|How can the IT Industry help schools?|
This topic was discussed when 8 schools in Northland and 6 companies from the IT industry met on 15 May 2008 at Kamo High School in Whangarei. The event was well attended and all present expressed that the limited time spent was productive and valuable. The group did not just talk, go away and behave as if the event had not existed.
We will now set up a web-based forum to continue the exchange of ideas and will continue to meet every 6 months face to face. Meeting is one thing, and productivity is another. In terms of productivity, we can name 3 developments easily.
First, schools expressed their difficulties in doing IT well especially the smaller schools due to budget limitation and the lack of understanding of IT issues. The openness is constructive for engaging the IT industry for dialogues. From observations, there are schools which do not know enough about IT to set up a proper IT infrastructure in the school for the school’s purposes and yet those schools reject industry input.
Second, schools obtained 2 immediate servings of helpful input from the industry. A company called Nextspace funded by the Ministry of Economic Development explained how we can turn data into 3D for visualization and collaboration. Another company based in Norway and Singapore called Tandberg Data explained options of server data backup and unveiled some useful options that schools did not otherwise know.
Third, Compucon New Zealand gave a 2 hour lecture to 40 Year 12 and 13 students on the next day on how the computer can extend the reach of the human body. The seminar helped senior students understand the roles of computers and inspired them to be more engaged in ICT developments. The above collectively is a healthy start.