Sounds like a good Labour policy

July 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

is planning two major announcements, expected to include a plan to provide iPads or laptops to school students, at its three-day congress starting in Wellington today.

In 2011 Labour said it would spend $75 million over four years to put laptops into the hands of 31,000 year 7 to year 13 students in low-decile schools, but it is expected to drop the plan to target the policy and make it universal at a much higher cost.

This sounds like it could be quite a good policy. I think we should be aiming for every student to have an Internet capable device they can learn on.

Labour is also tipped to announce plans to upgrade schools and reallocate the $359m that the Government earmarked in January for specialist teachers and principals.

But I don’t want it either or. Paying out best teachers more, to share their success is also vital.

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49 Responses to “Sounds like a good Labour policy”

  1. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    “…..This sounds like it could be quite a good policy. I think we should be aiming for every student to have an Internet capable device they can learn on……”

    “….Internet capable…”

    learn from approved sites you might add – as we’re talkng the public service teacher’s union here, who ‘educate’ 92% of kiwi kids – almost the 100% that the North Korea public service currently do!

    I read just last week that in some american public schools the ‘approved sites’ are pro-abortion, muslim & democratic party HQ. The blocked sites are pro-life, the Vatican, Republican party HQ.

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  2. dime (10,134 comments) says:

    “. I think we should be aiming for every student to have an Internet capable device they can learn on.”

    which is why have such a generous welfare system – for those in work and out of it! a cheap laptop is about $500. are we saying people cant afford $10 a week? tui ad.

    also, ipads. wtf. kids should be using real computers (or both).

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  3. deckboy (18 comments) says:

    More goodies to flow thick and fast from now on from the desperate opposition.

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  4. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    What bullshit.

    Point England school managed to pull a scheme together that enabled the parents to pay them off and they are decile 1. Why can’t this not be replicated.

    Your just teaching the same people that you don’t need to pay for anything as the mighty Govt and taxpayers will always come to the rescue.

    Labour is so friggin dumb they will probably want to give each student a Mac Book Air. If they must fund something it only needs to be a $300 NetBook

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  5. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    Why on earth would we need to give them overpriced iPads? There are plenty of very good Android devices that will do the job at a lot cheaper price.

    I actually have a serious issue with that, I am happy for my eldest to be getting an tablet, we’re looking at buying on for her to use actually. But I do not want her to have an Apple device.
    For one thing I’ve invested a fair bit of money in the Android environment (in terms of games etc they play on my phone/old tablet before I dropped it) and I don’t want to have to go and spend all that money because of an incompatible environment from a single manufacturer at a price that in higher than the others.

    For another, I personally don’t like Apple (not saying they don’t make good stuff, just that I don’t like it) and I don’t want to have to deal with any of their stuff.

    And another thing is that a decent Windows 8 laptop is sitting in the same price range as an iPad 8″ (infact some are cheaper) these are way more capable and have more space etc. and increasingly have touch screens, so why a tablet form factor that is more expensive?

    Finally, where is Labour going to find the money to finance all of this?

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  6. Redbaiter (9,654 comments) says:

    Govt education-doomed to fail once it becomes a tool of the political class.

    As NZ’s education system has been for about three or four decades.

    More designed to produce dumb as crap socially attuned Progressives than to educate anyone.

    You could give these poor little losers whatever computer you chose and they’d still mostly come out Haka performing cultural Marxists and drooling socialist dropkicks.

    Only one solution- privatisation.

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  7. fernglas (176 comments) says:

    Raphael, I totally agree. For such a potentially large order, there must be internet capable devices that cost next to bugger all. Wasn’t there a scheme to do basic units for decile 1 countries at about $20 a throw? The last thing we need is to be giving taxpayer money to Apple, particularly as they seem to be paying none themselves.

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  8. flipper (4,231 comments) says:

    There are some clearly identifiable problems with State schools in USofA – tenured teacher appointments, “over the top” bennies, a never ending salary ladder, and an inability to fire incompetents. Oh… and the biggest of all – teacher unions.

    Now in NZ, let me see. Well… oh, why not replicate US of A? Surely that will cover it? No? Well, try this- ” tenured teacher appointments, “over the top” bennies, a never ending salary ladder, and an inability to fire incompetents. Oh… and the biggest of all – teacher unions.”

