Virtual Learning Network Community Origins: Carol Moffat  by EDtalks

Summary Highlights 2019

NetNZ continues to mature as an organisation and this is reflected in a number of highlights in 2019

The full Statement of Service Performance can be accessed at the bottom of this page. This contains all useful data related to our services

Growth and Sustainability

  • 2019 was a significant year, in that is was our 25th anniversary. NetNZ was initially formed by OtagoNet and CantaNet who have existed in some form since 1994. We were able to celebrate this event with a host of important people from our past. It also enabled us to create a publication, and with the help of Core Education, a series of video interviews with key founders.
  • We incurred a financial loss for the first time. There are various reasons for this, but we are finding some schools are capping enrolments based on what they feel they can afford. As a result, course provision and demand are not quite equalising. Unfortunately this means we have had to be very careful about any additional NetNZ funded programmes we provide in 2020.
  • We continue to grow our school membership each year. We welcomed new members like Rai Valley Area School, Villa NCEA Academy, Geraldine High School, Ellesmere College, Wanganui Collegiate, Taihape Area School.
  • The continued growth of our membership enables depth and breadth in the curriculum we provide. Certainty in curriculum creates sustainable long term membership and possible external revenue streams

  • We continued to engage with the Ministry of Education on the future of online learning in NZ, especially at a policy level. There were promising signs that plans were being put in the place to explore funding and regulatory options. We also met with the Tomorrow's Schools working group to ensure the Virtual Learning Network Community was included in key recommendations in their report - which it eventually was.
  • The NetNZ board approved a major new NetNZ initiative to explore the development of a commercial arm or subsidiary of NetNZ. The purpose of this new environment is to open up both educational, and financial opportunities. Work has continued on this with a new online platform (now called 'Journey' to be launched in 2020. All current and future NetNZ programmes would be advertised through the new platform.

Curriculum

  • 75 full year courses with a further 17 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.

  • We have modularised most of our programmes. This allows greater flexibility for students to shift between pathways where necessary and ensures we meet the now varied needs of our schools. Programmes are now available by term, semester or for a full year. These can be viewed on our new Curriculum Hub

  • The provision of languages is a key focus for us, largely because many of schools cannot provide full pathways. We can now ensure pathways in French, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, Spanish, and Te Reo Maori. Korean in particular is the only full pathway on offer across New Zealand schools.

  • We continue to develop programmes in niche areas that many of our schools are not able to provide internally. These include Psychology (very popular), Computer Science and Programming, Drama, Art History, Philosophy, Senior Social Studies

Learning and Teaching

  • Our schools continue to develop their systems of onsite support for their NetNZ students. This is reflected in retention rates of 85% in 2019

  • 84% of achievement standards entered were achieved by students, while 58% were achieved at Merit or Excellence level (30%). This is consistent with results in 2018.

  • We had our first year running the new National Network of Expertise (NEX) for online teachers in partnership with the VLN Primary. This provided an invaluable source of funding for PLD activity across both networks. Teachers were able to participate in asynchronous discussion groups and attend regular video conference workshops on various focus areas.

  • Our Learning and Teaching Reference Group (of NetNZ teachers) provided an important point of engagement on new NetNZ developments / initiatives.

  • We previewed the first iteration of our NetNZ teacher Microcredentials, planned for implementation in 2020

  • NetNZ teachers continued to develop a ‘connected’ approach to online learning that puts a community based approach front and centre. Most teachers use google+ communities as a ‘hub’ for the course, with a few others using them in conjunction with Google Classroom. The key aspect is that the teaching explores ways students can share, discuss, and collaborate as a collective, rather than work in total isolation from each other.

  • We held our first one site NetNZ Hui at Solway College in Dunedin. The event was a highlight of the year with the 'retreat' feel enabling a strong community feel across participants. We appreciate our members continued support of this event.