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Prepare

If your school has already registered and is currently waiting to connect, this section will help you ensure you will be ready to make the most of your connection when the time comes.

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Prepare for transition

Network for Learning (N4L) is working to ensure the transition process is as simple as possible for schools. After a school registers their interest, N4L will get in touch to request further information, and finally to go through an agreement to connect. Once an agreement is signed, a school can expect to get connected in 6-12 weeks time (these are estimated timeframes and may vary). N4L aims to work with your school to ensure downtime is kept to a minimum. For example, your school may prefer to schedule the transition outside of school hours.

Details of this process, including information on what the school being connected needs to do, can be found on N4L’s Connection packages page.

Interim connection

The rollout of the Managed Network is phased and N4L connected over 1000 schools in 2014 and will offer all schools a connection by the end of 2016. While the N4L is likely to be the fibre provider of choice for most New Zealand schools, you can still enjoy fast connection via fibre while you wait. If you wish to upgrade your current connection speed, you can move to a fibre service provider as soon as fibre is available at your school (this will occur before you are offered an N4L connection as the fibre rollout is an independent project). It is recommended that schools who need a service provider in the interim period sign a short term contract so they can transfer to the N4L Managed Network when it becomes available.

Prepare your school

While you are waiting to connect, consider what else you can do to prepare your school to make the most of the connection when it arrives. The full benefits of learning with digital technologies are only realised when a digital device and connection is combined with strong school leadership and quality teaching practice. The Ministry of Education has a range of resources to help. We recommend you: 

You could also consider:

Brian Price, Principal of Breens Intermediate, describes how they used the e-Learning Planning Framework to develop their strategic planning with a focus on improving literacy levels for their Māori students.

More information

N4L and the Ministry of Education are working together to ensure schools are well supported to take advantage of the Managed Network and of the support for learning with digital technologies.

N4L can provide advice and support regarding company services and the progress of the Managed Network.

The Ministry provides wider support around strategy and planning for e-learning, support for the use of digital technology for learning, and ICT in schools.

Contact us »  

Through using digital technologies over the N4L Managed Network, students will have access to a wide range of quality teaching and learning resources that can enhance their learning and engagement.

Digital technologies:

  • allow students to learn, create, share, and collaborate anywhere, at any time (rather than being tied to a certain place or time)
  • open up a new world of resources for students, providing much more knowledge than any one teacher or school library could hope to
  • enable students to personalise their learning experience (recognising every student's strengths, talents, and needs, building on their identity, language, and culture)
  • help build on students’ prior and current knowledge, needs, and interests (many of today’s students are already used to engaging with digital technologies)
  • encourage greater collaboration between students, teachers, and school leaders around New Zealand and supports teachers to engage in blended, personalised professional, and peer collaboration.

All of these factors add up to more students being present to learn in the classroom and beyond, engaged and enjoying learning, and achieving better results. See examples from real schools below.

Nayland Primary School staff describe how e-learning is part of everyday learning across the curriculum in every classroom.

The three schools making up Waimea Campus collaborated to install ultra-fast broadband, purchase services, and share resources. Benefits include the purchasing of e-books, enabling greater anytime access, and an increase in the number of boys reading.

Sarah Kennedy, from Waimea school, describes how new technologies are making a real difference in teaching students with special learning needs.

Value for schools

The Government is committed to ensuring that all students have access to the opportunities provided by digital technologies. Currently, not all schools can access a consistent, high-quality Internet connection. The Government funded N4L Managed Network will ensure there is:

  • uncapped data limits – no quotas to exceed
  • no invoices to pay as the Government has funded the Ministry for the base package
  • infrastructure robust enough to handle the growing demand from bring your own device (BYOD) and other mobile technologies
  • quality of service:
    • reliable, predictable performance, and guaranteed bandwidth for critical applications – for example high-definition video conferencing
    • no reduction in speed.

The N4L base package

The N4L Managed Network will provide schools with a Ministry funded base connection package. Schools will not be invoiced for this. However, if schools wish to purchase additional products or services from N4L they will be billed accordingly.

The N4L base package offered by the Ministry includes:

  • connectivity speed in megabits per second (Mbps)
  • uncapped data (N4L does not place any limits on the amount of data that can be uploaded or downloaded but a fair use policy will apply)
  • router, including firewall (firewall is optional but highly recommended)
  • content and email filtering (optional but highly recommended)
  • spam filtering
  • remote access to school’s internal network for students and teachers (optional)
  • network performance monitoring and support
  • predictable access in terms of fast speed and reliability.

