After what seems like an age I’m finally back to blogging (illness and distractions being the excuse!)
I’m now in Queenstown, NZ, attending the APAN26 conference. The photo above shows the welcome powhiri that we witnessed at the beginning of the conference this morning before we were treated to an address by Mr Karel Veitsch via video conference from TERENA (Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association) speaking about the recommendations from the EARNEST reports – a set of strategic studies into the expected evolution of research and education networking in Europe over the net 5-10 years. Of particular interest to me is one of the reports on the site: “Report on Requirements of Users in Schools, the Healthcare Sector and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences” (PDF download here). The section on schools and advanced networks is particularly interesting and of relevance to us in NZ as we are looking at expanding access to the advanced network to schools in NZ over the next few years. This report claims that “as a result of the study, the different technical and organisational options for connecting schools and their pros and cons are now well understood” – we can certainly benefit from that!
From the report…
This study provides qualitative information based on interviews and feedback from practitioners about the use of network connections. For those interested in figures and comparisons between countries, the study provides references to interesting quantitative studies. Indeed, one surprising remark in the study is that virtually every school in Europe has access to the Internet: in most countries the rate is 100% or almost 100%. Here we must note carefully that a school having access to the Internet does not mean necessarily that the Internet connectivity is used for teaching and learning. For example, it may even be that there is one PC connected in a school’s administration. The study explains that there are differences in bandwidth available for schools across Europe.
The report on schools concludes that the use of network connectivity in the classroom is not yet ubiquitous – well, I guess the news isn’t so different to NZ after all!