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Whenever I see metaphorical dark, gloomy clouds, I always look for the silver lining. Right now, COVID-19 is having a devasting impact on the world, socially and economically. However, is it possible that in the long term, something good could come from this experience? If so, how can New Zealand begin work on this now?
Late last week, I spoke with newshub about what I believe is the digital tipping point. Overnight, companies have had to experiment with remote working. What has previously been viewed as an employee benefit, is now a necessity for many businesses. Organisations that had little or no intention of enabling remote working are now scrambling to set up.
While we are uniting against COVID-19, this pivotal moment will change many of our working lives forever. Beyond lockdown, the benefits of working from home could spark permanent change. Studies have shown that employees who work from home (WFH) are more productive, compared to those in-office. Working from home also eliminates commuting – saving time and reducing the impact on our environment.
Likewise, we can see this same digital tipping point happening in schools too. Teachers who were less likely to prioritise digital tools, or digital learning have been thrown straight in the deep end! It is important to stress that this is not just about using more devices. It includes using a range of digital tools to stay connected with students, to personalise their learning experience, to allow them to collaborate and share.
Between the Government, education system and the tech sector we need to ensure every single Kiwi kid gets the chance to continue learning. NZTech members are concerned about the equity of access to learning for those students who do not have a laptop or broadband at home. This sudden forced shift, to a more digital world, will only be positive for New Zealand if everyone comes on the journey. Discussions have begun on how the tech ecosystem can help.
In other news, Techweek2020 has been rescheduled and is going digital. The new dates are 27 July to 2 August. This will provide an opportunity to be a platform for positive regrowth, economic stimulation and connections during our COVID-19 recovery phase.
Stay home, stay safe and together we can get through this.
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