    Education, like Health and Social Welfare is a massive open cast mine into which we pour more than enough money. The problem is allocations within the system. Education gets more than enough. Period!

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  9. notrotsky (85 comments) says:

    Eh, I though Labour was outraged about Apple dodging their fair share of tax in NZ ? Now they’re throwing millions at them ?

    Sounds like the underpants gnomes have been at work again

    1. $100 and a free computer
    2. ?
    3. Better education outcomes

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  10. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Complete bollocks. Some schools already utterly misuse the internet access they already have. Unless the teaching is up to scratch this will only make that worse. We need National’s elite teachers and Principals scheme in the state schools, and Act’s voucher system to enable a growth in private schools, a lot more than we need fucking iPads.

    We took our 10yo out of the local state school for two reasons:

    1) The bullying she suffered, and the principal’s much-vaunted efforts to prevent bullying consisted of himself bullying everyone with his assertion that there is no tolerance for bullying in his school, therefore, there is no bullying. (and bribing the bullies with “good conduct certificates” – with associated lollies – if they manage to go a whole week without assaulting anyone. Way to go, Principal, show them how a protection racket works, in a country with gangs we needed that.)

    2) It came to our attention that our daughter (and 2-3 others) were completing their classwork in the first few minutes, and in order to spend time helping the majority that were struggling, the teacher was just seating these kids – unsupervised – on the internet-connected PCs in the corner of the class, and leaving them to wile the day away playing brain dead computer games where you paint a pony’s toenails or make virtual icecreams…

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  11. freedom101 (510 comments) says:

    And what will happen when a student’s iPad is ‘stolen’. Will it be replaced, and how often? This is yet another ridiculous bribe, which erodes personal responsibility and will end up incentivising fraud.

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  12. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Yeah it needs to be a cheap as chips slow but functional machine that is physically bombproof.
    At least rubberised and semi waterproof.
    Cant expect a kid to keep it in a drybag to and from skool can we?

    freedom101, yeah also machine needs to be neon puke green with property of NZ Govt cast into it.

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  13. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    Charter schools are essentualy private anyway, as ‘extras’ will be charged to parents.

    Parents are just a market segment. “Here’s what’s on offer……….here’s the cost of extras….”

    The public schools currently do it with their ‘voluntary payments’.

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  14. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Whilst I agree that parents need to be responsible for their children, and yet again this is the state fulfilling the role of what should be provided by family, not government, until we can get that message through to parents, there needs to be a system where all children are able to benefit from such technology, and some are not held behind because they do not have access to the same level of technology as others.

    The mindset that the state will provide is going to take some time to change, and in the meantime there will have to be schemes such as this one. However, I do not think that such things should be ‘given’, but only provided, in that they continue to belong to the state, and should only be accessible at school.

    I have tried to find an article I read a while ago that encouraged schools to be made the ‘technological’ centre of communities. The article was promoting the idea that schools should have the latest technology on hand for school pupils during the day, and after-hours, become learning centres for the unemployed etc, to bring them up to date with skills that are easily transferred into paid work. Simple activities like publishing a community ‘newspaper’, building and maintaining community website, etc, allow the participants to gain skills that they would otherwise not come into contact with.

    So yes, spend the money, but rather than individual ownership, make the most of the items, and use them to educate and upskill others as well.

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  15. dime (10,134 comments) says:

    Another problem with ipads – they need wireless! think of all the tumors arghh

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  16. dime (10,134 comments) says:

    “And what will happen when a student’s iPad is ‘stolen’. Will it be replaced, and how often? This is yet another ridiculous bribe, which erodes personal responsibility and will end up incentivising fraud.”

    it was stolen by dad, miss!

    nah the last one was stolen by aunty!

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  17. fernglas (176 comments) says:

    Update; a UK outfit called Datawind has a wireless internet capable tablet on the market for 30 quid. It is an updated version of one they sold into Indian schools at $US22. It has a camera for videoconferencing, sound, ten times more memory than my first PC and is internet capable, with the capacity to access 150,000 apps. Now I am a complete moron when it comes to computers, but it seems to me that such a device is more than adequate for educational use. I also agree with Farrar that such a move is necessary to keep this country at least within spitting distance of the subcontinent. 31,000 of those at $50 each is way less than $75 mill.

