21st century schools

April 4th, 2012 at 3:58 pm by David Farrar

Tom Pullar-Strecker reports at Stuff:

A select committee inquiry is likely to be held into whether schools are well able to take advantage of the new teaching and learning opportunities created by ultrafast broadband.

National Party MP Nikki Kaye said she would today call on the and science select committee to kick off an inquiry into “21st century learning environments and digital literacy”.

Ultrafast broadband could open up many more opportunities for online learning, but schools were moving at different paces to embrace the opportunities, she said.

“I hope that the overall outcome is that we are able to identify possible savings in technology and buildings, develop recommendations regarding optimal learning environments, and identify the skills required for teachers and students to achieve their full potential in the modern world.”

As the committee is comprised equally of government and opposition MPs, one opposition member would need to support the inquiry or abstain for the motion to pass.

It’s been announced that the select committee has voted to proceed with such an inquiry. I think it is a good and important issue for Parliament to be looking at.

Schools have been changing somewhat to take account of today’s technology but it has been relatively piecemeal and evolutionary. Some schools are doing absolutely amazing stuff, while others are struggling.

93% of schools will be connected by the end of 2014. This can have significant ramifications for how they operate. You may be able to live-stream classes, so sick students can follow from home. Or classes could be archived on the web for them to catch up. Should every student have an Internet capable mobile device? Should tests be done over the Internet? There may be opportunities for interesting speakers to be webcast into multiple classrooms and schools. Plus you have the potential for five year olds to learn how to read and do maths through interactive applications. The possibilities are almost limitless.

This appears to be a first principles review of what do we want our fibre connected 21st century schools and classrooms to look like. The ramifications could be quite significant.

The good thing is we already have some pockets of excellence around New Zealand for some of this, so it is not about having to start with an empty slate. It is about discovering what is already happening out there, and coming up with a blueprint applicable for the whole sector.

Tags: ,

32 Responses to “21st century schools”

  1. freedom101 (462 comments) says:

    For those who have never seen it, go to http://www.khanacademy.org and be prepared to be blown away. This is online tution of the highest standard, and free. What is needed is some facilitation locally in person, but the quality of the teaching and explanation of concepts is outstanding.

    Have a look at Chemistry for example: http://www.khanacademy.org/#chemistry

    or Macroeconomics: http://www.khanacademy.org/#macroeconomics

    I wonder what the PPTA and NZEI will make of this? One can only imagine.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. wf (372 comments) says:

    I am using the Khan Academy to keep the brain cells active.

    Now I am doing a little every day, and having fun, even if algebra remains a challenge.

    It’s more fun than crosswords :)

    I know children who log in just for fun, it’s just an interesting game. Mind you they can’t chant their times tables, lol.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    What on earth are on you going on about freedom101? Why would NZEI/PPTA object to the use of the website you linked to?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. thor42 (909 comments) says:

    Yep, the Khan Academy is great!
    Anyway, although I strongly support the UFB rollout, I would hope that the students have their spelling, grammar and numeracy up to par before using broadband at school. “First things first” and all that. As long as that is the case, then yes – broadband could offer some very good opportunities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. AndrewE (5 comments) says:

    Do you really think that teachers are going to be willing to be live streamed?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    It already happens now AndrewE. Video conferencing is quite common with small rural secondary schools that can’t offer the range of subjects or have a large amount of specialist teachers that bigger sized schools can have.
    Why would teachers not be happy to have this?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. mikenmild (10,644 comments) says:

    Why would this select committee need to conduct a ‘first principles review’ (whatever that is) when this work has already been done by the Ministry of Education – you know, the building downtown with the government’s education experts in it.

    [DPF: As we don't let bureaucrats govern New Zealand]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    If a student can follow tutorials in Khanacademy and able to lift his/her grades or understanding of math, then that would be great. It is not something that I would recommend. My reasons are:

    #1) The problems are limited. Example, in the topic of completing the square, there’s only 4 solved example problems.
    #2) Lack of interactivity.
    #3) Lack of graphing ability on the fly.
    #4) The user cannot self-taught, because the whole concept of Khanacademy is simply just another classroom, except the learner is sitting in front of a computer with no teacher.

    I would highly recommend either one of 2 the popular commercial CAS ( computer algebra system) available today be it for classroom or personal use.

    - Maple (from MapleSoft)
    - Mathematica (from Wolfram Research)

    Now, those 2 CAS above is what I call cutting-edge technology for math-based learning (engineering , science, physics, statistics, econometric and so forth). The 4 problems I have listed above, is eliminated by both Maple and Mathematica.

