25 Years: Shooting for Promotional Videos by Darren Sudlow

Celebrating 25 years of the Virtual Learning Network Community

Believe it or not, the Virtual Learning Network Community is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

As part of celebrations, we decided to go back to the beginning (1994) and have some conversations with a few key people who started it all. It just so happened that Core Education (Thanks Jedd and Derek) kindly decided to come along to the party and record these conversations. Just above is a collection of photos from the day. Must say, that at no stage was I planning to be in shot interviewing everyone, but c'est la vie I suppose.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day chatting with some very influential people from our past, who have contributed a significant amount to education in his country.

What I drew from it is that old adage, "The more things change, the more they say the same". Significant change and growth has occurred across the Virtual Learning Network Community over the last twenty-five years, but somehow, through all that, it still hasn't been normalised within our education system. With the rate of change in technology and the opportunities that it provides, it is a travesty that this hasn't yet happened. It certainly needs to. 

Thanks to the following people for giving their time to be interviewed:

Carol Moffat: Principal of Oxford Area School 1994-98 and originator of the VLN concept / model back in 1994

Derek Wenmoth: Long time advocate for the Virtual Learning Network and former manager of the eSection at the Correspondence School

Ken Pullar: Current NetNZ Executive and former ePrincipal of OtagoNet

And in case you don't know the Virtual Learning Network currently consists of:

HarbourNet, FarNet, Volcanics, Welcom, VLN Primary, and NetNZ

The Challenge

My challenge to schools, whether new or old, big or small, innovative or conventional is to start looking well beyond your silo. We need an environment where everyone starts to see they are part of a connected educational ecosystem in which the learner can learn whatever, whenever, however, free from boundary. My son should be able to learn what he wants and he needs, while living in his local community. The number of staff, their expertise, their timetable (don't get me started) you have in a single school should not restrict what our kids can learn. Not in this age anyway.

My challenge to the Government, Ministry and policymakers is how can you help enable this?