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Labour addressing digital divide

Written By: - Date published: 11:24 am, July 5th, 2014 - 135 comments
Categories: education, labour, schools - Tags:

25cSince 1976, I’ve been living on one side of the digital divide. That was the year that by biology teacher, Graham Bean at Mt Albert let me play on his HP25C with its 49 programming steps and a moon-lander program. It was an instant addiction, and I started learning to program by adjusting that damn game.

DEC11 70A few years later I was at the University of Waikato doing a BSc in Earth Sciences. They had a DEC1170 with about 50 dumb terminals scattered across campus. When I wasn’t involved with the immediate needs of passing the courses and paying the bill, I was hacking my way into the system to play multiuser star trek (and having my first experience of digital communication) and learning to program in a number of languages. I had this habit of turning up and sitting in so many compsci lectures that many thought that was my major. But eventually I went into management.

ibmpcatEventually I went into programming after discovering a IBM PC Lab while doing the University of Otago MBA in 1985-6 and getting addicted to a computer I could actually afford to own, and so could every business in the country. A few years later I did and so did they.

Hayes_300_Baud_Smartmodem_02My first computer immediately got hooked to BIX so I could find out things that I couldn’t get books or magazines for. In my opinion, the internet kicked off big time because the magazines and books were so slow. Programmers really needed to be able to access current information.

Now nearly 30 years later that is still where I work, play, learn and frequently socialise. I have friends with whom I am in contact world wide. I have the general knowledge base of humanity at my fingertips and I use it all of the time.

I was extremely fortunate to have those opportunities when I was a kid. At the grand age of 55, I’ve been near to the bleeding edge of technology since I was a kid. And that is the key.

If you start kids easily accessing information to follow their interests early enough then they keep doing it. It needs to be something different to the phones, which in my experience with kids, mainly get used for socialising. You need the larger screen format to get deep into wikipedia pages, the pages written by the obsessed experts worldwide, or even the media pages.

It really doesn’t matter if kids are writing their essays based on a searches or if they digging out the secrets about how to win at their favourite game. The trick is to get them used to finding information out themselves. Once they learn that trick, then they will keep doing it.

That is where Labour’s policy “Education for the 21st century” comes in. There are several things of note in the policy. But what stands out for me is the deliberate intent to make sure that all kids wind up with a personal network capable device both at school and home, and access to the net. At present we don’t. Much of the “voluntary” donations in schools is for computer equipment that kids need to learn from, but is not paid for by the state funding of schools.

I still learn from my computers connecting to everything worldwide. I work on businesses where most of the value is in the knowledge we push into the code. We export them worldwide, as much over the net as we do by shipping hardware. My partner runs a side-business selling the documentary that she produced in 2011 to educational institutions worldwide. I have farmer friends who come home after a days work and research their new practices in the evening on their pads.

We live in a age of information. It is time to start to educate them to access it a lot earlier. That is how we develop the productive adaptable adults who I need to help pay for my retirement

 

135 comments on “Labour addressing digital divide”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Gosh I remember Graham Bean from my teaching days…….. wonderful man RIP.

    • lprent 1.1

      He sure was. A nutter on cricket, but despite that he taught a lot of kids how to learn and think.

      You could tell from the massive turnout when he died.

  2. Ant 2

    I think for actual learning in the classroom the utility of tablets (and all that) can be often overstated, but as a way to make sure all kids have access to technology, and more importantly the flow of information that technology allows you to access, as a normal feature of their everyday lives is great.

    They need internet access though…

    • lprent 2.1

      One part of the policy is to make sure that they have net access at home.

      • Ant 2.1.1

        Yeah, but to me that bit of the policy sounded a bit more fluffy/pie in the sky than the tablet aspects of it.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          Isn’t net access a bit less under the realms of public policy than provisions in state schools? Because it involves private, corporate entities that control the ISPs and international cables that enable net access?

