Last week, I had an interesting experience that drove home to me the need to consider more than just computers and the ability to teach digital technology.
I visited Point England School to meet with Russell Burt, the school principal and convenor of the Manaiakalani schools cluster. If you haven’t heard about this initiative you need to! The Manaiakalani Project began in 2007 at Point England School, where digital initiatives have been used to help improve the reading, writing and learning outcomes of their students. Now many other New Zealand schools are participating too. The study has reported impressive improvements in learning outcomes including independent learning skills, study habits, problem solving abilities, critical literacy and writing skills. This is supported by a deep digital environment that extends beyond the schools to whanau. Check out their journey here.
However, when I visited Point England last week, the entire suburb was experiencing a power cut. At the school, 200 students were sitting at their laptops waiting to begin a test while teachers considered a Plan B? What this showed me, is that as schools become increasingly more digital they need additional support, beyond firing up servers and WiFi after a power outage. At Point England School, due to cost factors, there was no battery backup or generator available. Maybe the Ministry of Education needs to start factoring in power backup in the facilities costs of their schools? This also got me thinking about how our national power infrastructure may be the weakest link in our cybersecurity plans. Let’s hope this is part of the refresh of our national cyber security strategy that is currently underway.
In BioTech news, LanzaTech’s Dr Sean Simpson was in New Zealand last week. It’s great to see how successful Kiwi tech entrepreneurs continue to put effort and investment back into New Zealand. Read more here.
This week I am looking forward to spending Wednesday with the Board of KiwiNet and others, throwing ideas around on how to increase the flow of research from New Zealand universities and CRI’s into commercialisation and successful companies.
Have a great week.