    Some Youtube video clips on Maple and Mathematica.

    Maple- Clickable Math

    Mathematica – For Student
    Mathematica for Primary & Secondary Education

    I would encourage the Minister of Education Hon. Hekia Parata, to explore buying licenses for either one of the 2 CAS software above for into NZ primary/secondary schools. CAS software should have been available in our classrooms long time ago, instead, the Govt spend millions of taxpayer $ on developing useless math learning objects for The Learning Federation project, which is a partnership between NZ & Austrian government. This useless money-wasting project has been running for the last 7 or 8 years and there’s no evidence that our schools had any improvement in numeracy at all.

    The 2 CAS above are known to some math teachers around the country, however, I’m surprised that they haven’t lobby the MoE to buy licenses to either one of them to be used in our classrooms.

    I think that Khanacademy is just a glorified so called Web-2.0 online education. If the student can’t follow the same tutorial during class, then what makes anyone thinks that watching Khanacademy tutorial videos would be any better? But some will say, well the student/learner needs to do it on their own pace. That’s where Maple and Mathematica comes in. The student can type in any equation or math problem to solve, then the software can solve it step by step, so the learner/student can see how the answer is calculated. Similar to the blackboard problem from a teacher, but the student now takes control of the pace in his/her learning. Besides, the student can type in as many problems (hundreds or even more if he/she’s not tired). This means that the student is able to learn different variation of problems in a specific topic by using CAS software. That’s how one learns, ie, by variation.

    Khanacademy online gives at most 4 or 5 problems per specific topic. The problem here is when the student come across a problem in a specific topic that is not similar to the limited 4 given in Khanacademy online examples. They will simply drop.

    The reason most people are at awe in looking at Khanacademy online materials is because they haven’t seen Maple or Mathematica in action before. These 2 CAS software have been around since the 1980s.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Jadis (147 comments) says:

    Falafulu – you’re right there are a huge range of online programmes available to schools. Our primary school uses Mathletics as a way to support classroom learning (it is used in the classroom, during lunch breaks, before school and also at home). As a part of that a “Mathlete of the Week” is awarded at the whole school assembly each week. Parts of the school have also used CAS and other programmes. Largely it is up to the school leadership (and BOT through the budget process) to decide what works best – I’m not sure I trust the Ministry’s abilities in this area (at least not at a local level).

    The school is also an early adopter of touch technology and has seen some real gains with young learners (Year 1 in particular) and ESOL students.

    AndrewE – I think there is a space for some form of webinar, streaming etc. Push the boundary a little further and we could ask whether all that school property will be necessary in twenty years time. Will education be organised in different ways that don’t mean children are housed in one location?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Absolutely agree with you there FF.
    I have a CAS calculator – it is a wonderful piece of technology. I’m not aware of Maple or Mathematica, I will have a look at them over Easter when I have a bit of spare time (hopefully!).
    I had a look at the Khan Academy website and have to say I was extremely underwhelmed. There is no way that site would replace or even improve on the teaching from a maths teacher. In fact I think if I had to learn maths solely from that site I would be put off maths for life!
    I watched a clip on complex numbers:
    1) The speaker spoke in an extremely boring, monotone voice. Where is the passion for maths that maths teachers have! The clip was only 4 minutes long, it seemed to go on forever.
    2) The method used was unnecessarily complicated. He wrote sqrt (-52) as sqrt ((-1)(52)). Then split it up into sqrt (-1) x sqrt (52). Finally writing it is i x sqrt (52).Huh? Much easier to write it as sqrt (52i^2) using i^2 = -1. Then it is sqrt(52)i.
    3) Then he went on an unnecessary tangent by saying that the property doesn’t “work” if you write sqrt (52) as sqrt ((-1) x -(52)). No explanation why it doesn’t work – why go there in the first place if you are not prepared to explain yourself. And the property isn’t even necessary in the first place if you explain it a better way!
    4) Then to simplify sqrt (52) he talked about looking for square numbers, then completley ignored his own advice and wrote 52 as a product of primes, ie 52 = 2 x 2 x 13. Again unncessarily complicated. Simplifying surds is much easier by looking for square factors, namely sqrt (52) = sqrt (4 x 13) = 2 sqrt (13).
    A pretty awful way to learn maths.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Surely there is an opportunity for a permanent project identifying the best learning tools and resources for each subject and topic. And why not recruit students to the task?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Psycho Milt (2,261 comments) says:

    The main task of any such inquiry should be identifying hype and killing it. Universities have had fast networks for years now and are only just starting to figure out how to do genuinely useful stuff with it instead of indulging hype that achieves nothing. In particular:

    1. The faster the network, the more the users of it will clog it up watching sports, downloading movies etc. The last Olympics was just about a death blow for network connections into student computing environments.