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            There are growing movements to declare internet access a human right. Also I think the Internet Mana Party would have something to say on the concept of publicly-provided internet access.

            • just saying 2.1.1.1.1.1

              In order to cross the divide there needs to be access and hardware in every home – including in households that don’t have children.

              • Lanthanide

                Realistically with the price of an entry-level tablet these days ($99 at The Warehouse, and believe I’ve seen some for ~$70 on 1-day, some for $65 on TradeMe), a device is accessible for any house without kids that particularly wants one. Sure, it might take 20 weeks to save $5/week to get one, but the thing is they’re accessible.

                The problem is the internet connection. Cheapest broadband I can find is $55/month. $10.50/month for dialup with 30 hours or $15/month for unlimited, but dial-up barely counts as internet these days IMO, and a dial-up modem is highly unlikely to also do wifi so you’d need another device on top, and then the knowledge to hook them up and configure them etc.

                • lprent

                  partner with schools, local government and communities to put in place infrastructure that will allow students, particularly those from low-decile schools, who do not currently have internet connections to use their portable devices to access the internet at home.

                  That is in the policy one level down. There are details about the costing in the full policy. Most of the cost after the first year goes in running costs – mostly for net access.

            • karol 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes. And there are growing public wifi provisions.

              Now when I am out and about, I go with my cheap little tablet to a library – especially the central Auckland Library when I am in the CBD, just to use the free wifi.

              But, of course, there’s loads of pressures on Auckland Council spending for such public provisions.

            • Steve 2.1.1.1.1.3

              You need to adjust the tinfoil hat :-) the internet is not a right!

              • Colonial Viper

                A few years ago I would have agreed. And they used to say the same thing about footpaths, water and power, before it was understood that they should be provided as non-profit public utilities.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It will be shortly as everyone needs access to the internet today so that they can utilise everything that our society has to offer.

              • North

                Steve – unless your comment is tongue-in-cheek and the smiley therein is a poke at Mr TinFoilHat whom we see from time to time here, why should out-of-school internet access NOT be fashioned as an as-of-right function in every kids’ education ?

                Reasons please beyond the conceited value judgment of some master of the universe who applauds denial of a foundational tool in kids’ education as a reflection of God’s Order. The master of the universe who sees the frustration and waste of talent and the inequality flowing therefrom as character building or some fucking thing.

                SSlands FizzyAnus Gosman need not apply.

                CV is onto it.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          Most people already have access to a phone line. Turning that into an ADSL line wouldn’t be difficult – it would be easier and cheaper if we still owned the telecommunications network though. In fact, I figure that if we did still own it it would only cost ~$40 per month to connect rather than the $65+ that it actually does. The added price is due to the premium for competition.

          Anyway, it’s not fluffy pie in the sky stuff – just a political decision.

          • Ant 2.1.1.2.1

            Yeah, but installing wireless repeaters everywhere and providing a passable service is a bit fluffy. I’d rather see your idea which seems much more feasible in a shorter timeframe because as you say, the current infrastructure is nearly ubiquitous, say a wireless router/adsl connection and a 5gig allowance to start.

            Make it a condition of a new Kiwishare.

  3. Ron 3

    Good to see you have a Nexus 7 in your collection. By the way why are you not here in Wellington?? In fact there is a dearth of media people

    • lprent 3.1

      I am in wellington. Look for the cold person in black with a blue media ticket and VFL badge….

      • Ron 3.1.1

        Good to see you have a Nexus 7 in your collection. By the way why are you need here in WEllington?? In fact there is a dearth of media people

    • Once was Tim 3.2

      You’d be bloody glad you don’t live in my house then. The attic (until recently) was so full of examples of past technology – including old IBM 3330 & 3350 disk drives; System 360 and 370 front panels and shit that didn’t quite make it to Vic Uni as building decorations (some of which I used to operate and later programme), that bloody great cracks began to appear in the ceiling plaster. Comes a time for a purge (including in my case, a total brain purge) and a bloody great skip, especially when the ceiling is over 100 years old.

