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Photo by Darren Sudlow

Summary highlights in 2016

Darren Sudlow —

NetNZ continues to mature as an organisation and this is reflected in a number of highlights in 2016.

The full Statement of Service Performance can be accessed here. This contains all useful data related to our services

Growth and Sustainability

  • We welcomed Kaiapoi High School in North Canterbury as a new member in 2016. They are providing a Te Reo Maori teacher.
  • Modest bottom line financial surplus
  • Growing use of NetNZ exchange to meet local needs, but some schools are still limiting enrolments
  • New schools or members schools putting more teachers into the NetNZ mix allows us to develop the breadth of our curriculum
  • The government proposal for the introduction of Communities of online learning featured in the Education Amendment Bill released in late August raised the profile of online learning in New Zealand and allowed NetNZ to engage in a wide ranging discussion on the future of education on these shores. This both raised our profile at a national level, but also provided a possible future avenue for funding for NetNZ. Over the year we engaged with various politicians, Ministry of Education policy leaders, and other educators. This culminated in our submission to the Education and Science Select Committee. This national engagement will continue through 2017.

Curriculum

  • 62 courses with a further 14 accessed through a reciprocal arrangement with North Island eLearning clusters. This creates a broad curriculum for all member school students and ensures their needs and interests can be met.
  • Language pathways continue to develop and in particular Asian language pathways. ALLIS funding has allowed us to develop new pathways in Korean and Mandarin Chinese
  • We had our second year developing a L3 Computer Science course in partnership with Datacom. Datacom have fully sponsored the course but also provide industry based mentoring for participating students. This programme has been very successful and provides a blueprint for other industry partnerships in the future.

Learning and Teaching

  • Our schools continue to develop their systems of onsite support for their NetNZ students. This is reflected in ongoing improvement in retention rates - 82% of students completed their course.
  • 44% of achievement standards entered were gained at Merit or Excellence level.
  • NetNZ teachers continued to develop a ‘connected’ approach to online learning that puts a community based approach front and centre. More teachers have adopted google+ communities as a ‘hub’ for the course and we are beginning to see innovative use of these communities to ensure an interactive experience for students.
  • We formed a ‘Deep Support’ Community of practice using funding through the Ministry of Education Grassroots Initiative. This group of five eDeans will actively work together over 2017 to explore how we can move beyond ‘support’ of students into active development of them. We held our first face to face meeting at Waitaki Girls’ in term four. This was a valuable opportunity to develop the group as a community and to examine how to achieve the goals outlined in the proposal.
  • Google Hangouts is now firmly embedded as our tool of choice for video conferencing. The ease of access and flexibility of the environment ensures video conferencing remains a relevant and important part of our online courses. It also means access to courses is not restricted by ownership of expensive technology.
  • Teacher development was facilitated through continued engagement with our online staffroom, the provision of video conference workshops and meetings, one to one support from NetNZ staff and teachers and two regional huis held in Christchurch and Dunedin in term four. The huis were a valuable chance for teachers to connect with each other, but to also actively engage in developing the vision for learning in NetNZ beyond 2016.
  • A group of four NetNZ teachers worked with Professor Kwok Wing Lai to develop their expertise in applying a knowledge building approach to their programmes
  • Asian language teachers worked together to explore how to engage learners in the pathway. This involved two face to face meetings and continued engagement through an online community