Major EdTech deployment in New Zealand being discussed

March 22, 2020

A leaked memo reveals a possible plan to equip up to 70,000 students with devices as part of a major EdTech deployment in New Zealand

Major EdTech deployment in New Zealand being discussed

The New Zealand Herald has published details from a leaked memo indicating that the Ministry of Education is planning to potentially provide laptops or tablets to up to 70,000 students.  This follows a survey to determine both the ability of teachers to deliver home learning, as well as to gauge the number of students with internet enabled devices at home.  No decision has actually been made, as the plan is currently being scrutinised in terms of cost and availability.

A new website portal has been launched which together with distributing devices would represent a major EdTech deployment in New Zealand.  The website includes guidance for Parents & whānau (extended family), as well as teachers & senior leaders.  A resource section features a collection of links to external sites which are organised by both age and topic.

“ Working with the telco industry on rapid deployment options for students without internet at home…Working across government to prioritise demand for laptop and tablet devices in a situation of potentially extended supply chain constraints. ” Stuart Wakefield, Chief Digital Officer, the Ministry of Education via a leaked memo obtained by The New Zealand Herald

Currently schools remain open, however plans are in place to close schools or bring forward the Easter holidays, should community transmission begin.  Preparations are also underway to send ‘take home kits’ to families that lack access to online resources.  The government is also planning to work with low cost telecom providers to offer affordable packages to those that lack internet access.  Until all families have internet access, an interim measure may include the launch of a dedicated educational TV channel.

Popular high schools such as Melville High School and Long Bay College have announced teacher training days to ensure staff are prepared for the launch of home learning initiatives, which may include the use of video conferencing and online learning platforms.

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