      This package from Labour is the sort of thing that might tempt me towards a return to the fold.

      Except (and a bloody great EXCEPT) a commitment to the reinstatement of Public Service broadcasting (including new media), and fixing the public service in general (i.e. its de- corporatisation in toto). If they don’t then all they’ll be achieving is wild swings to the left and to the right based on short termism and fadism, AND a publica that’s all about I I I me me me.

      They might also need to get rid of one or two insipid little fcukwits at one end of the underminers, bovver boys at the other, and one or two others as well.
      (Maybe next time – if they’re still around)

  4. Lanthanide 4

    I had my first computer at age 5.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    Actually I think this is great because it means Mum & Dad at home will be wired in too – if they can prise it out of junior’s hands and get a few non condescending lessons from the smaller ones. I see early bedtimes in many young ones futures because playing with their gear and games is what you do after hours.

    • lprent 5.1

      Have you ever tried to get the devices away from kids? They sleep with them… My 3year old great nephew has a my old iPad one with a cracked screen. He won’t let me touch it in case I want it back….

      • RedBaronCV 5.1.1

        Old age and cunning Lprent. You require them to place it carefully beside the bed and then after they are asleeep ……. and when you tell him when he is 20 something he’ll take your beer away..

  6. just saying 6

    You see the digital divide in public libraries in South Auckland.

    At the library nearest my Mum’s place there is a queue to use the computers from the time the library opens until it closes it’s doors. This despite the librarians regularly biffing off anyone playing games for more than ten minutes.
    You can book a spot a few days in advance, but still wait for people to hastily finish off what they are doing, things often that they need to do. The computers are crammed so close that there is absolutely no privacy – poeple write emails that can be read by their neighbours, conduct business and internet date, search for medical information etc. all without a shred of the dignity of personal privacy.

    Big communities of people whose lives never seem to be represented by the media other than in policing-porn tv shows.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      “Big communities of people whose lives never seem to be represented by the media other than in policing-porn tv shows.”

      Yeah, I started making a comment about this once before on The Standard but couldn’t formulate it in an appropriate way so abandoned it.

      The people we typically see on TV probably only represent 20% of the population, if that. You just have to watch TV 1 News “Good sorts” on Sundays, and also those “finding lost family member” shows to get glimpses of people and communities that otherwise never show up on TV in anything resembling a good light.

    • karol 6.2

      Yes. And Auckland libraries are going more to providing free wifi to cater for the demand for net access. That means more people needing to provide their own hardware. If you go into Auckland central Library there’s people using the limited number of library computers available, and loads of others around the place on their laptops and tablets.

      West Auckland also gets queues of people waiting to use the library computers – and with very little privacy.

      • Lanthanide 6.2.1

        When I went to the Wellington Central library last year during my holiday visit, at 2pm on a weekday the place was crammed full with dozens of people using tablets and laptops using the wifi. I couldn’t get a stable signal on my phone and the speed kept dropping below 1 MBps, so I couldn’t connect to it at all.

    • greywarbler 6.3

      Why can’t some of the empty shops around towns be rented on a month to month basis and the computers that are a bit slow and being dumped be set up and used there. Bring your own folding stool, trestles provided. People could go there and have some time, half an hour, some space, more than an arm’s length, some privacy, people in line with numbers for fairness, sit at the side not behind others. Council’s could oversee this, with some government funding also, making arrangements with real estate agents for suitable premises, repair and replacements, supervision etc.

      In libraries they could give locals first go on computers at libraries at certain times of the day, say after school. There are a lot of foreign visitors using our library services, good for them, but for a two-tier country like NZ there can be a large demand from poor locals. The Middle Europe of the South Pacific!

      • Lanthanide 6.3.1

        “Why can’t some of the empty shops around towns be rented on a month to month basis and the computers that are a bit slow and being dumped be set up and used there.”

        No one’s stopping you from setting up such an initiative.