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  18. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    We could also buy their bikes and bags and pens. And why not uniforms, meals etc etc.
    A disgraceful waste of money. Schools are managing pretty well with the provision of computers and mostly have as many as they need considering we are also funding fulltime teachers who are meant to be doing the bulk of the work!
    I hate Labour’s cynical opportunism and appalling misuse of our hard-earned money.

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  19. rangitoto (251 comments) says:

    I think they would be better off with something like a Raspberry PI and use it for tech projects. They would learn a huge amount more than with an expensive tablet. http://www.raspberrypi.org/

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  20. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Baiter:
    You could give these poor little losers whatever computer you chose and they’d still mostly come out Haka performing cultural Marxists and drooling socialist dropkicks.

    That reminds me… haka performing!

    The final straw for us with our daughter’s school was an incident with the regional haka performing competition in Masterton.

    [FWIW we have no problem with our daughter taking a little time out from reading writing and maths (which she is good at) to learn a bit about her country’s culture and history. She is young and time is on her side.]

    A note came home from school, signed by the three teachers involved in the school’s haka competition efforts, informing us that for next week’s regional Haka competition, the younger children would be having their Moko put on with whiteboard markers, the older boys would be having theirs done with vivid markers as the whiteboard marker tends to run off with perspiration.

    Our reaction: :neutral: You fucking WHAT?

    All you teachers got together to discuss this, and whiteboard markers and solvent-based vivid markers are the best things you could think of to paint childrens’ faces with?

    Have you not heard of face paint?

    Have you not heard of waterproof eyeliner?

    Have you heard of solvents and their toxicity?

    After the haka comp, the kids were promised a trip to the flash playground in QE2 park and an ice block… unfortunately, the kids were all instructed to leave their shoes in their schoolbags, and their schoolbags in the classrooms, so their iceblock money was left behind, and their trip to the park was a barefoot one in Maori costume.

    It was at this point that we decided, no, these people are simply not smart enough or professionally competent enough to be looking after other people’s children…

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  21. prosper (172 comments) says:

    Why do we need tablets what ever in the class room. If tablets can educate you why bother going to school. Computers are going into schools to satisfy some vague need to be seen to be technically with it. There are literally hundreds of thousands being spent on computer systems and networks for no logical reason. Then tens of thousands per school for ongoing maintenance and upgrades.. Possibly justifiable if they have an IT subject in the last two years of school.
    I have some knowledge of this having had a company involved in setting up phone systems and IT systems for schools. Quite profitable you only have to put up with boards and teachers changing their minds every week. But that’s profitable too if you ensure that any change of mind will cost is written into the contract.

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  22. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    Judith…it costs about $10wk to pay one off. Most parents are willing to pay for that. Or should just be charged.

    For the rest, why don’t you start up a crowd funding website for one off donations, or the repayments, so that most of the public’s money can be spent elsewhere? :cool:

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  23. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Dime:

    it was stolen by dad, miss!

    nah the last one was stolen by aunty!

    Don’t be silly! Nothing like that would ever happen. Of course not. You are just showing your prejudices yet again, typical national voter.

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  24. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    First of all, spending on tablets is a distraction. And you are all being successfully distracted by it. Well done all you gullible fools.

    Trying the distribution of tablets for a couple of years wont have a lasting negative impact.

    Cancelling the stratification of teachers and principals with a focus on helping improve all of them, WILL have a negative impact for decades.

    That is where the fucking battleground is.

    Labour is also tipped to announce plans to upgrade schools and reallocate the $359m that the Government earmarked in January for specialist teachers and principals.

    So Labour plans to do the same things that have always been done and cancel the first real innovation in NZ Education in decades?

    No doubt expecting us to believe that the same-old, same-old will finally yield different results.

    How about you guys drop the whole “in my day…” and “tablets are just gimmicky technology” complaints and focus on the substantially more important aspect of their plans.

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  25. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Prosper:

    Different industry but it’s not hard to tag stuff out in your initial agreement, the following works for us:

    The above lump sum fee does not include the following:
    .
    .
    .
    7. Any client-initiated changes to the scope of works after we begin our design work.
    .
    .