    2. Streaming someone giving a lecture is about the least useful thing you can do with a fast network. The students want it, but the teachers are painfully aware of what a poor use of the technology it is. And developing innovative ways of using the new technology is difficult if you’ve still got a classful of in-person students to deal with.

    3. If you’re delivering education off-site, a huge amount depends on the hardware and network speeds available to the end users. In a lot of cases, that hardware and network speed is mindbogglingly bad. I’ve had to tell a few people that there’s no point in them expecting us to make our stuff work on IE6.

    4. Administrators have a natural and obvious temptation to expect cost savings out of stuff like this. In the case of university libraries, the advent of online publications drastically increased costs (publishers were developing online publishing platforms while still publishing in print, and it all had to be paid for one way or another) while administrators were expecting to be able to cut funding because everything’s available online these days. Even now, administrators who’ve noticed they can download a bestseller onto their iPad convince themselves there’s no point in the Library buying print books.

    None of which means that it isn’t great that schools are getting UFB or that they won’t do great things with it. But any inquiry looking at what we should expect from them really, really needs to have “Don’t believe the hype” as its motto.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Yes I agree Jadis – Mathletics is agreat way to learn basic facts and skills. Also it’s highly visual and motivating – important things for children to “buy into” it.
    Perhaps you are right with your last statement – maybe schools as a physical space will not happen so much in the future.
    I kind of hope it doesn’t change too much that way, though. Schools are a wonderful space for the community and children learn important socialisation skills that will be lost staying at home by themselves in front of a computer screen.

    I must say I get hacked off with people like freedom101. I suspect he hasn’t been in a classroom for 20-30 years. Or maybe he just enjoys the tired game of teacher/union bashing. Either way it just shows his immaturity and ignorance.

    Teachers are wonderful adapters of technology. They have a great way of seeing how technology can benefit learning. In my childs classroom, kids use computers and the interactive smartboard. They post items on a class blog site. Teaching has changed considerably in the last few years for the better – the “bashers” need to get stop being so ignorant and get with the programme!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. B A W (98 comments) says:

    I am teaching in Korea, each classroom has a computer and flat screen TV. I can and do play youtube clips on them for the students to view. The computer is set into the desk so the teacher does not lose any desk space. (can be a pain if you place something on top and you need to view the screen).

    But the students have no PC’s at their desks.

    But the reality is that what I am doing now could be done in NZ without super fast broadband. If you can download a PPT file in NZ and watch you tube clips then can you do the lessons I am teaching now.

    I like the broadband here it is fast and is very nice to have a fibre optic cable right into my home. But I do not see any great use for Superfast broadband in schools apart from the end of data caps. Superfast broadband is great for business and nice for homes provided we can use it for more than viewing movies or as the next version of cable TV.

    A good teacher could do an excellent job without any computers at all (although they do help and it is much nicer to play the phonics song on computer than pull out a guitar and play it to the class).

    I welcome this enquiry and it will be interesting in what it recommends.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    BC, Maple & Mathematica are both used at Universities around the world and also industries (engineering & scientific). The University of Auckland, Mathematic Department ,Physics Department , School of Engineering all use Maple, Mathmatica and Matlab. The other good thing about those math-based computing platform is that they’re a programming environment as well. Students can start learning how to code mathematical equations (either numeric or symbolic) very early. The sooner they get to understand them (early introduction) , the better they’re in familiarizing themselves with programming. See, they can do this when they’re still at high-school (even young kids at primary school can do too) without doing computer science courses. When they reach University, they already know the basic concepts of programming.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Jadis (147 comments) says:

    BAW – my daughter’s class (year 1) has a laptop for the teacher, IMAC for the kids, three notepads, iTouches for use in math and reading rotations, and is moving to iPad use (already used in some classrooms in the school). The iMAC is the only fixed computer as being mobile is very useful in a classroom. The point is that the school my kids go to is not the usual in this city. Being a newer school the BOT ensured a bit of future proofing (as much as possible) on ICT took place during the build.