The N4L Managed Network will ensure more equitable access to digital technologies for all schools and students, regardless of their location or financial situation. When combined with the state-funded access to fibre, school network upgrades, and a Managed Network with uncapped data by the end of 2016, this provides a sound digital infrastructure for schools and students.

Benefits of a fibre connection

Getting an Internet connection delivered via fibre has a number of advantages over asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). It should:

  • be up to 20 times faster for rural schools because ADSL slows down as your distance from the exchange increases 
  • allow full speed uploads without the traffic shaping employed on ADSL lower latency – or time delay – making time sensitive applications, like video conferencing or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) work better 
  • have fewer errors, which also means less data needing to be retransmitted. 

Connecting to fibre will allow schools to consider a range of options that were not practical or possible using ADSL, such as:

  • putting bring your own device (BYOD) and other mobile devices policies in place as the investment in infrastructure will allow schools to cope with this growing demand
  • moving a range of services and servers to the cloud off-site back-ups
  • VoIP telephone systems
  • video conferencing generally and high definition (HD) video conferencing in particular.

More information from N4L

N4L started connecting the first schools in November 2013, and more than 1000 schools were connected at the end of 2014. All schools will be able to connect to the Managed Network by the end of 2016. Registering your school is the first step in getting connected. N4L will then contact you directly and once your school signs an agreement to connect, N4L expects you will generally be on the Managed Network within 6-12 weeks.

Schools involved in the National Education Network (NEN) trial were contacted separately to discuss their options for transition to the Managed Network.

The N4L Managed Network package is fully-funded for state, state-integrated, and partnership schools and will be available at a cost to independent schools. While the vast majority of schools will connect to N4L’s Managed Network via fibre, the remaining remote schools will connect via wireless or satellite technology. Speed and performance for each school will be determined by the type of connection available to that school.

More information from N4L

Once connected, all schools will immediately have access to the Government funded Managed Network that offers affordable, safe, predictable, ultra-fast internet connectivity with uncapped data. The impact on individual schools once connected will vary depending on the stage the school is at. Schools that have not previously had access to a fibre connection will notice the most immediate difference. Assuming that the school’s internal network is well maintained and learners have access to web-capable devices, it will be easier to:

  • manage video-conferencing
  • collaborate remotely with other students
  • download and livestream content
  • upload and share content, including video and similar large-file formats
  • have more learners connecting online at the same time.

Staff at St Hilda's Collegiate School talk about the difference that ultra-fast broadband has made to teaching and learning.

After the school has signed the agreement to be connected to the Managed Network, N4L will be in contact to discuss the specific requirements.

Impacts on students, staff, boards, and wider school communities

While digital technologies provide many exciting opportunities for teaching and learning, it is important to consider how schools can support all members of their school community to enjoy these opportunities.

Students

By using digital technologies over the N4L Managed Network, students will have access to a wide range of quality teaching and learning resources that can enhance their learning and engagement. While many students will be familiar with digital technologies, teachers are critical in supporting students and ensuring learning opportunities are tailored to students' individual needs and interests, improving engagement and achievement.

Staff

Once connected, schools can begin to focus on developing the school community's ability to integrate technologies meaningfully into a student-focused curriculum. School leaders have a critical role to play as active leaders for digital learning in the school community and teachers may need support to feel capable and confident to use digital technology to enhance learning.

The Enabling e-Learning website provides information on the many resources offered by the Ministry of Education to support educators to embrace digital learning including: 

Staff at St Hilda's Collegiate talk about the difference using technology has made to teaching and learning.

Boards

Schools boards will need to consider whether their school should connect to the N4L Managed Network (see the School management considerations section on this page). They will also need to review or establish strategy and development plans (for example, equipment leases and the replacement of old hardware and software), ICT policies such as cyber-safety, BYOD, information security, privacy, and other guidance material. The Ministry of Education and NetSafe have various resources which help schools to do this.

Wider school community

It is important to engage your wider school community, including whānau and iwi, in the development of your e-learning vision and to discuss the impacts of digital learning. Digital technologies can provide greater opportunities to engage with your community online on a regular basis but it may also raise questions for some parents, for instance around cyber-safety. There may also be the opportunity, particularly for schools in rural areas, to become community digital hubs.

