Rosmini College to install a wireless network in the first place?

There were two main motivators. In the short term, staff all had laptops which needed wireless access in order to be truly portable. This justified the immediate need for the wireless network while supporting what we thought was the imminent future of classroom computing – a time when any member of the schooling community would be able to use their own devices on the school network. It was both a practical and strategic decision.

Q A

How did you select your chosen network?

A year previously, after experiencing the pain of deploying four cheap stand-alone accessed points in the school, I got quotes on some enterprise solutions. The prices of these meant that there was no way we could consider these solutions, so I shelved the idea. A year later, I received some marketing in the post from Aruba (who I hadn’t heard of before) and made an email inquiry about their products. The rest is history. Their senior man came out and saw me and I was totally sold, in terms of quality, price, service and ease-of-use. In a very short time, right there in my office, he set up an enterprise-level wireless network and took me through all its features and advantages.

Q A

How was the implementation process? Was it straightforward? Any hiccups? Implementation was painless. The only external help we had was a few hours support from our IT service provider to configure our certificates, radius server and group policies. They also spent a few more hours with Aruba configuring the wireless controller. Since then we have purchased another control, but this time have done the configuration ourselves. Using Aruba’s 24-hour,

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free telephone support means that it is really very simple.

Q

What have been the benefits of the wireless network to students and teachers at Rosmini so far?

A

Currently the main advantage is for staff who can use their laptops, smart phones and personal tablets from almost anywhere in the school. This allows them to be able to access school and other resources without having to worry about connectivity. Student use of the network is still undergoing testing. So far the results are promising, with students being able to use their own devices (without needing them to be specially configured) to do research, download work and submit resources. Students also benefit from the wireless network when they work on the school’s student laptops. Currently history, science, social studies and geography all use pods of laptops to support students’ education.

Q

What are the future plans for Rosmini’s wireless technology and what is the timeframe for these plans?

A

We are looking to purchase another control and hopefully 20 more access points. Our goal is to have an AP in every room and meeting area in the next two years.

Q

What advice would you give to other schools considering implementing a wireless network?

A

An enterprise solution that has centralised management is a must. Do it properly at the beginning. And make sure you have free telephone support managed by engineers who are product experts; I can’t stress enough how important this is, as it has enabled us to

maintain and service our own network without having to outsource it to someone else.

Q A

How did you come to be involved in IT?

I graduated from university with a BSc in physics and computer science. After completing a Higher Diploma in Education in 1993 I started teaching mathematics and computer studies while maintaining and building the school’s network. The schools I worked at initially had either no computer network or a small one. In each case I helped to both develop the infrastructure and dramatically increase its use. At different times, I have also been involved in a home computer business and a web-development business.

Q A

What do you enjoy about your job and what are the frustrations? I love working in a school environment, as schools are always looking to push the boundaries with the least amount of money possible. As such, I get to try and develop different technologies and ideas. I enjoy seeing technology used to bring value to the end user, and not just for technology’s sake. With the move toward tablet computing and the battles between Apple, Android and Microsoft, as well as the many other advances in technology, IT management and development is an exciting place to be. My greatest frustration in general is time and budget – there simply is not enough of either. From the point of view of a teaching environment, teachers each have their own programmes they want to use, and IT requirements vary between departments. Maintaining hybrid systems creates extra management overheads, which put added strain on our time. That said, the positives far outweigh the negatives and here at Rosmini we enjoy great support from our board and senior management, as well as staff. n


research network

KAREN

for Dummies

Word on the techy street is that a new girl in town is set to transform the New Zealand education sector. Her name is KAREN. Should we believe the hype? How is KAREN going to bring about a transformation and is it sustainable? JUDE BARBACK takes a closer look.

Acronym overload ICTPD: Information and Communications Technology Professional Development. Around 60 per cent of schools have completed the Ministry of Educationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ICTPD programme and around 15 per cent of schools are involved in any one year. The ministry is currently looking at how we can further support the development of e-learning capability in all schools. KAREN: Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network.

NEN: National Education Network

trial extension. A 2008 trial, offering 23 schools high-speed access to education content and services, is currently being extended to more schools.

SNUP: The School Network Upgrade Project. Involves progressively upgrading internal data and electrical infrastructure in state and stateintegrated schools.

TELA: Laptops for Teachers and

Principals. Eighty-six per cent of principals and teachers (43,000) are supplied with laptops under the ministryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s TELA scheme.

UFB: Ultra-fast broadband. Continued overleaf >>

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research network << Continued from page 13

So what exactly is KAREN? To be clear, KAREN isn’t a she; KAREN stands for Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network and is a high-capacity, ultra highspeed national research and education network. It connects New Zealand’s tertiary institutions, research organisations, libraries, schools and museums, and the rest of the world. Without wanting to get too technical, KAREN consists of a high-speed optical network connecting points of presence (PoPs) throughout New Zealand. A PoP provides an interconnection point between member sites around the network. KAREN was commissioned in late 2006 to REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd), a Crown-owned, not-for-profit company that owns and operates KAREN.

How does KAREN affect Kiwi schools? Since 2008, REANNZ has been operating a trial of a National Education Network, or NEN, for schools on behalf of the Ministry of Education. A NEN is a dedicated education network connecting schools directly to a range of service providers in New Zealand and internationally, giving schools access to a range of educationrelated content and services via ultra-fast broadband. Phase one of the NEN trial was to understand and quantify the cost and technical issues and options for schools to connect to KAREN. By mid-2008, the trial had entered phase two, which saw the concept of NEN become a reality with 23 schools, and a number of content and service providers connected to KAREN. The main purpose of this phase was to test the architecture developed in phase one and explore some of the pedagogical benefits of ultra-fast broadband. Phase three, which began in 2009, saw the trial expanded to more schools and content and service providers. Up to 200 schools that were part of clusters already connected to open-access fibre

networks, including ‘loop’ clusters in Wellington, NelsonMarlborough, Christchurch, Ashburton and Manawatu took part in phase three of the NEN trial. Schools on the trial found they could better manage their internet bills, as connections to and from trial schools passed over KAREN, avoiding public internet usage charges and eliminating any bandwidth restrictions. They also had access to a range of free ministryprovided services – such as Adobe Connect, e-asTTle, Asnet video conferencing, Virtual Learning Network, LAMS and Elgg – and those provided on a commercial basis including eTV, Moodle, Knowledge NET and Ultranet. Schools not part of the ministry-funded NEN trial can still gain access to KAREN, however they must pay for the costs of the connection to KAREN in addition to the membership fee. As a result of the NEN trial, simple and repeatable KAREN school cluster high-level designs were developed with the purpose of delivering shared IT services from a variety of suppliers.

KAREN’s power and potential New Zealand researchers and educators are now able to take advantage of KAREN’s accessibility and cost-effectiveness to gain access to largescale national and international infrastructure and to collaborate better on research and education projects at a distance. Examples of KAREN’s role in advancing this research collaboration are starting to emerge. The launch of New Zealand e-Science Infrastructure (NeSI) is a case in point. The new national supercomputer network, recently launched by The University of Auckland, will reportedly boost research on many fronts. It uses KAREN to connect researchers from the new and existing supercomputer hubs at The

University of Auckland, Canterbury University, the University of Otago, NIWA, AgResearch and Landcare Research. “NeSI represents the most significant infrastructure investment for New Zealand’s science system in the last 20 years. It provides not only the hardware to handle massive computational loads, but also the skilled support team to create custom solutions for specific research problems,” says Professor Mark Gahegan from the university’s Centre for e-Research. Such innovation doesn’t come cheap; funding of $47 million over four years, co-invested by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the six partner research organisations, will be used to build NeSI. Individual research institutions will always struggle to meet the costs on their own, whereas collaboration can provide the breadth of facilities and capabilities for research that we need in New Zealand. Wayne Mapp, Minister of Science and Innovation, explained that one of his priorities as minister had been “essentially to get a big science infrastructure strategy in place. We nominated a range of infrastructures that were seen as mission-critical for the nation and e-science, along with the KAREN network, was seen as absolutely fundamental… it was understood that this was one of the bedrock capabilities of any advanced nation”. Around the same time as the launch of NeSI, another celebration of KAREN’s power was taking place. REANNZ and AUT recently

UFB coming to a school near you Among the many acronyms cluttering the education sector, we can now add UFB as a firm fixture. Ultra-fast broadband (UFB) is set to transform New Zealand’s education system. The final two contracts for the roll-out of UFB around New Zealand were finalised in May this year following the award of a contract for the roll-out of broadband in rural areas. Combined, the plans will see all schools given a broadband boost by 2016. Government Minister Steven Joyce says more than a third of all state and state-integrated schools will be fibre-ready by the end of this year. “Over the next five years, 97 per cent of schools will receive ultra-fast fibre enabling speeds of 100 Mbps plus. The remaining three per cent of schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high-speed wireless or satellite connection – a tender process for broadband provision to these schools will get under way next month. No school will miss out.” 14

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The claim that “no school will miss out” is certainly promising. But how will it help? Education Minister Anne Tolley says the UFB initiatives will make New Zealand’s education system one of the most wired in the world, enabling schools to significantly enhance teaching practices, improve student engagement and lift achievement. “Fewer than 200 New Zealand schools currently have bandwidth capable of the ultra-fast broadband speeds essential for applications such as high definition, two-way video conferencing. This technology means that students anywhere in New Zealand can have access to the best teachers and online resources anywhere in the world,” says Tolley. UFB doesn’t come cheap. The government will invest around $150 million to prepare the sector for the roll-out and work is well under way. The Ministry of Education’s School Network Upgrade Project is in the process of upgrading state and state-integrated schools’ internal networks in readiness for fibre.


announced the successful connection of AUT’s radio telescope at Warkworth to KAREN. Connecting the telescope allows New Zealand to demonstrate its capability in radio astronomy, and could enable New Zealand to take part in the global radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), aiming to answer questions about the origin and evolution of the universe. “The connection of this important piece of science infrastructure to KAREN is a significant milestone for the New Zealand radio astronomy community, and has the potential to enable New Zealand to participate in an international radio astronomy research programme of epic proportions,” says Donald Clark, chief executive of REANNZ. The ability to operate supercomputers and enable radio astronomy projects demonstrates the scope and power of KAREN. However, experts say the network will need to continually evolve to keep up with research demands.

So, what’s next for KAREN? The somewhat unimaginatively named KAREN2 is on its way. The development of the next generation of KAREN is a key focus for REANNZ over the next two to three years, with implementation planned for 2014. The proposed KAREN2 network will not only provide enhanced bandwidth, but is also likely to have the capability to provide separate light paths between members. Once the key optical switching layer is in place, the network capability can be increased easily and at relatively low cost. There is considerable investment being poured into KAREN. Is KAREN sustainable for New Zealand? It appears so. The contracting arrangements recently agreed with FX Networks – including access to dark fibre, coupled with increased government funding and agreement from members for a sustainable financial environment for KAREN – mean that REANNZ can now plan the future network and the future needs of the research and educational communities without having to continually focus on financial sustainability. REANNZ have also announced a new member on their team specifically to lead the development of KAREN2 – Dr Phillip Lindsay, the former CIO of AgResearch Ltd. Lindsay has first-hand experience of what happens if the future of a research network isn’t closely considered, given his leadership role in setting up the very first real national research network, TuiNet, in 1992. “While TuiNet was a leadingedge network at the time, we failed to continue to focus on the future needs of the research community. REANNZ needs to avoid a similar situation with KAREN, and it is important that we plan now for the future, even though we can’t anticipate exactly what our researchers will be doing on the network.” n

 Political progress Education Minister ANNE TOLLEY gives an update on the Government’s technological initiatives in New Zealand schools.

A

round the world many countries are grappling with similar issues to New Zealand when it comes to e-learning – primarily around how to harness the real power of technology to give our young people the best start in life – to equip them to be global, digital, citizens. Increasingly, evidence supports the fact that access to technology can improve educational and life outcomes for students, particularly those with a history of underachievement or a lack of engagement. That’s why the Government has committed to giving 97 per cent of schools ultra-fast fibre, enabling speeds of 100 Mbps plus over the next five years. The remaining three per cent of schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high-speed wireless or satellite connection. No schools will miss out. The roll-out of ultra-fast broadbandenabling fibre to schools is progressing well and will see nearly 100,000 students at 221 schools around the country connected by July of next year. In making this commitment, our aim is to make the New Zealand education system one of the most connected in the world. There are, however, many challenges to overcome. We are currently in a tight fiscal environment and New Zealand is not an easy country to cable. Our terrain and climate can be extreme and our population is geographically dispersed. Last year I visited a very different school – Tiniroto School, which is 70km out of Gisborne. This school in my electorate is about as small, rural and isolated as it gets. It is part of the smallest ICT professional development cluster in New Zealand – and for the 15 children at Tiniroto, technology is a lifeline. Their principal and the school community were determined that Tiniroto would not be disadvantaged by their isolation – and have made participation in the Ministry of Education’s ICT Professional Learning and Development programme a priority.