    Teachers teach and often work with students to investigate issues or subject areas, and the mobility of devices actually provides some real gains. The kids are on to it… in the same way they tidy up the crayons and pencils they also plug in the devices for charging at the end of each school day.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    I think that if kids can be taught to like or hook into maths from early on (perhaps from primary school level), then it is more likely they will pursue math-based learning in the long run. One thing I know for sure that they don’t do at primary school curriculum. They don’t tell kids where maths is being applied in their immediate surrounding or general environment.

    I would describe to kids, that the electricity used in the classroom, computers or cell-phones are all designed by using mathematics. The car that they own and drive around is designed by using mathematics. The teacher doesn’t have to explain to the kids of what mathematical concepts that are involved, because it’s not part of the curriculum in those levels yet, but giving such general description for things like that around them will make them think or make them take notice and perhaps become interested/hooked in the subject. They are likely to continue on with maths studies and like doing maths as they progressed up to higher level.

    Some engineering industry design using Mathematica & Maple:

    - Realworld experiences with Maple-Sim

    - Designing Hearing Aid Parts with Mathematica (from Knowles Electronics)

    If one of the 2 CAS software above is licensed for our classrooms (primary & secondary), then I believe that over time, there will be an increase in the interest in maths, since kids will love the step-by-step problem solving and also the graphics (2D and 3D), plus animations. When kids do progress to tertiary education (University or Tech) they’re already familiar with Maple & Mathematica from secondary school.

    Jadis, I have my doubts if faster broadband will help to lift students’ education achievements. If it improves, then I think that it would be insignificant. Just look at the last 40 years. The curriculum is almost the same as today and so as the pass rates (improve a little bit but not a huge difference) despite the technology of today is much superior compared to 40 years ago. To me kids shouldn’t be overwhelmed with too many things to look at by using the internet. Doing so, will be a distraction rather than learning. Kids are already being distracted by many things, computer games, ipod, cell-phone, face-book, twitter, etc… The following article quoted an education expert saying that distraction is a major factor in the decline of US education attainment compared to other countries.

    Many Nations Passing U.S. in Education, Expert Says

    I’m pro-technology in education, but I’m not sure if fast broadband is really needed. Kids need to learn basics first. Either being taught or they use a tool to help them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Griff (6,719 comments) says:

    FFF
    I will always disagree with you, integrated technology is here to stay.
    We all have cell phones, we all are connected, the young generation will never live in an un connected world.
    They will carry a programmable scientific calculators cell phone integrated communicative device as a matter of course.
    Its the skills to use such a device that are important not your times tables and how to do long division .
    Think 2020 not 1990.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    “I hope that the overall outcome is that we are able to identify possible savings in technology and buildings, develop recommendations regarding optimal learning environments, and identify the skills required for teachers and students to achieve their full potential in the modern world.”

    Perhaps we could first teach students how to translate this mindless corporate pidgin into English. I think she means:

    “I hope that we can discover savings in technology and buildings, identify the best ways to improve classrooms, and determine the skills that current teachers and students must develop, if they wish to succeed.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Mark (1,360 comments) says:

    As a school board of trustees member I welcome the government reviewing this. Lets hope that they put in place a program and then fund it properly.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Jinny (306 comments) says:

    Griff (1,772) Says:

    April 4th, 2012 at 11:35 pm
    FFF
    I will always disagree with you, integrated technology is here to stay.
    We all have cell phones, we all are connected, the young generation will never live in an un connected world.
    They will carry a programmable scientific calculators cell phone integrated communicative device as a matter of course.
    Its the skills to use such a device that are important not your times tables and how to do long division .
    Think 2020 not 1990.

    ————————–

    I disagree with you (this is like a game of ping-pong) I have a cell phone, which gets charged and used for long distance only. I refuse to bow down to techology, which I regard as ‘assistance’ but never a life support system.

    A belief that a person cannot survive with the devices you mention above is naive, and so is any education system that insists on their use. I have no problem with these ‘gadgets’ being used at levels once the basic skills are taught, and the techniques are known and practiced in the ‘manual’ way. But I strongly object to generations of Kiwis who are unable to write, spell, add up and subtract, or god-forbid, have a conversation unless it is transported through the airways, and is initiated on a keyboard.