The Ministry has developed a process, guidelines, and information to help schools and their boards understand what becoming a community digital hub is all about and what schools need to do, if they wish to consider this option.

Find information about connecting with your community in the Beyond the classroom section of Enabling e-Learning.

School boards will need to consider whether their school should connect to the N4L Managed Network (see the School management considerations section on this page). They will also need to review or establish strategy and development plans (for example, equipment leases and the replacement of old hardware and software), ICT policies such as cyber-safety, BYOD, information security, privacy, and other guidance material. The Ministry of Education and NetSafe have various resources, which help schools to do this.

Useful cyber-safety information

School vision and goals

You can make the most of your N4L Managed Network connection by making sure your school has a vision and goals that support learning with digital technologies.

Ideally, school leaders, the Board of Trustees, teachers, students, and the wider community (including whānau and iwi) will be a part of your planning process. However, effective leadership is critical to implement effective e-learning practice in your school.

Dr Cheryl Doig, director of Think Beyond Limited, talks about the importance of having a shared language and understanding of what e-learning is before integrating it into the school vision.

e-Learning Planning Framework

Many schools have started the planning process by conducting a whole school review to inform a strategic plan using the e-Learning Planning Framework.

The framework provides schools and teachers with:

  • a self-review tool for schools to gather evidence about practice
  • a "road map" for building e-learning capability
  • a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning programmes
  • resources and services to support schools as they build capability.

The eLPF is accessible both as an online tool and as a hardcopy. Decide which is the best tool for your school. Access the eLPF tools »

Brian Price, Principal of Breens Intermediate, shares how they used the e-Learning Planning Framework to develop their strategic planning with a focus on improving literacy levels for their Māori students.

e-Learning Planning Framework
In this EDtalk, Karen Melhuish of CORE Education explains the elements of the framework, how it can be used, and where you can get support.

Building a modern learning environment

As schools extend use of technology, it may provide the opportunity to redesign classrooms and reconfigure school layout to better support technology use.

Flexible Learning Spaces
This section of the Ministry of Education's website provides information and readings on developing modern learning environments that facilitate a variety of approaches to teaching and learning.

Innovative learning environments
New Zealand teachers and school leaders describe and explain their modern learning spaces, their vision and the pedgagogy that underpins their design and practice in this Ministry of Education website. 

There is also information relating to Ministry property information that contains useful resources for Boards to make property and infrastructure decisions.

More information

The Ministry of Education’s Enabling e-Learning website is your hub for information on planning for digital learning, including:

The following guidance is provided to schools regarding the infrastructure needed to connect to the N4L Managed Network.

Schools should provide:

  • all of their own internal network (wired/wireless)
  • their own network directory, which holds details all the users on the network
  • a fibre connection
  • server.

N4L router

Schools do not need to provide a router. This is provided by N4L. There will be two ways that schools can use the N4L-provided router:  

  • WAN (Wide Area Network) only
  • WAN + LAN (Local Area Network).

Wide area network (WAN) only

When configured like this, the N4L router will provide a clear demarcation point between the national N4L network and the school’s internal network. All data entering and leaving the school will do so via this device, but the school’s internal network will run on entirely separate devices.

Schools will need to provide:

  • firewall
  • dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server
  • internal wired network
  • internal wireless network
  • any servers and associated storage, backup, and UPS required on site.

Combination of wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN)

In this case, in addition to the WAN functionality described above, the N4L router will also act as part of the local network. The N4L engineers will configure it to provide/allow local services such as DHCPVLANs, firewall, and static routes.

Schools will need to provide:

  • internal wired network
  • internal wireless network
  • any servers and associated storage, backup, and UPS required on site.

Throughout the establishment period, schools will continue to have the option to use their existing operations grant to purchase other network services.

See the diagram below for a representation of a combination of LAN and WAN networks:

WAN = LAN scheme

(Image source: LAN WAN scheme, Wikimedia Commons)

Web filtering

N4L have a series of training webinars on web filtering. These are recorded and can be accessed from the Pond for replaying.

Both the Ministry of Education and N4L want to see digital technologies used to enrich learning and lift student achievement.   

Network for Learning (N4L)

Network for Learning logo

N4L is a Crown-owned company set up to develop and operate the N4L Managed Network for schools and to provide access to a range of learning resources and services. A joint management group exists to maintain the relationship and ensure the delivery of the N4L Managed Network and other services that meet the needs of schools. The Ministry has not been involved in selecting particular schools to be connected but it supports N4L in the selection process.