        Generally the private sector only do things that result in profit. The venture you have outlined does not sound profitable.

        • greywarbler 6.3.1.1

          @Lanthanide
          I’m just putting it up as an idea that authorities could start. I haven’t the ability or time to do this – I’m not a funded trust FGS. If you know so much why don’t you do it.

          • Lanthanide 6.3.1.1.1

            “I’m just putting it up as an idea that authorities could start. I haven’t the ability or time to do this – I’m not a funded trust FGS. If you know so much why don’t you do it.”

            Why are you thinking I can do it? I simply pointed out there’s nothing stopping you from doing it, if you really felt it was necessary.

            The reason the “authorities” don’t do it is because they don’t see the reward as being worth the expense. Libraries only have limited numbers of computers because their budgets are only so big, and they aren’t primarily computer providers.

  7. Jenny 7

    This is what we need. This will not only be a boon to science and the economy, it will be a boon to democracy.

    As the bible says: “Man (woman) does not live by bread alone….”

    Closing the digital divide, is an issue which will become as vital as housing and income.

    Give me liberty or give me death, was the rallying cry of The Enlightenment.

    The human impulse for freedom and democracy, to have a say in the running of our world and not be kept in ignorance and isolation from each, and at the mercy of remote central and uncaring authority. At times in history this desire for freedom and democracy has even overriden people’s desire for food and shelter.

    Give me liberty or give me death, was the rallying cry of The Enlightenment.

    Closing the digital divide will empower the next generation. Just as the printing press and universal literacy gave birth to modern democracy, this empowerment will further weaken centralised power which removed one or two steps from the people, always gets monopolised by the powerful and vested interest.

    The sooner this universal empowerment happens the better, because we are in a race against the destruction of civilisation that sustains such technology from the needs of vested interest which unconstrained will destroy civilisation undoing the the work of eons of human progress.

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    This is the winning policy – game over for the right

    • North 8.1

      Observe the sense of satisfaction expressed on the face of a young one who assists an older one (me) to navigate/restore lost settings on my computer/smartphone. A young one immediately acquitted as a ‘contributor’ in a real world. And a plea to run through it again but not so quickly this time…….to educate me…….even more pronounced.

      Bugger…….we must watch this. Absence of an underclass…….NOOOOO !

  9. Jrobin 9

    Great interview with Paddy Gower by Cunliffe on the Nation too. This education policy may make the difference the left parties need. The digital divide is a huge barrier, keeping inequality in place, so well done Labour. What a relief to hear Cunliffe rubbishing National Standards, league tables and Charter schools. It reminds you that there is an outside of the Teamkey “reality” and ……What a nightmare this govt. has been! You do get desensitised to their short term stupidity and selfishness, but this is a pleasanter reminder of what Government can achieve if well motivated.

  10. dv 10

    I have a endearing memory of my 6 year old granddaughter searching on google for information on the planets (i think) for a school project.

  11. hellonearthis 11

    Well said and I managed to share this post on Google+

  12. DH 12

    IMO what’s needed most for schools is something along the lines of what Rod Drury was saying about the country needing a tech kingpin, only they need a bunch of people covering all the disciplines.

    Schools are spending enormous sums on IT, few of them really know what they’re doing with it. They all know they need to teach ‘computers’, they’ve all got different ideas on what that means.

    Govt needs to step in and establish some uniformity & standardisation across all schools. Perhaps also bring software development and systems & networks into the curriculum, establish more focussed courses on certain applications for those who will be using computers rather than taking up a career in them. There’s a lot of work needing done.

    There’s a huge amount of waste in the present system, I’d estimate many schools blow a good half of what they spend on ill-considered fruitless exercises.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Nah, in general, Drury’s idea for a Chief Technology Officer for the country is more of the failed top-down corporatisation of government.

      If you want NZ to become a technology leader, you open source and decentralise everything, including platforms and funding. Build the influence of grassroots developers and start up entrepreneurs. Not a top down “tsar” who is inevitably going to centralise both decision making and budgets, and end up listening to Microsoft and big hedge fund managers more than the little guy.