Now students use Skype to share their learning and collaborate with their e-buddies at the three other Gisborne schools in the cluster: Waerenga-o-Kuri, Waipaoa Station and Motu School, creating a learning community many times larger than any of these schools could achieve individually. Students also create e-portfolios of their work, which they can share with their families and whānau. What’s even more impressive is that all this takes place over an ordinary ADSL broadband connection. Tiniroto School is an example of how, with commitment from school leaders, even the most basic technology can be used to overcome the challenges of distance. With improved connectivity, schools like Tiniroto can continue to innovate and improve outcomes for all of their students. Of course access to fibre is of no use without capable teaching professionals who can use this technology in ways that are engaging and relevant for students and can improve students’ progress and achievement. New technologies can also bring new challenges. To become capable and responsible digital citizens, it is vital that our young people learn how to manage risk appropriately – how to keep ‘cybersafe’, not only at school but also in their everyday lives. In support of this, I launched the ‘Learn, Guide, Protect’ framework and supporting website. Developed by NetSafe and the Ministry of Education, ‘Learn, Guide, Protect’ promotes a student-centred approach to cybersafety education that aligns with The New Zealand Curriculum. The supporting website features resources that are being developed by teachers, for teachers, in partnership with NetSafe. Schools can use these resources to develop cybersafety programmes tailored to suit their needs and those of their wider school communities. n

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Procurers’ academy

procurement – who needs it? Education Review asks New Zealand’s new Procurement Academy to share its top procurement tips.

M

ost organisations spend more on buying ‘stuff’ than they do on staff. It’s fair to say that most people involved in purchasing this ‘stuff’ – products and services – probably wouldn’t think of themselves as actually being engaged in something called “procurement”; even less would probably ponder, “What would a procurement expert do in this situation?” Yet, applying even basic procurement principles to how an organisation goes about buying products and services will typically help free up funds for spending on more important front-line activities. Procurement, once described as just a “routine clerical process operated by unglamorous individuals”, is emerging as the proverbial budget ‘super-sizer’ – helping organisations gain better value for money from existing budgets, while improving supplier service levels and reducing carbon footprints. So, when did procurement suddenly become important? Although the pyramids, Napoleon and the discovery of New Zealand clearly all relied on procurement, it wasn’t until 1933 that Harvard published the first textbook on the topic. While World War Two and its aftermath certainly matured the profession, it wasn’t until the ‘80s and ‘90s that we saw procurement evolve into the key corporate centre function it is today. And of course, more recently, the global financial crisis has driven governments and organisations to look to procurement for solutions – procurers are in hot demand globally. At a local level, New Zealand has such an undersupply of qualified professionals, these skills are listed on the skilled migrant shortlist.

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The top secrets of better buying 16

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One of the largest concentrations of procurement experts is currently employed in the Ministry of Economic Development’s (MED) Government Procurement Reform programme. Responsible, among other things, for the introduction of a range of multi-million dollar allof-government contracts covering such things as computers through to electricity supply and even legal services, the MED team is the go-to place for expertise in this area. OK. So, having no knowledge whatsoever of what good procurement practice looks like, I asked MED’s Government Procurement Solutions team to give me their ‘in a nutshell’ version.

ThErE arE BaSICally ThrEE ParTS To ProCurEMENT: » Planning it – which is largely about understanding your real business needs, as opposed to what you think you want, and understanding the supply market and how to approach the market to best deliver your needs. » Going to market – which in simple terms is about asking suppliers “can you meet my needs?” And then considering what that would look like, then doing the deal – which can range from a basic purchase through to a formal contract for products and services. » Supplier management – ensuring that the resulting contract and relationship are effective in meeting your ongoing needs.

life of the product – consumables, training, insurance, maintenance, servicing, etc. Unscrupulous suppliers will sell you something cheap and then exploit you on things like consumables and maintenance. 10. Decide what type of supplier relationships you need? If the product or service is critical to your organisation, invest time in building a relationship. This reduces the chance of issues becoming major problems. Sounds like a lot to look at? Sure, if you’re stocking up on a few reams of photocopy paper, but not if you’re investing in such things as new technology or school buildings that you’ll be spending six figures on over one or more years. Bottom line: better procurement translates into buying more for less, or buying better for the same. As they say, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.” n

...applying even basic procurement principles to how an organisation goes about buying products and services will typically help free up funds for spending on more important front-line activities. For more information, visit www.procurement.govt.nz

Given all this, I then asked the team to share their top 10 secrets for successful procurement? Here’s what they provided: 1. Understand where you spend your money and what’s important – what are the things you spend the most on or which you rely on the most? Put greater planning focus on these. Some of the worst purchasing decisions are made in haste, often when a critical or high-demand resource runs out or reaches the end of its usable life. 2. Take the time to understand the real business needs – history is riddled with examples of purchased products and services that either didn’t meet the needs or excessively over-met them. What’s a ‘need’ versus a ‘want’? For example: I need transport… I want a BMW! 3. Ask the question – do we need to buy it? Is there another way of meeting your need that provides better added value. Take, for example, a school van – are you actually better to hire or lease one, or even share a van with neighbouring schools? 4. Take advantage of the buying power of the government sector – check out what’s available via the all-of-government contracts. You’ll find you can access some commonly used products and services cheaper through one of these. 5. Get to know the market – remember that sales people want to sell you things! Do some research: who are the best suppliers and what are the best products? If it’s technology, what’s old, new or emerging – and does the price reflect this? And if you are an early adopter, is there a risk that you are paying too much or investing in a product that won’t survive the initial ‘market battle’? 6. When going to market, play by the rules and don’t take shortcuts, unless it’s a real emergency – get familiar with the policies and rules governing your procurement; you’re spending tax dollars. 7. Don’t get compromised – ensure there are no real or perceived conflicts of interest, by way of how you deal with suppliers, or what you receive from them (e.g. tickets to the rugby). 8. “Lift the bonnet and check everything over.” Always look beyond the glossy brochures and promises. Take the time to check out both the product and the supplier before you sign up. 9. Understand the full costs of ownership. In addition to the purchase price, always consider the other costs that will be incurred during the

IMPROVE TEST SCORES Listening is hard work. By ensuring the teacher’s voice is highly intelligible to all students FrontRow technology makes it easier to listen. With FrontRow soundfield systems: 66%

ü  Teachers report lower noise levels 73%

ü  Teachers report improved on-task behaviour ü  And PAT results show significantly improved listening, reading, vocabulary and maths skills

FREE 45-day TRIal FROnTROw SySTEM

Phone 0800 684 266 • Visit www.gofrontrow.co.nz Source: Creating Enhanced Learning Environments — the Benefits of Soundfield Amplification Systems, February 2004, Dr Michael Heeney

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ict learning

The yellow brick

ICT road T ALLANAH KING describes how ICT became an integral part of her teaching practices and her life.

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Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

he cursor blinks at me as I sit here reflecting on my journey as a teacher over the last decade. How much things have changed and how they continue to evolve. I have moved from private to public, from closed to open, from narrow focused to expansive. I didn’t know many people outside my own circle of colleagues, family and friends. I didn’t realise that I knew stuff that other people would want to know about. I have been teaching pretty much exclusively in small, rural-ish primary schools at the bottom of the North Island and top of the South Island for all of my teaching career. I have always worked hard at being the best teacher that I can be and have struggled at times as new waves of ‘best practice’ have come and gone. Professional development for me has come from one-day courses and my own reading. In 2005, we started on a journey that was set to change my teaching practice and open my classroom and my teaching reflections to the world. My small rural school near Nelson joined the Waimea-South ICTPD cluster. I thought it was just the right time to join a cluster. Earlier clusters had focused on incomputer applications and how to do great presentations with desktop publishing. The mass use of the internet was newish and we got TELA laptops. I had won a 12-inch iBook laptop from Kerre Woodham’s show on Newstalk ZB and I set about personalising it and following all of the menu trails to see where they led me. Like a child, I was no longer afraid pushing buttons on my computer. I realised that I couldn’t damage it by clicking on stuff to see what happened. By the time I got my TELA laptop I knew how to tinker with it and make it behave like I wanted it to, because I was now familiar with its workings. The principal and I went on a LMS/SMS seminar and heard about blogging for the first time. I learned that through blogging, ordinary folk like me could put words and photos on the internet. That concept captured my imagination – learning management systems and school management systems didn’t! I taught myself to blog and extended that


process to blogging with the children in my class. We started a class blog towards the end of that year. We made some progress and were rewarded with some regular viewers and comments. Some of that audience was in the classroom next door and some were on the other side of the world. I felt encouraged to continue. A friendly teacher from South Wales, Paul Harrington, helped me learn to podcast and we often skyped each other to share our learning and practice with each other’s classes. I later visited that class in Wales and was heartened to know who the children were, because I recognised their voices. It was a bit like what many New Zealand teachers do now: meet up at ICTPD conferences like ULearn and Learning at School. There is

personal conversations, shared globally, that give you a mirror into the personality of the person tweeting. Having a sense of humour is important. Being willing to share is crucial. That’s what it’s all about. Sharing our practice and learning from one another. No one knows everything and every day I am learning new things from my colleagues online and in schools. In 2008, I applied for a one-year position as ICT facilitator for the 13 schools in the Tasman ICTPD cluster. This was a turning point in my career as, after all these years of

I didn’t know many people outside my own circle of colleagues, family and friends. I didn’t realise that I knew stuff that other people would want to know about. much jubilation, hugging and sharing of experiences – friendships aren’t being started as though we’ve just met. We already know each other. Word got round that we knew how to blog, and I was asked to present a blogging workshop one afternoon at a local school. I agreed and went home and spent ages preparing what I was going to say, sprucing up our blog and delving more deeply into blogging so I would know more about it in case someone asked me a question I didn’t know the answer to. Teaching is the best way of learning for yourself. By doing this I felt I really knew what I was doing and could share my new learning with others. I was very nervous, but found I actually enjoyed the experience. In 2007, with a little encouragement, I started a grown-up educational blog. I blogged about the things that I had learned along the way, reflected on how far we had come, what did and didn’t work and generally shared the learning in the classroom. I was modelling to my students the sort of learners that I wanted them to be: confident, creative, connected and actively involved. I found that I was no longer a consumer of media but a creator of it. I was always mindful that what I wrote reflected on myself and my school. Later, when Twitter came along I embraced it as well, as a way to form relationships with others and make connections. What is more important than anything are relationships with people. People say that Twitter is just a place where people can share, via a tweet, what they had for breakfast. And yes, sometimes they do that, but it’s those

teaching, I got the opportunity to step out of the classroom and see what other people were doing. I was in awe and disbelief at the range of ICT hardware and capabilities of people that I was charged to help with their ICT needs. Some were overjoyed when I helped them add photos to an email, animate a PowerPoint slide or create a blog for the first time. Others were confidently connecting with others via the internet. In 2010, I again had the opportunity to be part of a cluster. This time a regional one, with 32 schools spread geographically across the Nelson plains. This model of delivering ICTPD is, I hope, more sustainable, with lead teachers being supported to work with their staff instead of my going into classes and actually teaching classes. Lead teachers are supported in developing capability within their schools. We are fortunate to have vision and leadership from Charles Newton, our cluster consultant, to make sure that as many of us as are able, have access to ultra-fast broadband in our schools. Our cluster is humming along. We are looking to sharing our resources and our learning with a number of teachers actively reflecting, by publishing online with blogging. This is a valuable step, as these teachers are also modelling. We are encouraged to regularly check our RSS feeds and keep up with what is going on in other classrooms. The Virtual Learning Network is now proving to be a valuable place for teachers to come together to discuss and share their learning. Anyone can join and add to the discussion. We have our heads in the cloud and are well placed to surge forward to learn

to use the power of the internet. Teachers are developing a personal learning network of educators who can regularly contact one another to support and learn from one another via lead teacher meetings, blogging, RSS and Skype. Over the last year, mobile technology and cloud computing has taken off, with an increasing number of schools ready and looking to take advantage of the new technologies. Google Apps are proving to be valuable tools for collaboration and communication. I know that using Google Docs has meant that I spend less time on administrative tasks in my current job and children quickly grasp how to use the apps for their learning and often use them for work and play at school and at home. Schools are making important decisions about how mobile technology fits with their school vision. Tablets, iPod Touches and iPads are going to make more and more of an impact on the way children learn because of their cost, portability and ability to personalise learning. I didn’t realise the power of these devices until I actually had one of my own and now some sort of internetenabled device is always nearby to refer to. The use of ICT and the internet has allowed us to work together in new ways and to collaborate in a way never possible before. It is a bright new world and I commend teachers to make the most of the opportunities it provides. n Allanah King is a part-time regional ICT facilitator working four days a week for the Link Learning ICTPD cluster based at Richmond Primary in Nelson. She teaches a mixture of classes at Appleby Primary School. She is a newly-fledged Apple Distinguished Educator and enjoys incorporating innovative technology into her classroom practice and sharing her learning with others. Websites referred to in this article: Classroom blog: http://moturoa.blogspot.com Educational blog: http://allanahk.edublogs.org Virtual Learning Network: www.vln.school.nz

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digitech future

Digital technologies

into the futuRE I

TRACY BOWKER of Cognition Education reflects on how teachers need to evolve their teaching as digital technology outgrows its curriculum.

n November 2010, Cognition Education, the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Information and Communication Technologies Group (NZICT) collaborated to plan and host the Digital Technologies Symposium. This was part of the ‘final hurrah’ of the Digital Technologies Guidelines (DTG) project that Cognition led for three years. The project developed modules to support specialist digital technology teaching and learning for years 11–13. These modules were then shaped into a new body of learning and used as the base for developing achievement standards. Digital technology is now considered an integral part of the technology learning area. Since the symposium, digital technology teachers have been developing new course outlines that reflect the changes made in this area and better reflect 21st century students. Teachers have been grappling with the idea of what constitutes a subject and whether it is still appropriate to label courses and content that contains new and exciting material, with subject names that no longer fit. New course outlines require new content and NZACDITT (New Zealand Association of Computing and Digital Information Technology Teachers) members have been proactive in supporting each other, developing and sharing teaching

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Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

and learning plans, links, resources and ideas and sharing assessments. The listserv that supports the members of this association has been particularly active and this has ensured participants’ responses are discussed and managed in a timely and supportive online environment. On the subject of assessment, NCEA level 1 achievement standards have been implemented in 2011 with the next levels to follow in subsequent years. The uptake of these standards has been excellent, especially as the implementation has not been without difficulty. Not only do teachers have to understand the nature, purpose and expected outcomes of the standards, but in many instances they have had to change their practice to ensure the standard of work now reflects level 6 of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). From the outset, professional learning was essential to the success of the DTG project. The regional model developed for this project has continued, and regions across New Zealand are actively involved in professional learning. There are a growing number of opportunities for digital technology teachers to further enhance their practice in this evolving area. Web spaces such as Techlink advertise courses and collate in one space all of the support material for the technology learning area, including digital

technology. The senior secondary teaching guide for technology is also available to support teachers to develop quality teaching and learning programmes at levels 6 to 8 of the NZC. One component of the DTG was the closer interaction between schools, tertiary institutions and industry and it is exciting to see this collaboration forging ahead, with many institutions actively supporting digital technology teachers. Digital technology as a specialist teaching and learning area needs to keep looking to the future as the nature of the content allows and makes necessary. The subject has an immense opportunity to become an integral part of the secondary school environment, with its ability to engage and motivate students and to inspire them to dream about the creation of tools and technology that do not currently exist. n For more information: Techlink: www.techlink.org.nz New Zealand Association of Computing and Digital Information Teachers (NZACDITT): http://nzacditt.org.nz New Zealand Curriculum Online: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz Senior secondary teaching guides – technology: http://seniorsecondary.tki.org. nz/Technology


tech timeline

From Plato

to iPads A timeline of technological advances that have shaped the way we live and learn.