    The basic/manual skill should take precedence – have you considered what happens to genetics when we have entire generations unable to ‘think’ a problem through – and what about when the power goes off? I believe a lot of the social problems we have today are because children have been allowed to become ‘lazy’ in their thought patterns and problem solving ability because of technology – keep it out of the schools, especially in the lower grades.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    FF, I believe the primary job of a teacher is to challenge students to think and achieve – thus producing satisfaction and confidence simultaneously with education. When I was lecturing I always set my class a really challenging and quirky assignment dead-lined well ahead. That focused them on what they needed to learn to accomplish it.

    Finding and using the necessary and best tools then becomes secondary but well-motivated and important.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Alan, I agree with what you say above. The tools is secondary to students learning and students should master the basic understanding of the topics in a specific subject which is paramount to progression to higher level. That’s why I commented above that overwhelming kids with technology probably leads to a huge distraction. Distraction is a problem. However the tools are there to help or lift disadvantaged students who will not ask questions to the teacher if they don’t understand a topic, simply because they’re shy or fear of being ridiculed by their classmates for asking the teacher something trivial to be explained. Bright kids will always be bright, with or without technology, however if they use technology, they become even more brighter. There is absolute no point in a kid using the internet if they do not master the basics.

    An example, the following kid from Pt. England primary school in Glen Innes, Auckland loves blogging. His intermediate level school provides him (including other kids from the same school) with a blog.

    Crusader @ Pt England School (a Year 7 student )

    I’m not sure whether this kid knows how to simplify a fraction such as : 3/24 which is a basic understanding that he (including kids of his age-group) should have mastered at that age. If the blogging kid above has no clue of how to simplify 3/24 (which is 1/8), then absolutely blogging for him is useless. The school must be questioned on why they let kids waste their precious time on the internet rather than learning. What’s the point of wasting time writing a blog, when in fact he can’t work out that the simplification of 3/24 is 1/8.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Griff said…
    the skills to use such a device that are important

    Everyone knows how to use the internet (or any device) whether they went to school or not, which is an argument that I often hear from others like you in using technology solves all the learning problems, which is not. If the kids are not introduced to the device or some technology (be internet or otherwise), somehow kids will miraculously lift their knowledge in (core) subjects. This is simply not true. Kids of today are Internet savvy, but if one ask a kid to simply the fraction 3/24, I bet that most will have no clue.

    BTW Griff, you really think that knowing time-table and long division are not important? These are the basic facts that kids to master. Higher level knowledge is built upon the basics, even if one is using technology such as Maple or Mathematica. The user needs to understand of what is he designing/modeling. A computer program (or a device) cannot build stuff (such as devices) on its own. Someone (an engineer, scientist) must design the device first (using mathematical model) then build proto-types. The designer must know what to model first and foremost. If he doesn’t, then he won’t be able to do designing.

    An example here of how important to understand numeric long division (NLD) from early on. Students how understand long division very well (and if they’re interested in science & engineering), they would have no problem using the same concept in higher level topic as Polynomial Long Division (PLD). The PLD is an extension of the NLD from primary school except, PLD uses functions (or variables). The concept is still the same. PLD, I believe is covered in the curriculum for NCEA year-13 level calculus. Also PLD is used in designing of both analogue/digital filters in modern electronics (or in robotics & control systems) and such filters are found in almost all electronic gadgets of today. Sure, there are computer tools today (Maple, Mathematica, Matlab) that can help the engineer or scientist in their design, however the designer must understand the concepts first in order for him/her to input his design model in the the computing tool. He/she is not inputting his design parameters randomly but it comes from his understanding of the fundamental concepts and this is why I argue that education is about fundamental concepts first & foremost, then tools come second.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    Everyone knows how to use the internet (or any device) whether they went to school or not, which is an argument that I often hear from others like you. If the kids are not introduced to the device or some technology (be internet or otherwise), somehow kids will miraculously lift their knowledge in (core) subjects. This is simply not true.

    ^^^ Spot on there Falafulu Fisi.
    My daughter’s primary school has “interactive whiteboards” on the walls. Apparently they are wonderful teaching tools, I couldn’t really say as I’ve only ever seen the kids playing with it before school starts, a game where fish are swimming across the screen, there’s the question like 9/3= ? at the top so the kid who jumps and taps the fish that has a 3 on its side is the winner.

    These things cost $20,000 I understand, so I hope they are worth it…

    I’m not sure whether this kid knows how to simplify a fraction such as : 3/24 which is a basic understanding that he (including kids of his age-group) should have mastered at that age. If the blogging kid above has no clue of how to simplify 3/24 (which is 1/8), then absolutely blogging for him is useless. The school must be questioned on why they let kids waste their precious time on the internet rather than learning. What’s the point of wasting time writing a blog, when in fact he can’t work out that the simplification of 3/24 is 1/8.

