20 Feb 2014

Principal praises ultrafast internet

10:18 pm on 20 February 2014

The first schools with free ultrafast internet access through a government-funded network say it is having a big positive effect on their work.

The Government is spending $200 million over 10 years on the Network for Learning, which gives schools free and unlimited access to the internet. 150 schools have connected so far, and a further 550 are expected to join them by the end of the year.

School principals have told Radio New Zealand News fast access to the internet is enabling them to use it more effectively for teaching, and for administration.

The network's chief executive, John Hanna, says it will also start providing easier access to educational resources early this year.

The principal of one of the first schools to use the network says it is changing the way students learn. Stratford Primary School's David Cripps says access to free, fast internet is having a big effect on his school.

"As I'm looking out my window right now," says Mr Cripps, "I've got children that are working in small groups and they've got their iPads, they're taking images, they're manipulating the data ... they're writing down the information and they're engaged in their learning in a way that we wouldn't have seen six months ago, because we just didn't have the connectivity."

Mr Cripps says working without fast internet access is like trying to teach with one arm tied behind your back.