Historic advances »» 40,000 BC: Paintings and drawings are a new means of communication »» 389 BC: The founding of the Academy by Plato begins a new movement in education »» 1453: The printing of the Bible with moveable type by Gutenberg transforms society »» 1862: QWERTY – Christopher Sholes develops a machine to print the alphabet »» 1901: Marconi sends a radio signal across the Atlantic

Back in the day... »» 1967: Texas Instruments develops the first hand-held calculator »» 1968: Douglas Engelbart introduces a prototype of the computer mouse »» 1977: Apple introduces the Apple II »» 1981: IBM home computer is introduced and MS DOS 2.0 is introduced »» 1984: Dell Computer is founded »» 1985: Microsoft Windows is introduced, America Online debuts, Nintendo debuts »» 1989: The World-Wide Web begins at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire

In more recent times... »» 1998: Google is launched and Smartboards are introduced 1999: Blackberry starts smart phone craze »» 2000: Wikipedia is launched »» 2001: Apple’s iPod launched »» 2003: Skype launched »» 2004: Facebook launched »» 2007: Apple’s iPhone launched »» 2010: Apple’s iPad invented

Crystal ball gazing... »» »» »» »»

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2020: Robotic teacher’s aides 2025: Virtual classrooms 2035: Holographic teaching 2085: Downloadable consciousness n


CLOUD COMPUTING

Varsity in the clouds BEN KEPES presents CloudU, an initiative aimed at bridging the gap between cloud computing and businesses with the potential to impact on educational settings.

B

en Kepes is an analyst, entrepreneur and business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online, covering the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years owning and running small businesses in New Zealand and, while I’d never consider myself an “IT person”, by necessity in that time I’ve had to have a significant involvement in maintaining all the varied IT systems small businesses need. From telephone systems to software, from servers to data backup, the range of activities a small business has to deal with is just as broad as those of a large enterprise – only a small business doesn’t have the resources to have well-trained staff on hand to deal with these systems full-time. It seems to me that many educational organisations are in much the same predicament – constrained in terms of both financial and staffing resources, having to build and maintain secure and robust systems, and without much of an appetite to spend precious time on systems instead of other educational matters. Given my history, and the fact that I’ve always had a little bit of a bent to technology, it’s not surprising that the advent of cloud computing got me interested in what this new technology can offer. I got excited about the Cloud and was made to realise firstly just how powerful the move to cloud computing can be and secondly, the fact that small and medium businesses are so busy keeping up with dayto-day activities that they really don’t have time to educate themselves on what the Cloud means for them.

With this realisation, I decided to do something about the gap, and launched CloudU, a comprehensive educational series aimed at increasing cloud awareness among ‘mum and dad’ businesses. It’s my belief that the lessons we’re giving to business owners are also eminently applicable to school administrators. Despite being sponsored to create the content by Rackspace hosting in the US, the content is vendor neutral, aimed at building knowledge rather than selling any product per se. So what is cloud computing, and why is it applicable to an educational setting? The easiest way to understand cloud computing is to think of it as a utility model: in the same way that we obtain our electricity on tap, not thinking about where it comes from or having

»»

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emailing financial data or giving out discs with financial data on it Unlike desktop applications, data isn’t stored on school computers, so when experiencing hardware difficulties, or if computers are stolen, staff can still access school data from another computer It’s no longer necessary to rely on outdated backup systems which are often insecure and unreliable No server hardware is required in schools Support and audits can be managed remotely It is easy to proactively monitor schools remotely and outside of school hours.

Despite the benefits of cloud computing to educational organisations, there is very little

So what is cloud computing, and why is it applicable to an educational setting? The easiest way to understand cloud computing is to think of it as a utility model: in the same way that we obtain our electricity on tap, not thinking about where it comes from or having to invest in the infrastructure to receive it, similarly cloud computing allows us to get IT resources – be this software or the underlying infrastructure – as a utility resource. to invest in the infrastructure to receive it, similarly cloud computing allows us to get IT resources – be this software or the underlying infrastructure – as a utility resource. One way that makes cloud computing more readily understood is to use the acronym OSSM. Cloud computing is technology that is: »» On-demand: the server or software is already set up and ready to be deployed »» Self-service: the customer chooses what they want, when they want it »» Scalable: customers can choose how much they want and ramp up if necessary »» Measurable: there’s metering/reporting so you know you are getting what you pay for. So how does this apply to educational settings, and what specific benefits can these organisations obtain by a move to the Cloud? The CEO of New Zealand-based online accounting vendor Xero has written a paper looking at the benefits of online software for schools. In his report he contends that cloud computing (or more particularly, online accounting) can deliver the following benefits to schools: »» Online applications are more secure than

vendor-neutral resource available with which non-technical or mildly technical people can learn about the opportunities and challenges that cloud computing raises. This is where I – and a handful of others like me – come in. With my experience running cloud computing conferences and community events around Australia and New Zealand, I was all too aware of the value of building knowledge in a “by the people, for the people” way. I’ve developed CloudU to take this approach and deliver material in different formats such as reports, seminars, a certification programme and community aspects. I’ve adopted a broad perspective in the hope that, by taking this approach, we’re able to really make an impact on cloud awareness among the general population. I invite educationalists and those involved in running schools to have a look at the content we’ve developed; I would be more than happy to talk with anyone about moving to the Cloud. n CloudU: http://bit.ly/CloudU Ben Kepes’ website: www.diversity.net.nz Xero: www.xero.com

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JUDE BARBACK looks at how technology affects the game of rugby and the hosting of a major international tournament.

Rugby:

technology and the tries

I

f you have sought out this issue of Education Review to escape the relentless rugby natter, I apologise. Sort of. I think it might be nearly impossible to find a corner of New Zealand that doesn’t pay some homage to the game of the oddshaped ball. And if you are surprised to find an article on rugby in an issue dedicated to technology, perhaps you shouldn’t be. Rugby World Cup 2011 has shown us what a major role technology plays in all aspects of the tournament: the game itself, the preparation involved with hosting a major international event and the surrounding hype.

Technology’s role in rugby Three little words. One little acronym. Television match official – TMO. It has transformed the game of rugby as we know it, yet many think it isn’t used enough. You would be hard pressed to find a New Zealander who has forgiven the officials of that infamous 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, where the referee and touch judge both missed a forward pass

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that eventually led to a try for France and ultimately the victory. The referee wasn’t allowed to consult the TMO. By contrast, in the same tournament, England was denied a try in the final. This incident was referred to the TMO and with the benefit of multiple replays, the correct ruling was made and South Africa went on to win the final and the title. Four years later and it still hurts to talk about it. And unfortunately not much has changed. Referees are still only allowed to consult the TMO when they’re uncertain about the placement of the ball or body position of the would-be try-scorer. A talking point in the early rounds of this rugby world cup was James Hook’s penalty for Wales against South Africa; the TMO wasn’t consulted and the penalty wasn’t awarded. The landscape of the world cup could have been so different had the penalty been granted. Why is rugby still refusing to embrace technology? Perhaps the ‘what ifs’ are part of rugby’s intrigue. Perhaps the element of

human error is part of the sport’s suspense. Sports like cricket and tennis make good use of television replays to ensure the right calls are made. With the advent of Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot, as well as the acceptance of the Decision Review System (DRS), the right decisions are making all the difference.

The robotic world of rugby While it might appear rugby is sluggish in embracing technology, according to Victoria University Associate Professor Dr Ian Yeoman, we should prepare ourselves for radical changes to the game by the time Rugby World Cup 2051 is here. Think elite athletes with bionic implants, built-in chips to monitor their performance and shirts embedded with nanotechnology medicines to heal minor injuries. Think robot referees. Think spectators watching matches from hotel bedrooms overlooking the pitch. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but Yeoman’s research reveals that many of the technologies needed to turn his vision into reality have already been invented


ict & sport

or are in development. Take cyborg-style players for example. Yeoman says genetic engineering has given us the means to create designer babies and the technology is already widely used in sports such as horse racing. He says implants are becoming more common for organs, bones and limbs and are increasingly accepted in the field of professional sport. South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius provides a good example in his success in qualifying to compete in the 2012 London Olympics using carbon fibre prosthetic running blades. Nanotechnology is also a swiftly moving area that is likely to lead to the development of fabric that can destroy airborne germs and pollutants, according to Yeoman. “We are already using antimicrobial technology in shoes to keep them clean and prevent athlete’s foot.” In fact, some sports consultants are predicting that injuries could eventually become almost non-existent due to advances in gene therapy and the ability to use sensor technology to predict an injury before it occurs. Advances in nutrition and other areas of science are also likely to impact on player health and performance. Yeoman’s predictions extend beyond the players. The introduction of rugby balls with radio frequency identification chips, robot linesmen and light-emitting systems to identify where fouls have occurred will surely remove some of the margin for error in referee decisions. The way we watch rugby is also likely to be radically different in the future. Yeoman says TV viewers will enjoy life-like 3D images in their indoor or outdoor home theatre while others could stay at a hotel that’s part of the stadium complex, as is already the case with the Marriott Hotel’s six suites overlooking Twickenham. You may well be reading this in horror. Yeoman is quick to point out that his research looks at what is possible, rather than what is desirable. However he says that ethics are constantly changing. “Things that seem abhorrent now might be widely accepted in 20 years time.”

Off-the-field training for the Cup Technological advances are not confined to the game itself, but play a significant role in the build-up and preparation for a major sporting tournament, such as this year’s rugby world cup. The New Zealand 2011 Office offered New Zealand’s frontline organisations the chance to upskill for the cup so that as a nation we could put our best foot forward in welcoming the hordes of international visitors. The upskilling took the guise of

a free online training programme, First Impressions, developed by the New Zealand 2011 Office, in conjunction with Rugby New Zealand 2011. The training was aimed at retail, hotel and restaurant staff but due to an inspired collaboration between New Zealand 2011 and the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO), it has also been made available to secondary school tourism students. The two organisations have worked together to develop a classroom worksheet that applies the online training to a level 2, three credit unit standard – 24726: Describe and compare social and cultural impacts of tourism. It would be foolish not to exploit the opportunity to learn from hosting a major international event such as the rugby world cup. ATTTO chief executive Elizabeth Valentine says, “For students, particularly tourism students, Rugby World Cup 2011 is a chance to learn how countries and communities can leverage off major events and the kinds of economic, social and cultural benefits they deliver. “The First Impressions training is a great way for students to learn about the role they have in welcoming visitors this year and how to be great hosts. The additional worksheet will help students understand the value Rugby World Cup 2011 will deliver to New Zealanders.” In the spirit of all things rugby, ATTTO have devised a Championship Challenge board game – a Rugby World Cup 2011 classroom activity for teachers to introduce the themes of the tournament and Kiwi hospitality before putting students through the online training. Director of the New Zealand 2011 Office, Leon Grice, says the training will leave a legacy for many young New Zealanders planning a career in tourism. The training covers how the tournament works, customer service excellence, visitor expectations, the cultures and languages of the visiting teams and fans, and information on the REAL New Zealand Festival and Showcase which run alongside the tournament. Participants will be offered a certificate and badge when they have successfully completed the training. President of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Mike Egan, thinks the First Impressions training programme will be invaluable for customer-service workers, and is urging his members to take part. “As New Zealand’s biggest ever event, Rugby World Cup 2011 is the perfect chance to show people from all over the world why Kiwis are famous for our great service and hospitality.

