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The Greater Christchurch Schools' Network have been busy! Our latest Milestone Report (June 2022) gives you a closer look into how we have been working to support, enable and grow digital inclusion for learners in Greater Christchurch.


Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network


Milestone Report – June 2022


Summary


This milestone report is the second report based on the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) of 15 March 2021 between the Ministry of Education and Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network (GCSN) for continued support of GCSN’s work in advancing access to digital learning in schools.


It summarises the progress of GCSN in each of the following areas over the previous six months, since the previous milestone report in December 2021.


Professional learning and development

  • Alongside the Christchurch City Council Libraries team, GCSN has launched three fully-funded PLD opportunities to upskill students.

  • The Lunch Break – Learn & Create PLD programme has been finalised with the first sessions prepared and due to be released.

Spark CIENA

  • Identification and connection of eligible ākonga from 27 schools in the greater Christchurch region.

  • Have overcome barriers posed by COVID-19 and established an effective activation and allocation process.

Bridging the Digital Divide

  • Progressing the first phase of the project, developing, and undertaking a student and and whānau survey.

  • Scoping the extent of the digital divide in the greater Christchurch region.

Learning City Christchurch – Ōtautahi Learning Days

  • A panel discussion was facilitated alongside the Spark Foundation about how we might engage more rangatahi Māori and Pasifika into the Tech and Engineering sectors in Ōtautahi.

Learning Exchange pilot

  • Completion of a pilot which offered support to 2021 scholarship students via an online Learning Exchange platform.


Professional learning and development


Christchurch City Libraries workshops

GCSN has partnered with the Christchurch City Council Libraries team to develop three engaging PLD opportunities which are designed to upskill ākonga to use digital technologies in new and creative ways. These opportunities are funded entirely by GCSN. Three sessions have been created:

  • Ko Wai Au? – A full day programme hosted at Auahatanga – South Library for up to 12 students to express their identity in a creative form. It supports students to work through the design process and create a physical print of their design.

  • The Gathering Dust Initiative – Targeted towards schools with under-utilised digital technologies that may be starting to “gather dust” the Libraries team will provide support about how to use these technologies in a way that supports teaching and learning. It consists of 1-2 half day workshops.

  • Podcasting 101 – The Libraries team have developed a ‘Podcasting Starter Pack’ that can be taken to schools wanting to explore podcasting. This half day session will provide support for kaiako or ākonga wanting to set up a podcast at their school.


Ko Wai Au? and The Gathering Dust Initiative were launched on the GCSN website in March 2022. Both workshops have been popular with five schools registering interest in Ko Wai Au? and three schools registering interest in The Gathering Dust Initiative. Podcasting 101 is due to be launched in June 2022.


Lunch Break – Learn & Create

Recognising the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 for schools in terms of staffing, we have decided to take a different approach to PLD offerings. Alongside CORE Education and Cyclone, GCSN are designing and delivering a series of online workshops with associated resources. Centred around digital fluency, these sessions will support tamariki to be creative, promote quality teaching and learning, and encouraging students to become creators.


Spark CIENA project


Since the December 2021 report we have expanded our support of the CIENA programme to 27 schools across the Greater Christchurch area, 19 of these schools have completed their scoping of need, and the remaining eight are in the process of collecting student data. The allocation and activation process and provision of modems through Spark is well established. COVID-19 presented challenges due to no opportunity for face-to-face conversations with students and onsite school visitor limitations. These limitations have been overcome by alternative strategies including remote activation of modems, online permission forms, and phone conversations with whānau.


Each school identifies eligible students, their addresses are checked for Skinny Jump availability, permission is obtained, and then a modem is provided and activated which is automatically loaded with 150GB data that is renewed monthly for the 2022 school year. The following table shows the success of the programme so far.


Bridging the Digital Divide


The Bridging the Digital Divide research project focuses on the digital divide in schools in the greater Christchurch area. It aims to investigate the extent of the digital divide in the greater Christchurch region and identify the factors limiting access in New Zealand’s digital technology education landscape. The study is designed in three phases, a student and whānau survey, a teacher and school leader survey, and a qualitative phase which focuses on drawing deeper insights through interviews. The first phase is currently underway. The research project is designed to have a robust measurement instrument piloted and tested that can then be used in subsequent instances.


In its capacity as an advocate, GCSN hopes to continue to engage the Ministry of Education and other educational bodies in ongoing efforts to raise equity in access to digital technologies across New Zealand. This will be done in collaboration with the University of Christchurch.



Learning City Christchurch – Ōtautahi Learning Days


In partnership with the Spark Foundation, GCSN delivered a panel discussion as part of Ōtautahi Learning Days. The panel discussed how we might engage more rangatahi Māori and Pasifika into the Tech and Engineering sectors in Ōtautahi with specific focus on diversity, inclusion, and taking businesses to the next level of innovation. The event was well attended and featured an inspiring group of panellists including Elle Archer, Sina Cotter Tait, Kendall Flutey and Hori Te Ariki Mataki.



Learning Exchange pilot


For some time GCSN has been working on the feasibility of a virtual learning network, the Learning Exchange, which would provide learning opportunities by matching willing buyers with willing sellers. GCSN piloted a virtual learning platform developed by software developers in partnership with Derek Wenmoth, a GCSN board member.


The pilot took place in late 2021 with Scholarship students across Canterbury schools. The evaluation of the pilot programme has been completed. A survey was developed although a low response rate limited the efficacy of the evaluation. The Canterbury West Coast Secondary Principals’ Association have confirmed that there is ongoing interest although, the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic were taking precedence.



Where to from here


We are grateful to the Ministry of Education for its support over the terms of this agreement and we are excited to continue our work with support from the Ministry. Our aims for the upcoming finding period are to:

  • Continue our targeted group PLD workshops for ākonga and kaiako;

  • Expand the range of PLD opportunities offered by GCSN;

  • Continue to support digital inclusion through Spark CIENA and other opportunities;

  • Continue work on the Bridging the Digital Divide research project; and

  • Work with a range of charitable trusts and support agencies to raise funds and support for our work with TToM schools.

We continue to be pleased with the positive impact of our work programmes and look forward to our continued partnership with the Ministry of Education.