Te Kura is closer to becoming New Zealand’s first Community of Online Learning (CooL) with the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill’s third and final reading in Parliament.
As New Zealand’s state distance education provider, Te Kura is well prepared for the transition and says it welcomes being a school that students can choose to enrol with.
Te Kura board chair Dame Karen Sewell says, “To provide learning to all who need it we need to create new ways to learn and new skills, outside traditional learning spaces. High quality online learning uses technology as a tool to help provide learning programmes that address learner’s personal needs.
It’s a medium, it doesn’t guarantee learning, that’s where the overall education approach is crucial and Te Kura delivers that.”
Te Kura, formerly the New Zealand Correspondence School, has a long tradition of adapting to meet the needs of the New Zealand school system. The school has focussed on providing quality learning for those students who may otherwise be underserved by the education system and for students seeking more flexible learning options.
Chief executive Mike Hollings says, “With our large and diverse student roll we have had to be innovative, flexible and able to individualise our teaching and learning to every student; one size definitely does not fit all.”In 2015, Te Kura implemented a strategy to move from being a paper-based distance education provider to delivering courses online for most of its 23,000 students by 2018.
Mike Hollings says this shift has opened up a wealth of teaching and learning opportunities. It’s enabling Te Kura’s students to collaborate more with one another and interact more with their teachers. It’s also giving Te Kura students essential technology skills for the wider world.
Before this move to delivering courses online, the school went through a big change of locating more teaching staff in regional offices to enable more face-to-face meetings with students, and to develop local connections. The teacher remains crucial in facilitating the learning for each student.