Restaurants and other customer-facing businesses will be crucial when it comes to welcoming our guests in a friendly and memorable way. The training is a chance for staff to learn all the skills they need for the tournament, but will also help to get a buzz going in the workplace and motivate them to deliver an exceptional service. It’s a great feeling for people to know they’re helping to make Rugby World Cup 2011 a success for our country.”

A spectator sport New Zealand’s entertainment industry is also doing its bit to welcome rugby fans, seguing smoothly from scrums to short films. If you’ve been to Auckland or Wellington during the cup, chances are you will have spotted one of the shipping containers converted by New Zealand On Screen to bring a taste of New Zealand to Kiwis and tourists. Two converted shipping containers have been installed by The Cloud in Queen’s Wharf in Auckland and the Te Papa promenade in Wellington, and so the South Islanders don’t miss out either, a retro Kiwi caravan has been suped into a mini-cinema for a six week tour of the mainland from Picton to Gore before spending the final fortnight of the rugby world cup camped at Christchurch’s Hagley Park in the Fan Zone. Inside the containers, visitors are greeted by a “turangawaewae-stirring identity gateway” before getting touchy-feely with a state-of-the-art interactive four metre-long video wall and watching a selection of short films in the retro lounge, which are later shown at night on a video tower atop the containers. There’s also the ‘Scene Stealer’, an iPad app where visitors can take a photo of themselves, be inserted in a classic New Zealand film or TV scene, and then share the image via email, Facebook and Twitter. The exhibition is a headline project of the REAL New Zealand Festival, the NZ Identity celebration running alongside the Rugby World Cup 2011. Technology has certainly allowed New Zealand to host the rugby world cup with panache. Even with just the technology we now take for granted, such as online ticket sales and emailed match information, we are worlds away from hosting the inaugural world cup in 1987. The changes that have occurred in those 24 years and their application to the 188-year-old sport and the hosting of a major competition are enough to make the mind boggle. Just think where we’ll be in the next 24 years. n

First Impressions free online training can be found at www.firstimpressions2011.co.nz Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

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PPP s

Catching

the drips

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) might pave the way for building schools of the future but will they help the hangover from the era of leaky buildings? JUDE BARBACK reports.

E

veryone knows New Zealand’s leaky little secret. The students and teachers at Raumati Beach School know it all too well – water running down walls, water stains and smelly carpet are testament to their leaky surrounds. In addition to countless houses and other buildings, around 150 New Zealand schools, like Raumati Beach School, have been identified as containing leaky buildings. Perhaps more startling than that number is the estimated $1.5 billion repair bill. The Dominion Post reported in January this year that the government was at a loss as to how it was going to afford the repairs. “There just isn’t the money to go out and borrow $1.5 billion and start repairing schools,” Education Minister Anne Tolley said, adding that she planned to consult Finance Minister Bill English on acquiring more funds to repair the leaky schools. Forget repair budgets – money was still needed at this stage to ascertain the extent of the crisis, with the government set to spend an estimated $22 million on surveys of all schools built or renovated since 1994. The mind starts to boggle with the financial magnitude of the problem. And this was all before calamity in Christchurch struck. Bearing in mind the enormity of the leaky school crisis, perhaps the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative for schools, the NZ Schools PPP project, should come as no surprise. After all, the present government is left to pick up the pieces of dodgy construction practices from the ‘90s and it stands to reason that it doesn’t want history to repeat itself. For schools, a PPP means the private sector would design, build, finance, and maintain the school property over a long-term contract

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(25 years). The education provision of the school would remain the responsibility of the board of trustees. The government would retain ownership of the land throughout and ownership of the property would revert to the government at the end of the contract period. In the context of leaky schools, the government sees the PPP approach to building schools as prudent. It means the Crown would be no longer exposed to design and construction risks such as leaky buildings. These would become the responsibility of the private partner who would have to fix them promptly or face financial penalties. Ultimately, this should free boards of trustees and school leadership from worrying about school property maintenance, allowing them to focus on the task at hand: the learning outcomes of their students. New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID) chief executive Stephen Selwood agrees PPPs for schools will prove to be beneficial for all parties. His explanation of the PPP model for schools goes some way to clarify why new schools shouldn’t suffer the same plight as their leaky forebears. “At the end of the concession period, in this case 25 years, the asset is handed back to the government in a pre-agreed condition. It is up to the private sector to build an asset that will have low maintenance costs and stand the test of time. The government may then choose to maintain the asset from that time on, redevelop it, retender the maintenance, or extend the concession.” Selwood is pleased the government is moving to more innovative forms of procurement. “Should the PPP bids not be competitive with traditional methods of procurement, the government will have the

option of not proceeding with a PPP and develop the new schools as normal. The challenge is now on for the private sector to demonstrate its capability.” Not everyone shares Selwood’s enthusiasm for the PPP initiative. Former PPTA president Kate Gainsford believes the plans to be shortsighted and dangerous as well as costly to the taxpayer. Gainsford and other critics are wary of the experiences of other countries with PPPs. And rightly so. The United Kingdom’s private finance initiative (PFI) schemes – a variation of PPPs – are said to be bringing National Health Service (NHS) trusts to the “brink of collapse”, according to a recent report in British newspaper, The Guardian. The UK’s hospitals are reportedly struggling to cope with the growing burden of the PFI contracts, a policy under which private capital is used to build hospitals, and the NHS is consequently left with an annual fee. The controversial PFI scheme also extends to British schools. Having said that, PPPs, or their equivalent, have worked effectively in many overseas examples too. It all remains to be seen how successful the model will be in New Zealand. The first NZ Schools PPP was announced in April for a two-school project in Hobsonville, Auckland. Will these two schools be leaky? Not if the government can help it. One could write a book on the many and varied arguments for and against PPPs, but regardless of whether they put an end to schools and governments worrying about the dubious construction of school buildings, at the end of the day we are still left with a $1.5 billion bill that won’t go away. PPPs won’t eliminate the price tag hanging over the existing leaky school building nightmare, though they may go some way to prevent it happening again. n


aCCESSIBIlITy

CrEaTINg aN aCCESSIBlE worlD Imagine a world where every person, building and community is truly accessible. That world is what Be. Accessible has set out to create.

B

e. Accessible is a social change initiative and holistic framework for accessibility with a mission to create a truly accessible country for us all. Be. Accessible is managed by the Be. Institute, a social enterprise that works across sectors and communities throughout New Zealand. The belief is that every person has their part to play in the creation of accessibility, regardless of how big or small the change. For change to come about, Be. Accessible believes that there is a need to educate New Zealanders about the access issues in every part of our society. In particular, this involves understanding what the “access customer” is and the value of their contribution to society. Access customers are the largest untapped market in the world. They make up more than 20 per cent of our population. Access customers might be someone with a hearing or visual impairment, a person using a wheelchair, a person with a learning disability, a parent with a push chair or an older person. It is worth noting that as we age, our access needs increase. There is a growing social and economic opportunity to serve this customer group well, so it’s important that we make it easier for them to get into, enjoy and connect with our cities. The work of Be. Accessible is based on three inter-connected pillars of accessibility: 1. Physical Pillar. By creating an accessible physical environment and good access to information, we will enable each other to get in, enjoy and share in all our country has to offer. 2. Social Pillar. By inspiring us all to think differently about access we will raise the hopes and dreams of all people. 3. Personal Pillar. By developing disabled leaders we will create role models who will lead the way for others to follow. Be. Accessible has created the Be. Welcome Assessment Programme, an initiative that supports businesses and organisations around New Zealand in making their premises, marketing and customer service as accessible as possible. Assessed organisations or businesses receive a rating based on their accessibility and a report that provides them with recommendations on how they could improve. So far, more than 120 organisations around New Zealand have been assessed and given a Be. Welcome rating. A platinum rating would go to an organisation that is a model of first class accessibility in almost all areas of its business. A gold rating would go to an organisation that has achieved excellent levels of accessibility in a number of areas. Silver to one that has achieved good levels of accessibility in a number of areas and bronze to one that has made positive steps towards being accessible. A “just starting” rating is given to an organisation that is just beginning its journey towards being accessible. The assessment criteria focus on the social, as well as the physical environment – how well do businesses interact with access customers? What information do they have available for them? It takes into consideration the whole customer experience. Through the Be. Accessible campaign, Be. Accessible is also aiming to

affect the attitudes and behaviours of all New Zealanders. On its website, Be. Accessible delivers information about accessibility, interesting video stories of people leading the way in providing good access and even toolkits for organisations who are planning to begin a journey of accessibility. Personal development and leadership are also important parts of creating true accessibility in our society. Be. Accessible has created Be. Leadership, a leadership programme that develops 20 disabled leaders a year from all over New Zealand. Be. Leadership has already proven to be an invaluable part of the accessibility mix and candidates for the 2012 programme are now being interviewed. n For more information and contact details, visit: www.beaccessible.org.nz

Time for a Change? The United World College of South East Asia is a 4-18 international school in Singapore for 3,900 students of over sixty nationalities. The College now has two campuses: Dover and East. The College is currently in an exciting phase of development which will see it grow to around 5,500 students by 2016. An extensive building programme is in progress to enable it to achieve this growth while maintaining the unique character of a UWCSEA education. The College is an IB World School, offering the Diploma and Primary Years Programmes. It is part of the wider community of the United World College Movement and is a member of the Round Square Schools. Around 70 teaching vacancies in a wide range of subject areas will arise for August 2011. The posts will be advertised in October 2010. insurance and education for children of teachers. Details of posts, the application process and of the College will be available on the College website at http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg We look forward to hearing from you.

EDUCATION REVIEW series ICT & Procurement 2011

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BUILDING schools

School boom in the Bay

What prompts the building of new schools? Who makes the decisions and how are they made? JUDE BARBACK looks at one of the fastest growing areas in the country for answers.

A

nyone previously unfamiliar with the Bay of Plenty suburb of Papamoa will have certainly heard of it now, thanks to the oily mess left on its beaches by the grounded vessel Rena. Rewind 20 years and it was a secluded coastal settlement to which Mount Maunganui-ites would drive on a rainy afternoon for want of something better to do. Today’s Papamoa is almost unrecognisable – its residential development stretches back towards the Papamoa Hills and right along the coast towards Te Puke. In the last 12 months alone, a Pak ‘n’ Save, Four Square, primary school and college have opened, work has begun on the $455 million Tauranga Eastern Link roading project and numerous houses have been built, filling the vacant sections like a ‘paint by numbers’. In spite of its recent growth, some might find it hard to fathom that by 2051, Papamoa East is predicted to be a city the size of Nelson with a population of 40,000. And overall population growth translates into corresponding growth

in the school-age population. The Ministry of Education predicts that by 2021 there will be 2200 additional school-aged students living in the area. These numbers and predictions are not pulled out of thin air. Population projection models from Statistics NZ and Tauranga City Council’s SmartGrowth strategy have been used to inform decisions to build new supermarkets, schools and highways, among other infrastructure. The Ministry of Education is one party making such decisions. The ministry developed the Mount Maunganui-Papamoa Area Strategy Plan in response to the population growth in the area and concluded that additional schooling provision in Tauranga is therefore required to accommodate the increasing student numbers. The strategy plan showed that overall, the student numbers in the coastal strip are projected to grow by 1000 year 1–6 students, 600 year 7–8 students and 600 year 9–13 students by 2021. After extensive consultation and evaluation, it

was decided two new schools needed to be built to meet this demand. Consequently, by 2000 the ministry had purchased two school sites in Papamoa in preparation for the need for a new primary school and secondary school on the coastal strip. Nearby secondary schools Mount Maunganui College and Te Puke High School were also redeveloped from 2000 to improve existing facilities and provide additional student capacity until a new secondary school could be established in Papamoa. Fast-forward to 2011, and both Golden Sands Primary School and Papamoa College are open. The timing was largely thanks to the government’s decision to fast-track the opening of new schools as part of an economic stimulus package announced in 2009. The two Papamoa schools were selected as part of the fast-track package and the timing of their opening was brought forward to 2011. To create a good flow of students to Papamoa College, the ministry also decided, again after

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Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011


Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, seen from the summit of Mauao. considerable community consultation, that two existing full primary schools (years 1–8) should become contributing primary schools (years 1–6). Such decisions aren’t taken lightly. The ministry’s plan notes, “The provision needed to address the demand for future student places while managing localised growth areas, cope with the effects of changes on current schools, effectively manage travel times and access to schools, and provide educational pathways for students within the area.” Eduational pathways also need to reflect the local environment. Tauranga City Council intends Papamoa East to be developed as a “live, work, play” environment, in accordance with sustainable urban development principles. And schooling needs to fit into this bigger community picture. There are certainly many factors to consider, not least the considerable investment. Yet if we step back to look at the even bigger picture, future development along the proposed Tauranga Eastern Corridor – in the form of residential, commercial and industrial development – is expected to contribute around $8.5 billion to the western Bay of Plenty economy. The scary part about investing in infrastructure to cope with future growth is the risk involved. How far down the track does

the ministry look when making decisions to restructure the education network for an area? Case in point: the development of a town centre likely to be named Modena Beach is proposed as part of the Papamoa East urban growth strategy. Some might argue that the ministry is short-sighted in not factoring Modena into its school building plans. But in actual fact, the ministry has considered Modena. It acknowledges that an additional new primary school site may be required in the medium term, as newer neighbourhoods are created and in the longer term, further planning for the educational network will be undertaken as council plans are realised for the development of the Modena town centre. Opportunities to purchase further new school sites will become available in time, subject to the Tauranga City Council’s rezoning of the area. Given the nature of demographic growth and timing of residential development is largely

developer driven and influenced by economic conditions, it is probably prudent for the ministry to move one step at a time, albeit one step ahead of growth, in order to avoid system failure. The ministry therefore must proceed boldly ahead with plans for new schools but, somewhat paradoxically, with a degree of caution. In the case of Papamoa, the ministry has striven to provide a school network with enough flexibility to cope with different rates of growth and changing demographic age profiles. The network should be able to expand and contract as individual school capacity is needed to meet local demands. For the moment, life is peachy in Papamoa. The two new schools are performing well in their first year of operation and certainly appear to fit the “live, work, play” environment that Tauranga envisions for this rapidly growing part of New Zealand. n

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video sharing

YouTube EDU

YouTube’s education channel is taking the world’s universities by storm and it’s only a matter of time before it infiltrates our entire education sector. JUDE BARBACK reports.

