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The peak of higher education


September saw EdTechNZ kick-off our EdTech Founders group. This initiative offers  local EdTechs the opportunity to collaborate and increase impact. Attendees were diverse in terms of sectors that they represent, reflecting that EdTech spans cradle to grave. If this sounds like something that you’d like to be part of, please let me know.

In the news

The peak of higher education – a new world for the university of the future EY has recently released a report suggesting that Oceania may have reached “peak higher education” and proposes that Universities need new business models which will reinvent the sector. I recently attended the International Education Forum in Auckland, and my biggest takeaway was that the tertiary sector in Aotearoa seems reluctant to change much, and more importantly, even more reluctant to do so at pace.

“Converging, technologies are re-inventing, higher education, along with every, other industry on the planet. Digital is driving the emergence of new ecosystems for learning and knowledge creation, and setting the stage for immense innovation.”

The opportunity for Aotearoa to lead the change is immense in terms of economic value and global opportunity and education technology will be a crucial part of that. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were bold enough to lead the charge!

EdTech global trends and insights

Pandemic-Induced Shifts in Education

The pandemic forced the world to conduct the biggest experiment with online education ever and out of necessity, schools adopted online tools at unprecedented levels. What’s interesting but unsurprising is the impact it has had in terms of mental health impacting both the student and the teacher – a trend that is likely to also be happening in New Zealand. All of us have some small role to play here, supporting our whanau and friends, as the battle is far from over with the current lockdown status highlighting this. Inequity is also amplified in times like these and one small way to assist Aotearoa students is to help them access a device for lockdown learning via a great initiative calledRecycle a Device (RAD). RAD is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on donations and other fundraising efforts to continue getting laptops to students who need them, making education and technology accessible to all Kiwis.

The EdTech Open Atlas is a crowdsourced repository of information on EdTech projects and solutions from around the world – what’s missing is that there are only two Aotearoa based EdTechs represented, so maybe it’s time to get a lot more of us to be showcased on this page!

Spotlight on an NZ EdTech start-up

VR Voom & ByteEd Founder & CEO Peter Dong / Encouraging students, teachers, and schools to engage in all digital technologies.

Launched in 2021, ByteEd is an education content and technology development company specialising in teaching Digital Technologies (DT) to primary through to secondary school ākonga (students).

The team is currently focused on creating resources and professional learning for primary level learners, to teach computational thinking. They are in the process of developing programming courses for Year 4+, directly linking to the New Zealand education curriculum. 

At intermediate and secondary level, Peter and his team have made fully interactive courses. The Bytesize projects and ByteEd bit lessons allow ākonga to explore Virtual Reality content creation, 3D modelling and animation development and allow learners to deepen their programming with AI and machine learning through authentic projects.

“It’s critically important we also empower ‘teachers to teach’ so all our courses and modules include full lesson overviews, assessment rubrics, teaching slides, student handouts and an interactive website for learning.”

ByteEd are currently working on a new STEM kit, which will enable learners to move from unplugged computational thinking learning to online understanding.

Take a look at this amazing article featuring VR Voom as well VR technology helps vision impaired taiohi see the world.

Ka rawe Peter, great work!

Shane Kerr
EdTechNZ Chair

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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.