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  26. Neil (589 comments) says:

    Having all the bells and whistles of modern technology is all very well. The question is will it improvew performance of our students.Is it going to lift the 20% of students who are currently failing. Also the cost and possible fiddles of the scheme.
    The ALP under Rudd and Gillard talked of providing IPads for students. Last I heard it was a gigantic disaster with massive blow outs\.
    One thing I do know. As a teacher myself we are not the greatest example of conservatism with other peoples’ money. Be warned, the scheme will be a disaster.
    It just amazes me to hear Labour spouting all this new projects. Labour has never been very good at saving money or using money for the long term.
    Just reminds me of the left wing rent o demos chant Spend more/when do we want it/ now.

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  27. Red (9 comments) says:

    Googled… all are 10 inch tablets, all will perform like a rocket – which ones do we think Labour would choose….?

    i pad air – 16gb – $749
    Samsung tab 16gb – $500
    Generic android tab 16gb – $154 Free shipping

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  28. alloytoo (575 comments) says:

    Given that funding disparity between lower and higher decile schools I think we’ll find that lower decile schools already have significantly more tablet devices than decile 10 schools who actually have to fund raise to purchase them.

    The message I’m getting from labour is that they hate my kid.

    I also agree with the other commentators about using Android tablets. 10′ multicore android tablets out of China can be had for little more than $100 dollars and Android plays much better with existing windows networks.

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  29. Manolo (14,081 comments) says:

    You bet some iPads and laptops will somehow change into KFC buckets!

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  30. Albert_Ross (311 comments) says:

    DPF, I am astonish and disappoint. This is Labour once again seeking to buy votes for themselves with other people’s money, nothing more.

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  31. Bingo99 (88 comments) says:

    DPF – are you kidding?! “Quite a good policy”?! Are you so blinded by the pretty buttons that you totally ignore the obvious issues raised with ownership and responsibility, the actual value of using an Apple system and whether there’s any educational merit in their use?

    Meanwhile, the biggest furfie – it’s UNIVERSAL! So rich kids get one too! At least be consistent DPF in demanding targeted interventions.

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  32. ciaron (1,441 comments) says:

    I think the push for Ipads is driven by the fact that applications like sumdog are not available on android.

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  33. jp_1983 (227 comments) says:

    Claire Curran advocates for open source…
    Apple is proprietary system and therefore evil.

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  34. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    I doubt they mean iPad, it’s a generic term these days. The media may gave even changed “tablet” into “iPad” because they don’t know the difference.

    Labor in Australia under Gillard had this policy. It was a clusterfuck. They didn’t fund support, maintenance or replacements. Perhaps cross check their funding to make sure they are within coee of what it will really cost. Personally I think it’s a bad idea, what I’ve seen of tablets in schools is teachers don’t know how to use them in a lesson plan and they become toys.

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  35. burt (8,322 comments) says:

    What about school uniforms, shoes, and for goodness sake some parents don’t even own BMW’s. Lets not stop at iPads when the tax payers money has only one purpose – to win votes.

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  36. Redbaiter (9,654 comments) says:

    “The final straw for us with our daughter’s school was an incident with the regional haka performing competition in Masterton.”

    This is not education, it is brainwashing and the people responsible for it are little better than pedophiles.

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  37. Manolo (14,081 comments) says:

    @DPF: You are in the wrong party. The one keeping for giveaways is socialist Labour.
    Or is your transformation to progressivism complete?

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  38. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    This is not education, it is brainwashing and the people responsible for it are little better than pedophiles.

    When she goes to high school, there will no doubt be a 3rd form music class and that will give her at least as much exposure to western classical music as this silly Haka comp gave her to Maori song and dance. You have been very strong on western civilisation and I doubt you would label that brainwashing?

    If she wants to form an opinion about which musical tradition she likes better, that is a subjective judgement so it is for her alone to make.

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  39. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    I think we should be aiming for every student to have an Internet capable device they can learn on.

    Electronic educational device sure. But Internet connected? One wonders how much those 12 year olds know about critical thinking, serious research and cross checking so they can weed out all the piles of plain old lies, misinformation, and marketing?

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  40. burt (8,322 comments) says:

    If you daughter wants a pony – Vote Labour !

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  41. alloytoo (575 comments) says:

    @burt

    Only if your daughter attends a lower decile school.