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neezing pandas, double rainbows and haka flash mobs are the sorts of mindless entertainment that tend to be associated with YouTube. Not any longer. The hugely popular video-sharing site is flaunting its more high-brow side with its education channel, YouTube EDU, featuring world-famous academics sharing their lectures and research with the masses. YouTube’s education channel is fast becoming a club that the world’s leading academic institutions are desperate to join. While online learning has been part of the furniture at tertiary institutions for some time now and is almost synonymous with distance and flexible learning programmes, few online resources currently available can compete with YouTube EDU’s vast and rapidly expanding collection of learning materials and topical discussions. New Zealand institutions have yet to embrace YouTube EDU to the extent of their more prestigious counterparts overseas. The universities of Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge are prolific users of the site, heading up over 400 tertiary institution partners of the channel from around the world. A year ago, that number was 200. Just over a year before that, YouTube EDU didn’t exist. Such is the exponential growth of sites of this ilk. Are universities simply jumping on the bandwagon, or are online video repositories like YouTube EDU actually useful for universities and students? One of YouTube EDU’s newer members, University of London International Programmes, is a vocal proponent of the site. Since joining the channel in June this year, the International Programmes, one of the world’s oldest and most extensive providers of degrees through distance and flexible learning, has seen a threefold increase in viewing figures of its uploaded content to 30,000 a month. Professor Jonathan Kydd, dean of the International Programmes, believes the YouTube channel is a great addition to the existing online resources available to their students and will help leverage dissemination of their content. “With the level of exposure afforded by YouTube EDU, it allows the International Programmes to share its learning content immediately with a greater global audience. We feel confident that the new channel will continue to attract a diverse audience of prospective and current students; individuals interested in increasing their knowledge of a particular subject area; local teaching institutions that provide tuition for our students who opt

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for further local teaching support; and our alumni, who wish to keep up to date on the latest developments in their area of study.” The channel already covers most disciplines and amongst its content is some ground-breaking stuff. In one video, Professor Ian Roberts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine speaks about how the death of a 10-year-old girl on his intensive care unit compelled him to explore randomised control trials – a scientific procedure used to find out whether or not a specific medical treatment works. Following the success of the ‘Crash 2’ trials, Roberts explains the importance of early treatment with tranexamic acid in bleeding trauma patients: the drug could save 100,000 lives a year. The ability to share pertinent research with a wide audience demonstrates just how much power Google is wielding with YouTube EDU alone. Niggly questions arise, however, about the trustworthiness of the content. Just as we shouldn’t take anything on Wikipedia as gospel, should we tread as cautiously with YouTube EDU? Angela Lin, who manages the channel, goes some way to quell these fears. She says there are high expectations among YouTube EDU partners. By becoming a partner, these institutions are committing to upload highquality content. They are expected to upload lots and often, and refresh the material frequently. Content on YouTube EDU falls under the same watchful eye as the general YouTube portals, where Google works closely with law enforcement bodies to ensure no illegal behaviour is promoted. Failing that, the public acts as a regulator, with the ability to flag up anything inappropriate to the YouTube puppeteers. With Google at the helm, we should be prepared for YouTube EDU to grow beyond all belief. The channel is only two years old, is already taking the higher education world by storm and showing no signs of slowing. Lin says that while the channel is currently aimed at tertiary institutions, there are plans to expand it into all levels and areas of education. “What we’re trying to do at YouTube EDU is build a global classroom,” she says, in an interview that naturally is available on YouTube for millions to view. She speaks with the sort of Google-bred confidence one might imagine and leaves viewers with the feeling that it probably won’t be long before year 11 maths students are using YouTube EDU to swot for their exams and preschoolers are learning another language. n


SPENDING ON sound systems

“It’s like they’re not listening to

a word I say!”

Soundfield amplification in classrooms might be the answer to improving students’ listening, learning and behaviour... and teachers’ stress levels and fatigue.

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any a teacher has been exasperated by their students’ inability to grasp a concept quickly or respond appropriately to a question posed in the classroom. However, new research has shown that students’ inattention might be down to something as rudimentary as finding it difficult to hear in the classroom. Virginia Good from the University of Canterbury researched the effectiveness of an enhanced listening environment (soundfield amplification) combined with phonological awareness intervention as part of her masters degree. “The research adds to the mounting body of evidence demonstrating the positive effects of soundfield systems on behavioural and academic achievement,” says Good. There is a large amount of research on the subject across the globe, all pointing to the same conclusions. Good’s research showed that children responded positively to soundfield systems; the benefits were observable by teachers within days of installing the systems. There was a marked improvement in behaviour and general academic performance as a result of the enhanced acoustic environment. Students were observed to comprehend and follow teacher instructions much better than before the system was installed.

Some teachers noticed that the soundfield amplification had a beneficial effect on students working below expected norms, while children of middle ability made a significant jump in progress. Many teachers commented on the personal benefits of the system as well. Some noted that soundfield amplification reduced vocal strain and left them with more energy and less tiredness. Others observed that the system seemed to enable a calmer classroom environment. The outcomes of Good’s research are music to the ears of those at Oticon New Zealand, whose FrontRow Active Learning soundfield systems, which include speakers and microphones designed to make it easier to listen and hear in the learning environment, were used in the research project. “The research builds on what we know locally and internationally about the benefits of FrontRow Active Learning Systems in the learning environment,” says Karen Pullar, general manager of Oticon New Zealand. “FrontRow systems are designed specifically for the classroom to optimise classroom sound quality, engage young minds, inspire participation and create a more intimate learning environment,” says Pullar. The systems were showcased at the New Zealand Principals Federation Conference in Wellington in April this year and have been embraced by the sector. Pullar says Oticon has been delivering soundfield systems to New Zealand schools for more than 40 years and have around 2500 classrooms using the technology. She says principals, teachers and students across the country know first-hand the difference it is making to their schools. Brent Griffin, principal of Western Heights Primary School in Rotorua, says the systems have made a huge difference. “Classrooms are quieter, and that creates the best environment for learning. FrontRow has particularly improved teaching of literacy. Children can hear clearly what the teacher is saying and teaching. This is allowing teachers to focus on teaching, instead of managing students and classroom behaviour. Children are hearing instructions and are engaged quicker.” Suella Quinn of Wiri Central School in Auckland reports similar success. “Our teachers are reporting that students with poor listening skills tune in better and quickly. That means less waste of learning time, and students have better concentration because they can hear all the time and the class is more relaxed.” Some schools have even adopted the FrontRow To Go system, which enables them to take the soundfield system outside the classroom environment. Windley School in Porirua is one such school. “We have some large withdrawal spaces that we can take the portable FrontRow To Go system into. We can use it in the library, hall and for staff meetings. We have even used it on the school field as a PA system,” says Tony Birch, the school’s deputy principal. So how much do the systems cost? Oticon offers four different systems, priced from $1200 to $2400 per classroom. Installation can cost up to $200 plus travel costs per classroom. Schools can install the systems themselves if they prefer. Oticon says typically most schools pay for the systems themselves and apply to local charities for support, such as Lions and Rotary clubs. n

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outfitting CLASSROOMS

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Stretching dollars

for new classrooms Education Review has a Q & A with Melanie Taylor, principal of brand-new Golden Sands Primary School in Papamoa East, Bay of Plenty about the spending decisions involved with outfitting new classrooms.

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Roughly how much does it cost to outfit a new classroom from your experience at Golden Sands?

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This would depend a lot on one’s educational philosophy. We have purposefully not purchased chairs and tables for every student and have complemented this with soft furnishings. We believe that our children’s learning should be personalised and we have furnished our learning communities to encourage individual and group learning rather than whole class or community learning. Our learning communities are flexible spaces with big glass sliding doors and flexible seating arrangements. Each learning community – which consists of four learning spaces, two learning studios and a large shared area – also has a number of large indoor/outdoor cushions and a selection of ottoman pieces. In other words, we purchased furniture that can be put together and used in a variety of ways.  We have allowed for a maximum of 80 children seated at any time on chairs and tables within each community. The two learning studios in each community have been furnished with a group table and chairs. This cost us $17,000 for each learning community. We also purchased teaching walls for storage at $18,000 per learning community.

work on learning spaces. We synthesised this information and created our own vision which we explained to a number of providers and asked them to leave samples for us to trial. This took a period of a couple of months.  Once we had trialled a few different ideas, we went out to tender with a concept and some specific criteria. Fit for purpose (learning needs) and cost were the main determiners. As with all budgets, there are limits, so some compromises were made. The senior leadership team then made a recommendation to the board of trustees.

Q A

Was it difficult to make the money stretch to where you wanted it to go?

The budget for furniture was very tight for us as, unlike many new primary schools, we had very little storage built in. Storage became a cost that had to come from the set up Furniture Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) grant. Our teaching walls cost $45,000, which came from this grant.

Q

Did you consult with many other new schools on what worked well for them?

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I was fortunate to have visited a number of new schools that had been recently opened. A number of the furniture providers also had a lot to offer.

Q

Q

A

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How were decisions made with regard to furnishings and fittings? Who was involved and what factors were considered?

Firstly, we spent a lot of time considering our learning philosophy, what we believed in and what we wanted learning to “look like” at our school. We focused on “anywhere, anytime, anyplace” for both IT and furniture. We also read a lot about flexible learning spaces, including Prakash Nair’s work on architecturally designed spaces for learning and Dr Kenn Fisher’s

What have you learned from the process and would you do anything differently?

It is exciting to be able to create a concept from the beginning. Choosing furniture to meet the learning philosophy and functionality of a school is something that we don’t often get the chance to do. As furniture is something that defines a space, gives a mood and has purpose, it was essential that we got it right. To this end, we bought only core items to start with and have had some pieces added later. For example, we

designed a visualiser trolley, which we had made so that the visualisers could be flexibly used. We are still thinking about some extra storage options. Overall, we are really happy with our purchases and wouldn’t do anything differently.

Q A

What advice would you offer to other new schools?

Advice for others: 1. Ensure that as much storage is built into each learning space as possible. While this does restrict flexibility a little, it makes the set-up grant go a lot further. Our establishment board of trustees wanted to keep the flexibility high until I was appointed, however did not realise the impact that this would have on the set-up grant. 2. Ensure that any autex or similar display/ acoustic treatments that you require are in the original build costs, if possible. While it is an excellent product, it is very expensive for schools to supply themselves. New schools don’t get any Five-Year Agreement monies for 10 years so there is little capacity to fund this at any time in the near future. 3. Ensure that bigger providers (and anyone local) tender for the work, as the costs vary widely. More traditional, costefficient furniture can be “funked up” with modern treatments, i.e. fabric. It doesn’t hurt to ask what value a company can add, such as free delivery, unpacking or bulk discounts. Most will do all of these. 4. For new schools specifically, keep in touch with other new schools as there is not a set formula for what each school is provided with as part of the build cost. One school might get stoves included in the staffroom within the build cost, while another wouldn’t. These items could then form the beginning of dialogue with the Ministry of Education. n

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tech lab

From robotics to augmented reality, the HIT Lab NZ is at the cutting edge of technological research.