    ^^^ I’m not so sure about this. Couldn’t you similarly argue that kids shouldn’t waste their time at school learning English at the expense of Mathematics, when their parents (presumably) will teach them whatever they need to know about writing letters and speaking coherently at home anyway? The schools are presumably trying to do other things besides maximising the kids’ mathematical abilities at the expense of anything else…?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. dion (95 comments) says:

    > The possibilities are almost limitless.

    The network is only one piece of the puzzle – and I’d argue that it’s not the main limiting factor here. To take advantage of it, one needs decent applications, and these aren’t going to materialise as soon as UFB is rolled out.

    Also, why aren’t the things you describe already being done in high density urban areas (like Wellington) where the required broadband capacity is already available?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    RRM I agree that kids should do other things as well and that’s being part of a well rounded education, but they should put more emphasis on numeracy & literacy, because these areas are the main concern of every educators and Govt policy makers. We don’t see reports saying that NZ is falling behind compared to other countries in kids’ :

    - computer or internet education (the ability to know of how to use the internet to surf)
    - doing cultural or sport activities
    - knowing how to make cookies (yep, I’m aware that they do this at the primary school in my area)
    - learning drama classes
    - and so forth…

    so, that policy-makers should pay attention or do something about it. What we see (in all or most developed countries) being raised by educators/policy-makers is the state of where country’s specific ranking in terms of numeracy/literacy is at.

    Besides, putting more emphasis on those 2 areas (numeracy/literacy) must a core target since these are the basic building block of higher education. The other point is, since general numeracy (or mathematics) is difficult to majority of students, lifting the performance in this area, is better for the economics’ welfare or prosperity of a (high-tech) society. See the video below of, late Sir Paul Callaghan’s talk on high tech economy.

    Sir Paul Callaghan — StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future – March 2011

    Also another point is, If one is (very) good or proficient enough in mathematics, then the barrier to crossing into other areas/disciplines is minimal, compared to someone who’s very good in say, drama classes, but wanting/trying to cross into engineering or science for instance, the barrier is much higher for him/her. I’ve seen high-school scholar students in arts who decided at the last year (in their senior high-school) that they wanted to pursue studies in science or engineering but they knew that they lack the background to be allowed enroll. One high-school top scholarship person wanted to do medicine, but she found out that she couldn’t apply directly to the medical school. She ended up doing a B.Sc first before going on to do medicine. Another one (high-scholarship student in English) who wanted to a B.E in electronics, but he didn’t have the right background to be allowed to enroll at the Engineering school. He completed a B.Sc first, then proceeded to do a B.E, then followed by an M.E (honors) in electronics. I know this person, because I helped him with some of his physics/maths when he was doing his B.Sc. He learned all his maths/physics at university level because he didn’t do them at high-school. He is now working for giant electronics’, National Instruments (in the US), after a brief stint at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare straight after his graduation.

    A population that has high literacy/numeracy/science is the kind of economy that late Sir Paul was talking about in his video above.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. berend (1,632 comments) says:

    Our schools. Public schools DPF means.

    Unless you are a very rich private school, your private school won’t connect to the fibre. The price is simply outrageous (we got quoted $12,000) just to get the cable on our property. Only a massive money grab from the government from its citizens makes this possible.

    Why do parents not get a tax discount when not using public schools?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. mikenmild (10,644 comments) says:

    If you choose to pay for private schools, then it seems a bit rich to then ask others to pay for it. There might be all sorts of other taxpayer funded services you don’t use, why not ask for a discount in respect of those? It’s not how it works.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “If you choose to pay for private schools, then it seems a bit rich to then ask others to pay for it.”

    Wrong. He’s not asking for other people to pay for it.

    If you do not use the public school system you should not be forced to pay for it, nor for any other tax funded services you do not use.

    Of course it would be better if the government just privatised the whole thing, and stopped funding the rotting corpse that is laughably called state “education”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Ryan Sproull (7,027 comments) says:

    We rank very highly globally.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “We rank very highly globally.”

    Comparing countries that have state dominated education monopolies is like comparing rotting corpses. Ours might smell a little less bad (arguable given the shocking illiteracy rates in school leavers), but its still a rotting corpse.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.