Changes to technology have created many more opportunities to improve our education system. Making use of emerging technologies can help not just to reduce costs and promote access but also improve learning experiences so our workforce is more prepared for work.
Already schools are increasingly equipping students with digital devices and making better use of technology in the classroom but more progress could be made. There are other ways technology could be brought into the curriculum which we are not taking advantage of, for example teaching coding within schools. However many students who do not have access to technology at home or a personal digital device for school are missing out on learning opportunities.
Technology is also making high-quality vocational learning increasingly available online. This provides a massive opportunity for tertiary level study and retraining because people can obtain entire qualifications online with the same quality of direct learning and engagement as if they were on-site. If this is fully harnessed it can provide opportunities for workers to retrain without having to leave the workforce and for courses at a tertiary level to be delivered at a substantially lower cost, possibly even without charge. Removal of barriers like this can help ensure all New Zealanders have access to a quality life-long education.
There are also new opportunities from changing technology for our teaching workforce. The ageing population and workforce brings new opportunities to shift some of those with extensive real life experience into teaching to share their experiences with the younger generation. New technology also allows experts to teach in their field while remaining in the workforce.
It has to be acknowledged however that education and training providers face large costs in adopting new technology. Many struggle to provide the latest technology. A better integration between employers and providers is essential to dealing with this challenge.
How can we better incorporate technology into our schools and tertiary providers to improve learning?
How can the Government support greater use of online learning for tertiary study and retraining to improve access and reduce costs?