Hitting the mark I n the old maths building on the Canterbury University campus is the Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand, better known as the HIT Lab NZ, a lab buzzing with emerging technologies and possibilities. Its slogan, “Unlocking the power of human intelligence” feels uncomfortably intellectual at first, but as one learns about the remarkable research projects the lab is churning out, it starts to feel rather apt. The lab conducts research with new emerging technologies such as human-robot interaction, augmented reality, next-generation video conferencing and immersive visualisation. Interaction design techniques are used to adapt these technologies to the needs of end users and solve real-world problems. Ultimately it strives to improve the user experience with technology. The lab is state of the art. A vast array of hardware and software, including multi-touch tabletop and screens, are at the disposal of its researchers. Perhaps the most notable facility is VisionSpace, the lab’s virtual reality and visualisation centre enabling end users to view and intuitively interact with 3D virtual data in real time. The centre’s impressive workstation for developing 3D graphics, a tiled-display solution for 3D visualisation and a three-screen immersive stereo projection system was built with support from the Tertiary Education Commission’s Innovation and Development Fund grant. In fact, the HIT Lab NZ is reportedly

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one of the best-funded centres of its kind. But is it money well spent? If the quality of research is anything to go by, all signs point to “yes” being the answer. It has helped put New Zealand on the map in terms of research into fields such as augmented reality, in which the HIT Lab NZ is one of the leading research centres in the world. This technology involves the seamless overlay of virtual images on the real world, and has potential applications in a variety of fields, including entertainment, education, medicine and manufacturing. This is where the HIT Lab NZ’s point of difference lies. The lab’s researchers are not solely focused on developing technology, but also in its application, its commercial potential; they are interested in how people relate to it – how it affects their lives. The research conducted in the area of human-robot interaction is a good example of this. Researchers are exploring hardware and software solutions for robots that enable them to act socially, including models of human behaviour, emotions, anthropomorphism and animacy. But it isn’t just about building robots; the lab is especially interested in the effects the robots have on their users. While the HIT Lab NZ becomes a second home for many students as they complete their postgraduate degrees – it offers a PhD in human interface technology, and will soon offer a masters programmes – it also offers internships

of between three and six months. Interns can either propose their own line of research or join a project in one of the existing research themes of the lab. The HIT Lab NZ recently welcomed three new interns from overseas. Rahul Budhiraja, originally from the Middle East, will join the augmented reality research programme, looking specifically at augmented reality tracking systems for Android devices. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, from India, will be working on interface design for mobile platforms, and Kazuyuki Fujita, a PhD student at Osaka University in Japan, will be working on the interface of group interaction with large screens. It’s pleasing to know that New Zealand is keeping abreast of cutting edge technological developments with the likes of the HIT Lab NZ. It seems that “Unlocking the power of human intelligence” sums up the lab quite nicely. n


apps

The best educational apps around

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ith each passing day, more apps (applications) become available for teachers and students to tap into the exciting possibilities of using iPads, Androids and other devices for learning and education. But how do you find what is going to be of value in the classroom? It is important to consider the purpose and function of the app, as well as the cost and its capacity for group learning, among other factors. Here are some educational apps that come recommended:

General apps

Google Apps for Education It’s all about “cloud-based” solutions for students and teachers these days, and the bestknown example is Google Apps for Education. It is free and gives every student and teacher an online account with their own schoolbased email address (gmail), Google Docs and calendar, with the opportunity to add other free modules at a later stage.

iWork apps: Pages, Keynote and Numbers The three iWork productivity apps help students and teachers put together professional-looking documents, presentations and spreadsheets no matter where they are. When you finish what you’ve been working on, use AirPrint to print it out directly from your iPad.

Blackboard Mobile Learn Students and teachers who already use Blackboard will find this app useful for course listings, which organisations users are involved in, as well as access to any readings and assignments

Cram The app for anyone swotting for exams. Both teachers and students can create flashcards and tests and import and share them with others.

Essay Grader An app for teachers pressed for time. It comes with a bank of pre-written comments and helps

teachers cut down on marking time without writing the same comments over and over again by hand. After assigning a grade, teachers can then email the sheet directly to the student or export it to the computer for editing and printing.

eClicker This app is for teachers looking for classroom feedback. It charts the class responses, showing which areas are understood and which need more work. Students select a response to a question composed by the teacher and are then able to participate without fear of being wrong, since only the teacher views the results.

Subject-specific apps read me stories

8Interactive’s app provides an “addictive reading experience for kids”.

Word Lens This free app instantly translates signage from one language to another through the camera application. Language teachers can use this for scavenger hunts.

Molecules This free app allows users to view and manipulate three-dimensional models of different molecules.

Today in History

Uniquely Kiwi Apps

Kiwi Media

Kiwi Media has developed several apps, including multi-language QBooks, puzzles and games. QBooks combine a narrator’s voice with original picture illustrations and touchable text that is synchronised to highlight and sound when the word is touched. Each QBook includes the narration, text, games and user interface in US English, Spanish, Portuguese and Māori.

What bird NZ This free app provides a concise pocket reference guide to some of the interesting birds that can be seen around New Zealand. It allows you to hear and see them and also provides interesting trivia in a fun “Top Trumps” style card format.

Learn te reo This app teaches Māori using a drill-based approach. Enter the word and repeat the word. Review allows you to see the word in English and Māori. Quiz Mode allows you to test yourself. Touch the speaker icon to hear the word.

Kiwiana

This app is good for history classes or general knowledge. It lists notable events in history as well as important figures who were born or died on a specific date.

This app allows you to learn te reo Māori, read a Kiwi slang dictionary, play a quiz, complete a picture puzzle with 40 pictures, listen to the New Zealand national anthem, bird sounds, and more.

Math Ref Free

Fastfinga

For maths classes. This is a free version of Math Ref offering 600 out of over 1300 formulae, figures, tips, and examples.

PI83 Graphing Calculator

This app is among those developed by Catalystwo, a small software company based in New Zealand developing for iPhone/iPad/Mac. n

Another app for the maths student. With over 100 math functions, the graphing calculator is a clone of the TI-83 without the expensive price tag. It is used in place of any calculator to input data, make graphs or matrices.

Are there any other apps you have found useful? Find this article online at www.educationreview.co.nz and recommend the apps to others.

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Toddlers and

technology JUDE BARBACK looks at the arguments for technology in early childhood education.

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y daughter Emily can work our iPod nano much better than I can. Emily has just turned one. My age shall not be revealed – suffice to say my years should equip me to handle intuitive new technology better than someone who has not yet mastered walking or talking. Emily’s grasp of technology does not end there: she has taught herself how to turn on the television with the remote and operate the volume and channel selection. When opening the laptop, she says “Nana” because she associates the computer with skyping her grandmother in the UK. And the most astonishing thing about all of this is that it isn’t astonishing. A quick poll of my baby-clad friends reveals they are all the same. Oh yes, Blake can put a DVD on by himself. Ruby likes to look at

Emily and the iPod nano.

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ece tech

photos of herself on the digital camera. Oliver’s favourite apps are... and so it goes on. There is a slight uneasiness accompanying the subject of toddlers and technology. Perhaps because of the niggly fear that iPod-proficient babies shall one day become console-addicted, social media-obsessed teens incapable of kicking a ball or conversing politely with others. What sparks such concerns? Surely it is possible to raise a child capable of being both technologically and socially adept. We have long been conversant with the arguments against too much screen time for preschoolers, whether it be television, computer or another device. The screen encourages isolation, provides a substitute for more useful activities and over-stimulates developing brains. And these are not old wives’ tales (although the one about sitting too close will make your eyes square probably is): research published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that children who were exposed to more screen time at preschool age were more likely by age 10 to be disengaged at school, get picked on by classmates, be overweight and eat an unhealthy diet. Other studies have found similar results, including research conducted in New Zealand. However, the pace of advancing technology adds shades of grey to the anti-screen time debate. Technology is no longer synonymous with television; rather it encompasses a huge and diverse range of media. Devices are increasingly designed to interact with our daily lives rather than replace other activities with passive watching. We only need to look to New Zealand’s early childcare centres for evidence of technology’s role in assisting children’s learning journeys. Technology is linked into the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki. The curriculum aims to connect people, places and things, and technology is a learning medium that offers this opportunity and experience. One of New Zealand’s leading childcare organisations, Kidicorp agrees it is a necessary addition to the curriculum. “Without being able to conclude what the world will look like in the years beyond, it is important that children are exposed to the variety of ways that communication is happening in the world, and are able to be actively supported or guided to explore opportunities and possibilities that engage their curiosity and over time develop those dispositions for life-long learning,” says Clair Edgeler, Kidicorp’s national professional services manager. Consequently, technology is used widely in Kidicorp centres by both teachers and children. Teachers use technology to capture digital images and videos that provide ‘visual life’ to observations and discoveries of children’s learning. Documentation such as this is shared with children and their families. Kidicorp have also witnessed that children will use technology to communicate aspects of their home lives to their teachers and other children. “They are able to share their family experiences, identity and values with teachers through the use of technology which has a positive impact on children’s learning through strong links between home and the centre that increases children’s sense of belonging and wellbeing,” says Edgeler. While Kidicorp agrees there are great benefits in children’s exposure to technology, it maintains it is always important their teachers are there to guide safe practices. This is supported through the ongoing review of centre and organisational policies, including the aspirations of parents/whānau. “We see technology in its many forms supporting opportunities for children to gain experience and explore different forms of communication, opportunities for literacy, creativity and self-assessment,” says Edgeler. Technology is also enabling children to make connections to the wider world through learning about people, places and things. Indeed, many early childhood educators are now using technology as a tool for children to further explore their world, rather than as a

substitute for learning and play. It’s not a case of technology replacing the playground, but integrating technology into the playground. It’s easy to confuse the issue when we talk about “technology” as a catch-all term. The focus shouldn’t be on which side of the fence to sit, but on which technology is being used and whether its application is appropriate for the needs of young children. It’s all about quality. A child’s computer time could be solitary and sedentary or it could be interactive and educationally rich.

“We see technology in its many forms supporting opportunities for children to gain experience and explore different forms of communication, opportunities for literacy, creativity and self-assessment.” – Clair Edgeler Edgeler agrees. “Centres need to be aware that some programmes are limited in their educational benefits and ideally programmes should provide opportunities for creativity and exploration rather than singular and limited learning objectives.” Technology is so much ingrained in our lives – and destined to be even more so in our children’s – that it would be unnatural to ban it from their daily existence. That Emily is building a relationship, albeit virtually, with her English nana via Skype, only strengthens my belief that her exposure to technology is doing her more good than harm. n

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computer security

The W darker side of ICT The internet can pose many risks to teachers and students. JUDE BARBACK discusses the actions schools can take.

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e shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t underestimate the value of the internet in our schools. It is now an integral part of our education system and rightly so â&#x20AC;&#x201C; after all, our students need to be prepared for the realities of living in an online world once they have left school. From researching information, to communicating with other students and teachers, to submitting homework assignments, to seeking online resources for lessons, the benefits of online appear endless for students and teachers alike. However, we shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t misjudge the threats posed by the internet. At the risk of scaremongering, we are all aware of the contradictory ease, and severity of sanctions of accessing inappropriate material on the web.

Teachers beware There is growing concern that our teachers are vulnerable to online threats. Computer Security for New Zealand Schools cites the case of a wellrespected New Zealand head teacher falsely accused of accessing inappropriate material on his computer. Despite his innocence, he lost his job, his home and has since moved abroad. There was also reputational damage to the school. In response to this case and others, Computer Security for New Zealand Schools has sought to bring wider attention to these issues and offer guidance on how to minimise the risks to schools and teachers. Schools, as employers, have a responsibility

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to protect their employees. Ideally they should work with their network administrators to ensure their networks are set up correctly and that teachers have the right support. Most importantly, schools need to be provided with guidance on how incidents should be investigated to protect the integrity of the school and give the teacher a fair hearing. Having said that, teachers have a responsibility to protect themselves and need to be sure they are using their computer appropriately. School network administrators have a responsibility to protect their users and Computer Security for New Zealand Schools builds on existing Ministry of Education guidance while trying to maintain a balance between the rights of teachers, the usability of computer systems and, of course, the protection of our children.

Student safety For all the cyber safety policy documents and student-signed agreements on using school ICT equipment responsibly, there will be always be the risk of the internet being used inappropriately and schools need to be prepared to deal with this. Even so, it is important for schools to have a comprehensive and easily understood policy for internet use in place. Use clear, specific, age-appropriate language, defining all ambiguous terms. Detail expected standards of behaviour and enforcement guidelines for those who break the rules.


Give specific examples of appropriate and inappropriate use.

On iPad alert Increasingly, schools need to think about protecting their technology from their students as well. With iPads becoming common fixtures in schools, there has arisen a need to protect the devices from students downloading unwanted apps and games. ICT regional advisors for schools have been increasingly asked about how they can limit people from downloading apps onto school iPads. In addition to spelling out expectations for loan equipment, schools are being urged to alter the settings on their devices so that students – and their parents and siblings – can’t meddle with school property.

Virus protection Then there is the threat of viruses. Many readers will recall the Conficker virus which infected millions of personal computers worldwide. Among its many victims was Otaki College, bringing the school to its knees in 2009 when the virus infected the school’s computer network via a memory stick. The unnerving aspect of this story is that Otaki

NZ’s Cyber Security Centre: open for business A Cyber threat sounds like something that happens in other countries, but according to the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Steven Joyce, the global threat from cyber intrusions is real and growing, and New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy are not immune. “Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for New Zealanders, businesses and government. Cyber intrusions have the potential to impact on the reliability of critical infrastructure, government services, and the economy.” In response to these concerns, the government released New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy in June this year, which outlines targeted initiatives to improve New Zealand’s cyber security. The priorities are to increase awareness and online security, protect government systems and information, and strengthen incident response and planning. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is a key part of this strategy. The centre, which officially opened in late September, will initially have three main functions: 1) provide advice and support to help develop secure networks; 2) detect and respond to sophisticated cyber threats; and 3) coordinate and assist operational responses to major cyber events of national importance. The NCSC will also absorb the existing functions of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP). Joyce believes New Zealanders will benefit from enhanced protection of government data and services, and critical national infrastructure. “This is an important step in building New Zealand’s capacity to protect against sophisticated cyber threats.” software failed to detect the Conficker bug. Scarily, viruses are sometimes craftier than the detection programmes designed to stop them. Despite this, experts still advise schools to arm themselves with anti-virus protection software and to seek help quickly when a problem arises. n

College had in place anti-virus software, provided by the Ministry of Education. The software, while not compulsory, has been provided by the ministry at no cost to thousands of New Zealand schools since 2003. Consequently, the college felt entitled to compensation from the ministry after the

Five traits of an effective 21st century teacher 1

Anticipates the future

The effective 21st century teacher has an awareness of rapidly changing technology trends and ensures students are not left behind in the wake of this technological change. They are in tune with the direction of the economy and career opportunities for children in the future. They are committed to preparing their students for the world in which they will live and work, as opposed to their current world. They are advocates for change in educational thinking and prioritisation of spending.

