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The opportunity of the virtual classroom


The biggest opportunity for the Education sector and EdTechs over the last year has probably been remote learning at scale. This goes beyond simply delivering content and classes via video conferencing tools, and flips things from the model of distance learning merely being a PlanB, to digital learning being a viable and preferred option. To quote one company “We don’t want to be better than Zoom, we want to be different to Zoom”. A year later, just what are local and international EdTech’s doing to rise to the occasion so-to-speak?

I read an interesting article about some of the emerging start-ups offshore tackling this opportunity, but personally, I have yet to see anything of note happening in New Zealand. This isn’t to say that it’s not happening and may simply be a by-product of the fact that we still have a bit of a disconnected EdTech ecosystem. How might we fix that and leverage this to promote such activities? And if you have such a story to share, then let me know.

With this in mind, here are a few things happening within EdTechNZ that may help unite our Kiwi EdTech ecosystem.

Firstly, EdTechNZ are starting on mapping out just who the New Zealand EdTechs are, what are the great things that they are doing and then leveraging the value of this information so that we can start to connect, collaborate and accelerate things. To make sure that you are included, contact us (you don’t have to be an EdTechNZ member) to make sure you are on our radar.

Next, EdTechNZ are embarking on a white paper to highlight the economic and social value of the EdTech sector in NZ. This will help us better understand the sector, allow us to promote this to central government and use it as a basis to advance the sector as a whole, both domestically and internationally. This great initiative is being done in partnership with Education New Zealand along with funding from them and is off the back of a lot of hard work behind the scenes, so a vote of thanks to all involved to date!

Thirdly, it’s been suggested to me by a local EdTech that we form a local (NZ only) EdTech Founders group. This would be in the periodical meet-up with Chatham House Rules so that founders can share their experiences, challenges and learnings in a safe environment. EdTechNZ has decided that this sounds like is a great idea and we’d like to support getting it off-the-ground. If this sounds like you and you are a founder, reach out to me and we’ll start connecting people and getting things under way. We’ll also promote this during the process of mapping out the ecosystem so that we connect to as many people as possible. We also welcome suggestions and input into the best way to structure this, to attain the most benefit to the Kiwi EdTech community.

Skills Exploratory Hui: Skills are critical to the growth of any sector, especially in high-skill and high complexity sectors such as digital and information technology. With this in mind, we would like to invite you to participate in some exploratory huis, looking at different aspects of the skills issues in digital tech and what can be done to remove barriers.

There are three of the eight seminars still running, tomorrow and Thursday. There is an open invitation to people who can bring expertise around these potential initiatives: Government as an employer, diversity and inclusion, and upskilling and reskilling. Session details are here.

Shane Kerr

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EdTechNZ EdTechNZ is the voice of EdTech in New Zealand, supporting the growth of the sector. Our purpose is to drive the creative use of technology, inside and outside the classroom, for better student outcomes. We aim to facilitate a world class education system for all New Zealanders and showcase local EdTech to the world.