Over the past 10 years GCSN has strengthened and empowered students, teachers, schools and the Greater Christchurch community by connecting Christchurch students to technology, the internet and devices.
GCSN continues to be motivated by the realisation that the power of the internet, connectivity and mobile technologies pose a profound challenge and opportunity for New Zealand education. It is committed to ensuring better student engagement and learning, particularly for lower decile schools in Christchurch.
GCSN: Celebrating our achievements
Over the past 10years GCSN has celebrated a number of successes in bringing technology, internet, information and devices to students, teachers and the Greater Christchurch area. To fully understand where GCSN is going, let's have a look at the achievements of our past.
Prior to 2010 it was becoming apparent that Schools throughout Christchurch were finding it difficult to gain access to all the information they required to make informed decisions when connecting to the internet. As a result, the GCSN came into being to bridge the gap between schools and the New Zealand Government's UFB rollout plan.
In 2010 GCSN was established by the Canterbury Development Corporation, Enable and COREEducation. Led by Carol Moffatt and a small team of volunteers. It was the vision of GCSN to create a focal point for schools that were seeking access to information, expertise and professional development regarding the benefits of accessing ultra-fast broadband.
The National Education Network Trial (2010)
During 2010 GCSN oversaw the development of a report to the Ministry of Education on 30 Christchurch schools (including 18 secondary schools) on the National Education Network (NEN) trial of fibre cable connections. This resulted in many Christchurch schools connecting to fibre cable, as well as enhancing the use of fibre cable connections within the schools.
The trial had three focus areas that have continued to provide a platform for GCSN work in Christchurch schools.
Increasing confidence and capability within the GCSN community in using the advanced network to enhance teaching and learning activities.
Continuing to work with principals in supporting their leadership role in the GCSN community.
Fostering e-learning leadership in schools.
Increased student activity
Using the advanced network to access and enhance learning opportunities.
Networked learning and infrastructure and services
Supporting schools by brokering and facilitating to get independent technological advice for improving infrastructure and services.
Maintaining an online collaboration and sharing space for all GCSN community.
Further to the National Education Network trial, the GCSN submitted a report to the Ministry of Education in May 2014, which contributed to the formation of Network for Learning (N4L).
The impact of the Christchurch earthquakes (2010-2012)
The 2011 earthquakes had a huge impact on Christchurch schools, highlighting awareness of stresses that already existed within schools and their communities, particularly in the hard-hit eastern suburbs of Christchurch.
With obstructed internet connections after the earthquakes, and limited access to IT devices, some students were placed at a significant disadvantage compared to other schools in New Zealand. The GCSN quickly identified this need, and with combined efforts from the Ministry of Education, Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Trust, Canterbury Community Trust and the Canterbury Development Corporation, schools in Christchurch were assisted through these challenging times.