2

Is a lifelong learner

The effective 21st century teacher understands the importance of being a flexible, life-long learner, willing to accept and embrace change and unafraid to make mistakes but willing to learn from them. They focus on the process and the outcome rather than the tools to get us there. Technologies are simply tools to improve our quality of life; when they fail to do that, it’s time to invent new tools.

3

do they know how to be a friend? The effective 21st century teacher should model and demand courtesy, communication, respect and cooperation. Technology can encourage isolation, therefore interpersonal skills need to be taught so students can go on to be effective in the workplace and fulfilled in their lives.

4

Can teach and assess all levels of learners

The effective 21st century teacher should understand the importance of being a ‘situational leader’ – assessing the level of each student’s learning ability and commitment to learning. Teachers should aim to bring students to a level where they feel comfortable having a say in their own learning.

5

Is able to discern effective vs. noneffective technology

Children are very quick to adopt new technologies and the effective 21st century teacher should recognise that these technologies can often enhance student learning, while other technologies are non-productive. The effective teacher needs to be adept in judging the educative and non-educative use of technologies available to them and to their students at school and at home. n

Fosters peer relationships Students might have 500 friends on Facebook, but

Adapted from www.eschoolnews.com

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e-learning

What goes on in Room 7 DEBBIE CURRIE shares her experience of embedding e-learning into her classroom teaching.

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-learning (learning supported by or facilitated by ICT) is a fundamental teaching strategy in today’s classroom. Technology is a natural part of my students’ lives. They socialise, communicate, create and play within their virtual world, but the challenge to me, as their teacher, is to use e-learning in a purposeful way to increase student achievement. Technology, in our school, is for learning. One of the biggest issues of embedding ICT into the learning of intermediate-aged students is the feeling that they often know more about the technology than I do. So with this in mind, I attempt to create my classroom programme collaboratively with the students, using e-learning in four main ways: delivering the programme, formative assessment, activities to support new learning, and the sharing of outcomes. A key to student engagement is in collaboration with planning and timetabling. Discussing specific learning outcomes, and together coming up with the success criteria and what the task outcome will be, gives students ownership of their learning, and allows them to be creative in all stages of the task. We use a wiki to share the planning, making it available to parents and students at any time. The discussion tabs within the wiki allow students to ask questions, share findings and have some in-depth online conversations with each other. It never ceases to amaze me how often students are using the wiki, outside of school hours, to extend their thinking and learning. Giving students their own login, and permission to make changes on specific wiki pages, allows me to ‘track’ the students who are actively involved, and those who are not. Using ICT tools in this way allows our classroom environment and timetable to be flexible, students select what they want to be working on within a range of learning areas in the class, including tables for group work, beanbags, computer stations, and coffee tables. Some students who have travelled overseas during the year have continued working on their learning from locations all over the world! Clear success criteria and use of online assessment tasks, such as e-asTTLe, help my students to identify their own learning needs. Once we have created our task outcome, and the knowledge needed to complete the task, students then select teaching workshops they need to attend, based on their next steps. Most of these workshops are undertaken in class, with the support of ICT tools and software including interactive whiteboards and PowerPoints, but sometimes the good old scrapbook is still the best recording tool. We then use a wide range of interactive ICT tools to reinforce the workshop learning. These include digistore, web games, Google Apps, reading post and task-specific software. The fun comes when we are ready to share our outcomes. There are some fantastic web2.0 tools and software we have discovered. If you were to ask the students which they enjoy using, their responses would include voice threads, digital photos/video, collaborative text pages (that show everyone’s responses at any given time, such as wallwisher, typewithme), blogs and wiki pages. Some have been hugely successful and others an experiment not worth repeating, but in all cases the highlight of online sharing is the response and feedback. Students feel a sense of achievement and continued motivation when someone else comments on their learning. Although there is no doubt that students are motivated by the

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use of ICT tools, I believe the main source of engagement comes from the evidence of progress in their learning. E-learning is integrated into each stage of our classroom programme, in purposeful and logical ways, allowing students to clearly see and share this progress. Students are always teaching me new ways of embedding ICT into our class programme and so I guess they are not the only ones benefiting from our e-learning environment. n Debbie Currie is assistant principal at Matamata Intermediate School (and Room 7’s teacher). Room 7’s wiki: www.mrscandrm7.wikispaces.com


social media

The many moods of

social media

Social media can tell us more about our moods than you might think. DR SURESH SOOD explains the implications of his research, analysing tweets in Australia and New Zealand.

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tago University hosted the first official university-run Twitter research conference as part of their recent Postgrad Research Month. However, despite this notable exception, social media research across Australia and New Zealand continues to exist in a nascent state. The primary rationalisation for this lies among academics who believe that the key platforms delivering social media capability to businesses and consumers are a fad. This is perhaps a half-truth; take the example of MySpace – not even the corporate might of News Corp was able to prevent Facebook from usurping MySpace and achieving leadership among online social networking services. A very popular fad indeed is social networking. Academics take note: other networks will appear overnight; Google Plus is a relatively new network community that already provides capability beyond Facebook and Twitter. Google Plus has already gained 100,000 Australian and 22,000 New Zealand users. More specifically, just prior to the official release, the University of Monash led the regional number of university users with 1300. The largest student grouping in New Zealand was at The University of Auckland, with nearly 1000 users. In the vernacular of Google Plus, plenty of students are “hanging out” in rooms, allowing video communication between 10 students simultaneously. These numbers are paltry when compared with nearly 2.5 million Facebook users in Sydney and one million Auckland residents. The key aspect of social media, persistent beyond the networking community, is the database of social interactions and social gestures (like/+1, @, unsubscribe and share). The Twitter database is growing at a rate of over a billion tweets every five days and presents Australian and New Zealand researchers with the ability to understand what people are thinking in real time. The tweets represent unprompted and spontaneous thoughts from people within naturalistic settings. For example, visitors to the Auckland Flower Festival triggered happy tweets. Searching for visitor tweets with the terms “unbelievable”, “OMG” or “wow” reveals the positive feelings occurring within the space of the flower show either in the past or in the “now”. By aggregating and taking these specific messages from Twitter, the ability to understand the impact of flowers on the mood of people is within the reach of a university with a modest research budget. Research at the University of Technology in Sydney moves beyond just focusing on the impact of flowers on people’s moods and is embarking on an ambitious project to map the moods of Australians and New Zealanders through monitoring and categorising tweets. What began as a research project for The Works advertising agency has the potential to expand well beyond the initial marketing and advertising implications of the research to provide lessons for Australian and New Zealand societies. In early research findings, some interesting comparisons exist between an analysis of over one million Sydney and Auckland tweets. The primary focus for the early stage of the research is on moods. Relative to emotions, moods are not attributable to a stimulus and last considerably longer, even days. Moods are cognitive in nature and do not provide any tell-tale signs. The daily cycle in both cities follows the same pattern, with the happiest tweets towards the end of the day. The weekly variation in tweets shows people are happiest at the end of the week in both cities. The beginning of the week is the most negative, commencing with Sunday. By looking at the

profane words, Sydney swears marginally more relative to Auckland. The uniqueness of the research project includes the ability to classify the archetypal patterns of behaviour. These patterns reflect the unconscious primal interaction of people in everyday life connecting with everyday objects. The tweets exhibit an uncanny similarity across the two cities with the caregiver, jester, lover and sage strongest of all the patterns. What does this knowledge regarding moods provide? This kind of knowledge allows advertisers to engage brands as part of consumer conversations and helps to intelligently schedule the best time to let consumers know about a new TV programme, an opportunity to donate to a special cause, or a special offer. If the mood is depressed or negative an intervention to improve the mood is a natural action. Such interventions include the selection of a comical advertisement, the use of humour on a Facebook page, the opportunity to buy refreshment at a special price, or a gift bag of confectionery. This research is turning social media away from being a fad into a research stream with wider social and humanitarian implications. Just imagine for one moment applying the same research method to analyse tweets leading up to natural disasters as a way to uncover early indications of these events. n Dr Suresh Sood is a social media storytelling researcher of the Executive Education Department at the University of Technology in Sydney.

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Education Review series ICT & Procurement 2011

Gaining access to affordable, high quality professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers is becoming increasingly more difficult. In response to this, CORE Education has recently released their CORE Achieve programme of professional learning. CORE Achieve allows educators to learn in the area of their choice, at a time and place suitable to them, with the focus being on participation, collaboration and interaction rather than just delivery. Research shows schools and teachers are finding the costs associated with travel and release to attend PLD courses is becoming prohibitive, or limiting participation to just one or two staff, says CORE Director of elearning, Derek Wenmoth. “With increased access to the internet, and the range of online tools for communication and sharing, the move to providing our services online makes sense. Achieve is our response to the declared need of schools for the provision of our services.” In addition to the individual ‘study at your own pace’ courses, the Achieve Whole School and Cluster Option provides a cost-effective and proven professional development option focusing on whole school development. Based around a trial

approach involving a cluster of Canterbury schools through part of 2010 and 2011, the model has proved extremely effective in providing high quality professional learning programmes. “This model of PLD is the way of the future,” says cluster coordinator and Deputy Principal at Marian College, Frank Moran. “It’s the type of PLD you can use at different levels in your school, from meeting personal needs through to involving whole staff. The model also provides access to people and expertise that we might not otherwise be able to connect with or afford.” Another benefit of the CORE Achieve Whole School and Cluster Option is its ongoing development over time, rather than the one-off withdrawal experiences often provided. “The resources are always available to go back and use at any time that suits. The programme gave us a very clear focus for what we wanted to achieve, providing a stimulus and structure for ongoing discussion.” The CORE Achieve Whole School and Cluster Option can be tailored appropriate to each school’s context and goals, and can involve all staff in the school, offering considerable savings in terms of teacher release time, travel and accommodation.


BuSINESS growTh Wellington City Council staged a Business Innovation Growth (BIG) event at Parliament in September to demonstrate to MPs of all parties that Wellington has a growing, innovative business sector which makes an important contribution to the nation’s economy. DAVID CRAIG reports on whether our education sector is producing the kind of graduates that innovative business wants.

FAST FORWARD IN wEllINgToN

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ttending the Business Innovation Growth event at the Beehive was like stepping into a time machine that sent me hurtling into the future. Let’s start with 8Interactive: established 2009, produces Read Me Stories in an iPad/iPhone application, which, according to the company, features script, “gorgeous digital art, rich soundtracks and touchable characters which create an addictive reading experience for kids”. These digital books can be accessed “everywhere – car, café, while mum is cooking, bedtime, you name it”. 8Interactive claims that Read Me Stories has achieved success in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore and is “the top education application overall in New Zealand”. It has published over 100 digital books and 99 per cent of its customers are overseas. Even allowing for the company’s enthusiastic promotional language, 8Interactive demonstrates how technology can be used in the critically important task of encouraging children to read. There were 25 other innovative entities listed under ‘Information Technology and Telecommunications’ sector, including some well-established award winners such as Fronde, that excels at delivering software solutions to government and many business sectors. A common theme among the 75 participants in this event was the importance of partnering with tertiary institutions and research facilities. This led me to Viclink, which is Victoria University’s commercialisation company. Viclink’s written material helped answer my key question about whether our education system was providing the kind of people innovative businesses need: “Viclink helps students and academics turn their cutting-edge research into potentially global

businesses. We plan to build a portfolio of relevant intellectual property and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. We’ll also work to find partners and experts to develop our technology.” As my foray into New Zealand’s innovative future continued, I paused to admire the screen and digital sector, featuring the Gibson Group and the companies associated with the production of The Lord of the Rings films and Avatar. Their inspirational story is familiar to all of us. The undisputed star of the show was a remote-controlled helicopter that can take aerial photos much more cost effectively than a piloted aircraft. This is the brainchild of Avenir Holdings, which specialises in unmanned aerial vehicle systems. Almost all of this company’s revenue comes from exports. My last stop was at the exhibit of the remarkable Gillies McIndoe Research Institute. This is a research institute which focuses on reconstructive plastic surgery and its name is a tribute to New Zealand’s most famous reconstructive plastic surgeons, Gillies from the First World War and McIndoe from the Second World War. They were uncle and nephew and both trained at Otago. The institute’s ground-breaking research has changed the way strawberry birthmarks are treated, by minimising the need for surgery and it is looking to extend this work to the treatment of cancer. My reflections on this Business Innovation Growth event are: » The Wellington City Council deserves credit for putting on this event. It showed participants that their innovative achievements were valued, and I noted that many MPs took a keen interest in the displays.

» »

»

The education sector in general and Victoria University in particular contributed strongly to the innovative enterprise featured in this event, which helped celebrate that step toward relevance, and excellence. There is now a consensus that having investment capital chasing its tail through the residential property market generates nothing but inflation. Investment in innovative enterprise is always high risk, but there is a lead being given by those Kiwisaver providers, for example, who place around seven per cent to help achieve business innovation growth. n

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QUARTERLY funding

ICT is likely to suffer under the new quarterly funding model for secondary students.

Roll call T

he new quarterly funding model is seen by some as a tool for incentivising schools to retain their students. Others argue that quarterly funding is disadvantaging those students who do remain at school, as those who leave take their chunk of the school’s operational budget with them. The controversial funding model began this year. Operational funding for all year 9–13 students in state and state-integrated schools is now based on quarterly roll counts, whereas previously funding for these students was calculated on an annual entitlement, based on a peak roll. In simple terms, this means that schools will no longer keep receiving funding for students who leave during the year and schools that pick up students during the year will get additional operational funding accordingly. So far, so fair. But the PPTA’s junior vice president Doug Clark casts a different light on the new funding model.