N4L provides the technical support to transition across to the Network for Learning.

Ministry of Education

Ministry of Education

The Ministry provides a broader range of support to enable schools to make the most of learning with digital technologies, whether or not you are connected to the N4L Managed Network. The Ministry is working to ensure schools are well placed to take advantage of learning with digital technologies by reviewing their strategic planning, school curriculum, and promoting access to Ministry resources like the Enabling e-Learning website. 

More information

Technical considerations

There are some administrative considerations for schools to consider when preparing to transition to the N4L Managed Network. Schools wanting to connect to N4L in 2014 must:

  • have an existing relationship with a N4L-approved IT support company that can assist with the transition to the N4L Managed Network OR have in-house technical capability to do it themselves
  • currently have access to fibre connection that is "ready for service" (that is, fibre is connected and ready to use)
  • If you have any questions about connecting your school, contact N4L on 0800 LEARNING.

Strategic considerations

In addition, schools may wish to review their current strategic plan and curriculum in terms of how digital technologies are used for learning. Discussion, review, and planning with Boards of Trustees and staff can begin. This might involve a review of e-learning capability.

Cyber-safety and security

The N4L Managed Network will provide schools with secure and safe access to the Internet. With the use of new digital technologies, each school needs to make decisions about how to develop and manage their cyber-safety policy, security maintenance, and how to provide an education programme on cyber-safety and security for its students, staff, and community.

The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and NetSafe have various resources to help schools do this:

The NetSafe Kit for schools

The NetSafe Kit helps schools to address student cyber-safety and support digital citizenship through a comprehensive cyber-safety programme based on three core components:

  • an infrastructure of policies, procedures, and use agreements
  • an effective electronic security system
  • a comprehensive cyber-safety education programme.

Following expert consultation, the NetSafe Kit details seven steps required to produce a cyber-safe learning environment.

OWLS is a new NetSafe online resource to help teachers teach Internet privacy issues to primary and intermediate school students.

Wifi and schools

Since June 2013, the Ministry has offered schools a wireless network (WiFi) option via the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP). As schools adopt mobile technologies and implement bring your own device (BYOD) policies, WiFi networks are essential to support the integration of learning with digital technologies.

The Ministry of Health recently affirmed its position that exposure to radioactive fields from WiFi equipment in schools does not pose a health risk to staff or students in the area where it is used.

The health and safety of children in our schools is critical and the Ministry will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to monitor New Zealand standards, international standards, and credible research on WiFi and radio frequency electromagnetic fields, as it becomes available.

Other useful cyber-safety information

More information

  • Getting connected
  • e-Learning Planning Framework – A tool to help schools review their readiness to use digital technologies for learning
  • School infrastructure database – Check your school’s fibre connection status
  • Almost all schools have now registered their interest in connecting to the N4L Managed Network. If you have any questions about connecting your school, contact N4L on 0800 LEARNING.

Software for learning

The Software for learning section of the Enabling e-Learning website is provides information and support for teachers selecting and planning for the use of tools and technologies to raise student learning outcomes.

e-Learning planning and professional development

  • The e-Learning Planning Framework, is designed to support you, and your school, in assessing and developing e-capability.
  • The Professional learning section has other supporting information and professional development resources.
  • Personalised learning allows students to take control of their own learning. Each akonga (learner) is unique and learns in different ways.

Existing software and devices

The N4L Managed Network will work with your existing digital devices and software to connect students and teachers to the Internet. However, given the quality access and uncapped data provided by the network, your school may want to consider moving to mobile (or 1-1) devices if you have not already done so.

The TELA laptops and software provided through the Ministry of Education will be compatible with the N4L Managed Network.

Bring your own device (BYOD)

Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to technology models where students and staff bring a personally-owned device to school for the purpose of learning. These can include mobile devices such as laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, e-book readers, and MP3 players.

BYOD/mobile technologies have the potential to expand and enhance interaction in the classroom, enable more real-world activities, improve learning environments, and engage students in new and exciting ways.

See the BYOD/mobile technologies page for guidelines and information to consider before introducing a BYOD policy for students in your school.

Moving to mobile devices

Before making decisions about purchasing devices, many schools have used the e-Learning Planning Framework in conducting a whole-school review of e-learning to inform their strategic plans. This helps ensure that decision-making around technologies is driven by learning priorities.