    Higher decile schools get Trojan horses.

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  42. Akld Commercial Lawyer (166 comments) says:

    Another example of poor journalism by the MSM.

    The tablets promise is good headline fodder – but I suspect largely overtaken by events. The well-run schools in the low deciles will all be watching what is happening in the Tamaki transformation project in Auckland and thinking that they can put a tablet in every home for a few $$/week, then so can we. And Crown Fibre, Telecom and the various utility providers will provide a leg up with the rest.

    Another of the benefits of the Tamaki pathfinder is the opportunity for teachers to upskill.

    But by making this appear to be an either/or policy – Labour are going to have some explaining to do, particularly with the PPTA.

    The research is pretty emphatic that the only reliable data on quality outcomes is that pointing to quality teaching. Buildings are hardware come a very distant second place.

    As a result, with the schism that has already appeared between the NZEI (for primary teachers) and the PPTA over the Govt initiative to spend $350m on upskilling teachers – there could be a few tense moments. In short, the project calls for the Govt to pay teachers more and encourage collaboration.

    A lot of hard work has already gone in with the Ministry and the various stakeholder groups. From what I have seen, the teacher unions really get it – that the key to unskilling teachers lies with the teaching profession.

    To ditch that work in favour of a policy that sounds like bulk-buying hardware (and we all know how well the Govt fares in the IT sector) – might see Labour being put on detention by the teacher unions. A point that any half-decent journo should have latched on to.

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  43. Nukuleka (348 comments) says:

    And how many of these freebie laptop/ iPads will get ‘lost’ and find themselves in the hands of the bros and cuzzies and aunties? I observed when on holiday in the UK that several laptops were sitting around the council house of my relatives- all provided by the local education authority and being used and abused by all and sundry.

    ‘Oh, there will be strict control of them by teachers etc…’ Yep, sure…sure…

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  44. burt (8,322 comments) says:

    Nukuleka

    You seem confused, it’s not about kids having them – it’s about getting people to vote for Labour.

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  45. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    I always wonder about people who talk about “Internet capable”. They do know that the internet has been available to the public in NZ for almost 20 years now, don’t they?

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  46. altiora (279 comments) says:

    Seriously they never learn: just about every similar attempt in western countries to provide students with ipads etc has led to tears and embarrassment. Ask schools how students treat textbooks! One lesson I learnt when I was at high school calculus and statistic was never, under any circumstances, allow another student to borrow your scientific calculator, because you either wouldn’t get it back or it would be returned damaged. Expect students and their families to “lose” their ipads with incredible frequency and to demand replacements because the student would be disadvantaged due to not having an Ipad like the diligent, honest, students.

    And heaven knows why they need to be supplied them anyway. At the rate that tablets’ and laptop prices are tumbling, you can buy a decent device for a small amount. The Indians have produced a tablet device for schools and the poor that retails for around $80.

    That said, the whole computer craze in schools is hugely overrated. I recall the enormous fundraising efforts my school in the 90s forced on its students in order to purchase lots of crap computers, and which were rarely used. The funny thing was that most boys had access at home to superior computers, and quite a few were teaching themselves all manner of computer skills and were at a skill level that exceeded the so-called teachers with computer training.

    And finally, there is nothing — and I repeat — nothing wrong with ordinary paper, pens, whiteboards and books. Students need to be taught basic analytical skills, and those mediums are perfectly apt for that task.

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  47. Boglio (78 comments) says:

    My six and eight year old grandchildren use tablets at school. The younger one has to have an ipad but the elder can have either ipad or android. Of course they are wifi only. Their lessons include using access to two sites called Reading Eggs and Matheletics where they have individual logons and passwords. They are expected tp logon at night to continue their lessons.

    Seems that the next call will be for the Government to provide broadband to the parents of decile 1-x schools so that the kids can carry on their studies at night (and so the parents and siblings can access the internet)!

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  48. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    “This sounds like it could be quite a good policy. I think we should be aiming for every student to have an Internet capable device they can learn on”

    I am going to pretend I didn’t read this David and put it down to the fact you haven’t been for a run today to come up with such nonsense.

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  49. David Farrar (1,902 comments) says:

    As it happens Cactus I did around 8 kms today.

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