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Clark says quarterly funding means schools are faced with funding cuts every 10 weeks if students leave, making it difficult to do any long-term planning. It stands to reason that subjects demanding a higher proportion of schools’ operational spend, such as ICT and media studies, are likely to suffer due to pressure put on schools’ operational budgets as a result of the quarterly funding model. “It impacts unfairly on students who stay at school, because schools are forced to cut programmes and activities in order to balance the budget,” says Clark. And therein lies the rub. Statistics show that students in lower decile schools are more likely to leave school earlier, which puts these schools at a bigger disadvantage when coping with reductions in funding as the year progresses. “Decile 1 schools face average losses of about $120,000, while decile 10 schools may lose, on average, around $20,000,” says Clark.

If Clark’s projections prove to be accurate, this could indeed spell doom and gloom for subjects like ICT, which inevitably suck up a large amount of operational budget at lower decile schools. The repercussions of such cost-cutting measures will ironically lead to more students leaving, contrary to the aims of quarterly funding as a means for retaining students. However, the Ministry of Education says that as school operational funding is being increased by four per cent in 2011, this will counterbalance the effect of quarterly roll counts on schools’ total funding. The ministry goes as far as to estimate that in 2011 almost all schools will receive more funding than they did in 2010. As with so many policy decisions, we shall have to wait and see. The PPTA is surveying secondary school principals to collect more data on how quarterly funding is affecting them. The results will make interesting reading. n


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videoconferencing CHOICES

The future of

face to face JUDE BARBACK looks at two different methods of videoconferencing for the lassroom that are changing the way we teach and learn.

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ho remembers the cartoon The Jetsons? Little did we think, in the late ‘80s, when we watched the space-age onedimensional family communicate with each other by video phones, that this parody on the future would be part of our everyday lives in a mere matter of years. Of course we now use videoconferencing in a slightly different way to George and Jane Jetson. Skype, to take a popular example, has become part of our everyday lives, connecting us to homesick offspring on their OE, or to show off your son’s mastering of the alphabet to a proud nana in the States. It was only a short time before schools were taking advantage of the free web-based resource to connect with other schools around the globe. Many teachers were quick to introduce Skype into their classrooms to connect with other classrooms around the world and make learning more exciting and interactive for their students. Videoconferencing is relevant for many subjects. No longer confined to the scratchy tape recordings of old, language students can test out their Japanese with students in Japan. Geography students can take a virtual field trip. Expert speakers can join classes from afar, adding another dimension to student learning, all without leaving the classroom. However, teachers are often confronted with the difficulty of finding similar classes to pair with. In response to this challenge, Skype, in consultation with teachers, created ‘Skype in the Classroom’, a free global community intended to bring like-minded teachers together online, making it easy for them to share skills and ideas. The platform, which has been in beta since the end of December, already has a community of more than 4000 teachers across approximately 100 countries. Teachers are using the tool to collaborate with other teachers, find partner classes and guest speakers. They can source relevant projects according to search criteria such as the age groups they teach, location and subjects of interest; and teaching resources can be easily shared and found. Already success stories of ‘Skype in the Classroom’ are emerging. Kara Cornejo, who teaches a fifth grade class in Missouri, USA, and is an avid Skype user, found five schools around the world to collaborate with on an international weather project within just one day of joining. “‘Skype in the Classroom’ is an amazing resource to find teachers to collaborate with and to bring people into your classroom that you would never have been able to,” said Cornejo. The Global Learning Exchange, a programme designed to create borderless classrooms and allow students to learn about other cultures seamlessly, has been using Skype video for four years. Regular exchanges between Jurong West Primary school children in Singapore and Bill Williams Elementary school students in California in the US “has helped all 260 students from both schools build relationships with one another and facilitated learning that is not limited by geographical borders”, said co-founder Manuel Rose Delema. “Skype makes learning fun and engaging as children look forward to meeting their global friends and asking questions.” In a similar way, Skype is also used to connect nine and 10-year-old students at Lakanal School in Lille, France with their peers in Prince Edward Island, Canada. “Before arranging the first video call, our students exchanged letters and emails, but we decided to bring the two classes

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together face-to-face over Skype video to enrich their relationship,” said Christophe Fetat, the teacher at Lakanal School. “The result was amazing. Students were really engaged to discuss different topics. It is really a simple and effective way to exchange ideas, learn and bring other cultures into the class.” ‘Skype in the Classroom’ is a two-way street. Teachers are encouraged to share their expertise and experiences to promote a healthy exchange. Teachers who exchange ideas and information and coordinate their practice with other teachers report more positive teacher-student relations at their own schools. “Skype is committed to removing the barriers to communications and enabling conversations around the world with technology that is easy to use and affordable,” said Tony Bates, Skype’s chief executive. “‘Skype in the Classroom’ has been developed for a specific community of people who have a shared interest and are passionate about using technology in inventive ways in their classroom. We’ve received positive feedback from teachers and are keen to continue developing the site to meet their needs and help school children around the world work together in wonderful ways never thought possible.”

To join ‘Skype in the Classroom’, teachers should: 1) Sign up at education.skype.com using their Skype account details 2) Create a profile which includes their interests, location and the age groups they teach 3) Explore the directory to find projects, teachers and resources that match their skills, needs or interests. ‘Skype in the Classroom’ is a members-only community. Once teachers find someone they want to connect with, they can add that person as a Skype contact or send them a message through the site. To find projects, teachers, resources, and inspiration, visit education.skype.com The fact that Skype is free goes some way to compensate for its limitations – namely the small number of participants able to participate in a conference and the often poor quality of its calls. However for many schools, institutions and businesses, these limitations are insurmountable and a more sophisticated system is required. Typically, such conferencing systems come with hefty price tags, but Kiwi-based firm HiTech Solutions has got it right with their videoconferencing system, FaceMe. HiTech, based on Auckland’s North Shore, recognised that the traditional conferencing services, which typically cost around $100,000, were beyond the means of many small and medium-sized businesses. FaceMe, which has been described as “the world’s first business-focused, browser-based videoconferencing system” was launched in 2010 and costs a comparatively low $25,000 for set-up. FaceMe customers will be getting their money’s worth. While traditional systems typically only link up a limited number of points, as many as 20 people can take part in a FaceMe conference call from anywhere in the world, provided they have access to a webcam, mobile or landline phone and computer. FaceMe is straightforward to use. The system works through a server-like


appliance installed on the company’s premises. A user name and password allows the company to log into the system and create videoconference meetings. When the organisation is ready to have a conference, it sends an email to its customers or staff members in different locations. The email contains a hyperlink that the customer, or colleague, can click on and be taken through to the conference. The audio component is made on a separate land or mobile phone line, with the system prompting calls to all members of the conference. In an exciting move for HiTech Solutions, the company received NZ$300,000 in funding from TechNZ to expand FaceMe worldwide. Danny Tomsett of HiTech Solutions said the funding would allow a version of the firm’s FaceMe web-based videoconferencing system to be developed for markets such as Australia, Britain, India, the US, and potentially Japan. FaceMe appears in good shape for export. The original FaceMe Video Collaboration is now complemented by a raft of spin-off services – FaceMe Connect (allows your existing contact centre software to route and report just like a standard audio call), FaceMe Hosted Service Provider (allows virtually unlimited video ports and administrator user logons) and FaceMe Welcome (a sophisticated take on the virtual receptionist concept). Arguably, FaceMe is most suited to the corporate world and especially to small and medium-sized businesses. However, HiTech Solutions think it has relevance in a wide range of workplaces, including schools and tertiary institutions. Mark Christensen, managing director of HiTech Solutions, gives a raft of reasons why FaceMe is suited to the education sector, including its flexibility, which allows teaching “anytime, anywhere, with anyone”. He also says the cost of FaceMe is reasonable for tight education budgets. “It really is the simplest, easiest to use, most effective videoconferencing tool on the market, which means schools can get on with the business of teaching rather than worrying about the technology. FaceMe is a huge educational enabler.” Christensen says that although it is early days for educational videoconferencing, FaceMe is at the forefront of what will be a revolution

in education. It is already proving useful in many New Zealand schools, with Watchdog (Safe Internet) chosen as their preferred FaceMe partner in schools. One way FaceMe is set to revolutionise teaching is with its ‘show and discuss’ documents, which make it easier to show and work with documents on-screen for collaborative learning and inputs from all participants. FaceMe is not simply a ‘teacher-in-front-of-the-class’. The system is also useful for sharing learning and experiences with others. Takapuna Grammar uses FaceMe to connect their teachers to primary school pupils who are entering secondary school the following year. Christensen says schools are finding FaceMe useful for connecting with people overseas. Some schools are using FaceMe to dial in some of the best international teachers and lecturers to give Kiwi students a broader international experience. One Auckland secondary school using FaceMe found the system extremely helpful in connecting their Japanese students with their families, following the devastation of the tsunami this year. “The opportunity to have a FaceMe face-to-face talk with their parents offered far more reassurance than a phone call ever could,” said Christensen. He believes issues of distance, even within New Zealand, can be resolved with FaceMe, particularly within fields of specific expertise. A music class at a small provincial school potentially has access to leading musicians. “It is far easier to get someone to give up an hour or two of their time remotely than to have them travel the length of the country.” The system could also be used for staff recruitment or remote conference attendance, to save on time and money. Indeed, the possibilities appear endless. “What we find is that across all sectors people using FaceMe create their own specific uses for FaceMe in all sorts of situations we may not even have envisaged,” says Christensen. “FaceMe is all about shrinking boundaries nationally and internationally.” n For more information about FaceMe: www.watchdog.co.nz; www.faceme.co.nz

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educator awards

Microsoft’s annual Innovative Educator Awards promise great prizes for Kiwi teachers.

Clever tech teachers

rewarded T

he hunt is on for 2011’s most innovative school teacher with Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Awards, which celebrate the original and engaging use of technology in Kiwi classrooms. Entries are open and teachers will have to be in quick to meet the fast-approaching deadline of Friday 28 October, 2011. As part of the global Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, the awards look for teachers who are using technology in clever ways, recognising their passion and commitment with an unsurpassed professional development opportunity – the chance to network and collaborate with other like-minded and dedicated teachers from around the globe. Jan Anderson of Methven Primary School in Canterbury was named a Microsoft Innovative Educator in 2010 for her work in gaming and education, and attended the Microsoft Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Education Forum that year. “The opportunity to think outside the New Zealand curriculum and connect with other educators from around the Asia Pacific region was a phenomenal experience. To be recognised for my work was hugely rewarding, both professionally and personally. I am enjoying supporting other schools and teachers into games in education and extending the digital literacies children engage in throughout New Zealand,” says Anderson. The 2011 national winners will receive a professional development package worth more than $5000, including: »» An all-expenses paid trip to the Microsoft Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Education Forum in March 2012, and the chance to win a trip to the Worldwide Innovative Educators Forum later that year

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»» A HP EliteBook 2760p Tablet Notebook PC – valued at $3100 »» An Xbox Kinect package for the school »» A Microsoft Partners in Learning Teacher’s Award commemorative plaque and recognition on the global Microsoft Partners in Learning website. Evan Blackman, education manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says empowering educators is a huge focus for Microsoft. “Education is the cornerstone of New Zealand’s future success, and it is essential that we empower teachers to assist students in reaching their full potential. I’m passionate about technology opening the doors to more engaging and compelling learning – but first we need to ensure our teachers are comfortable and confident using technology in the classroom. “These awards are designed to recognise and reward teachers for innovative and groundbreaking use of technology. Every year we get a slew of inspiring entries from teachers around the country, and I’m sure this year will be no different. I hope teachers will not only put themselves forward for consideration, but also take the time to recognise the work of their peers.” Entry is open to all full-time and part-time primary and secondary school teachers at both public and private schools around New Zealand. Entries must be submitted by midnight, Friday 28 October, 2011, with evidence of how the entrant has used technology in an exemplary and innovative way. n For further information, including entry forms, judging criteria and terms and conditions, please visit www.microsoft. co.nz/innovativeeducators

Howick school’s path to tech success Howick College has been named a Microsoft Pathfinder School as a result of its innovative and proactive use of technology within the classroom. The college is the second school in New Zealand to be chosen as a Pathfinder School under the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme, joining Botany Downs Secondary College, which became the first New Zealand Pathfinder school in 2010. This year, 51 schools worldwide were selected as Pathfinder Schools, with seven named in the Asia-Pacific region. “This is a major achievement for the school,” says Iva Ropati, principal at Howick College. “Being named as a Pathfinder School is recognition of the effort and passion the teachers at Howick College put into their teaching. We have a fantastic set of educators here, all who strive to inspire and engage students by incorporating technology within the classroom.” Howick College is home to two Microsoft Innovative Educators, Steve Martin and Nathan Kerr, who have contributed significantly to this success. Kerr’s early work delivering educational materials via cell phones has been ground-breaking in enabling students to learn anytime, anywhere, from any device. As a Pathfinder School, Howick College will become part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning professional development network, which connects more than four million educators in 114 countries around the globe. Howick College will also receive mentoring from Microsoft Mentor Schools in the Asia Pacific region and will be invited to participate in virtual conferences with other Pathfinder Schools on a regular basis. Representatives from Howick College and Botany Downs Secondary College have been invited to attend both the regional and worldwide Innovative Educators Forums, with the latter being held in Washington DC in November this year.


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