Schools should carry out a comprehensive consultation process with their wider school community to ensure the introduction of BYOD/mobile technologies is well understood and the benefits realised. Each school’s vision for their students, which is grounded in the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, will be the driving rationale.

Increasingly, many schools are moving away from desktop computers towards mobile devices. This is a natural extension of fast connections enabled via a managed wireless network. Mobile devices are easy to move around, allowing the device to go to the student rather than the student needing to move to the device, and can easily be locked out of sight or taken home at the end of the day.

There may be several reasons why you would want to explore these initiatives in your school. An over-arching purpose, however, will be the way in which increased access to a personal device can enable inclusive and more personalised learning pathways, and lifting student achievement through the curriculum.

 St Hilda's Collegiate are in their third year of introducing 1-1 laptops. Staff members explain the process they went through to select MacBook Pros as the 1-1 device they are currently using. 

More information

  • Laptops for teachers and principals through the TELA scheme (information about the TELA laptop leasing scheme, TELA support, and research into the impact of laptops for teachers)
  • Software for schools (providing funding for core software packages for schools, for example, operating systems, security and filtering software, e-portfolio tools, and student management systems)
  • BYOD/mobile technologies (information, research and school stories to support schools as they move into mobile technologies for learners)
  • Media gallery (school stories related to technologies in schools)

ICT infrastructure

While each school makes different choices regarding the best way to adapt its infrastructure and technologies to its local curriculum and community, there are some decisions that you might consider as you prepare to connect to N4L Managed Network.

Principal, Jane Danielson shares the thinking that went into planning their technological infrastructure at Hingaia Penninsula School.

Desktop to mobile

Increasingly schools are moving away from desktop computers towards more mobile (or 1–1) devices. This is a natural extension of fast connections enabled via a managed wireless network. Mobile devices are easy to move around, allow the device to go to the learner rather than the learner needing to move to the device, and can easily be locked out of sight at the end of the day or go home with the learner.

Systems manager, Alistair Montgomerie describes the infrastructure set up at St Hilda's Collegiate School. It enables all students and staff to use the Internet as part of their 1-1 laptops programme. He explains their wireless network upgrade and why they needed ultra-fast broadband.

Wireless networks

For many schools, having a fibre connection will be a step towards increasing the number of portable devices. Your internal managed wireless network makes it easier to support large numbers of mobile users. The management interface will allow you to make changes to all of your wireless access points at once, broadcast multiple wireless local area network (staff, student, guest, and so on), and to monitor usage patterns. Managed equipment is capable of greater density of users in any one space.

Cloud-based services

Moving to cloud-based services has many advantages for schools. Once connected, schools may wish to maximise the benefits of the network to use such services. As long as your connection can support them, you can investigate using some services to the cloud before you get a fibre connection.

Establishing a back-up of all critical data

This is always important, but particularly if you are delaying the replacement of an ageing server until you have a fibre connection to allow more cloud-based services. Make sure that data on your server is well backed up (on or off site) so that you can recover it quickly if the hardware fails.

More information

N4L is working to ensure the transition process is as simple as possible for schools. After a school registers their interest, N4L will get in touch to request further information and finally to go through an agreement to connect. Once an agreement is signed, a school can expect to get connected in 6-12 weeks’ time (these are estimated timeframes and may vary). N4L aims to work with your school to ensure downtime is kept to a minimum. For example, your school may prefer to schedule the transition outside of school hours.

Read Mount Aspiring College's blog describing their experience connecting to the Network for Learning.

School relationship with IT providers

N4L is partnering with a number of IT support companies across New Zealand to assist schools with their transition to the Managed Network.

If schools choose to use an N4L-approved IT support company, their transition will be fully funded by the Ministry of Education. This includes schools that are currently contracting the services of one of these approved companies. Schools may however choose to use alternative IT support companies at the school’s own expense.

For schools using ICT providers for services other than the Managed Network, for example server maintenance, data management, hardware/software purchases, and configuration, schools will continue to fund these purchases.

Schools may also choose to use alternative software products to those provided with the N4L base package. However, this will be at the school’s own expense.

More information

  • N4L Managed Network FAQs
  • Almost all schools have now registered their interest in connecting to the N4L Managed Network. If you have any questions about connecting your school, contact N4L on 0800 LEARNING.

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