      • hellonearthis 12.1.1

        Hopefully it would be a professional appointed to the job of Chief Technology Office and not some croney appointment. Having someone skilled in geek might have overrated the NoVapay problems and other such IT disasters. It think it would be a good idea and who says it would not support of open source over proprietary software purchases from the likes of Microsoft and Oracle.

  13. ropata 13

    Still plenty of people who don’t email, don’t have a CV, don’t know how to use Word and Excel. I remember how it felt to learn a new program, it would be bewildering and challenging for a non tech person

    • lprent 13.1

      Tell me about it. I have trained them in courses, trained them in my family including my parents, and just help people over those first hurdles. But it is hard for adults.

      Whereas kids are frightening in how fast they go from giving them a hand, to when they start helping me out. Always makes me feel old.

      • ropata 13.1.1

        yup, my Dad gets (even more) grumpy with technology, tends to lose his temper and break it :)
        He hates his android phone, but has been known to write emails and autobiographical essays in Word.

        Interestingly I read a piece about a Linux guy who starts his adult classes off with teaching them to use the command line. The interface could not be simpler, and it is pure linear logic, unlike the randomly triggered events of today’s GUI

        • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1

          “unlike the randomly triggered events of today’s GUI”

          To be successful at learning to use computers, you have to experiment. If you don’t experiment, you won’t learn. Of course the downside is where you “do something bad and can’t work out how to undo it”.

          Strange that you’d find a command line easier to get to grips with than a GUI. Of course GUIs are more complex, but they’re also far far more discoverable (well, except for Windows 8) and allow people to experiment and try things out. In a command line, if you don’t know something exists, it’s pretty laborious trying to discover it and almost all of the time you’d end up with an outside source telling you the answer (man page, internet page, class tutor).

          • ropata 13.1.1.1.1

            Maybe, but I still like the concept, and with Google (and windows 8 Search) we have come back to the trusty old text input method. Much more precise and users feel in control.

            The Command Line – The Best Newbie Interface?

            It was noted by the users that the CLI was less confusing because “not everything is on the screen at once”. The CLI allows the user to concentrate on one task at a time and they were happy not to have interruptions from other tasks. The users reported that with a GUI they were always getting distracted by having to swap between the mouse and keyboard and click carefully less they bring up the wrong window and interrupt what they were doing.

            • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Exactly. For a certain group of hardcore users, the command line remains the interface of choice for certain tasks. And there are lots of little add ons available to increase the power of the CLI even further.

  14. karol 14

    There’s an apparently successful project being run in some South Auckland decile 1 schools, where children are provided with low cost netbooks and 24/7 internet access.

    In Glen Innes, long written off as ghettos of poverty and crime, children are reaching national norms in reading, writing and mathematics. In the decile-1 schools children are rampaging through the national syllabus before the year is out and teachers are coming up with new and innovative ways of teaching.

    It has been done with a charitable trust that, with parents, has come up with a way for every kid to have a computer notebook and eventually 24/7 access to high speed wireless.

    ”It is a big change in the way teaching is done,” says Pat Snedden, chairman of the $4.5 million public, philanthropic and commercially funded Manaiakalani Education Trust.

    ”One of the poorest communities in New Zealand has decided to be one of the biggest investors in their own kids.”

    While middle class families angst over school computer technology, Tamaki has done it for themselves.

    By year’s end 2500 children will have their own laptops and Google Document account.

    It is not free; parents have to pay a deposit of $40 for the laptops, and $15 a month to cover the $580 cost.

    It’s a lot to ask from among the nation’s poorest families – although they save by not having much of a stationary bill, just $8 a year.

    ”We have not had a single turn down by any parent in the area in the process of signing up the netbooks.”

    • lprent 14.1

      The Manaiakalani Education Trust is the model for this program. As you say, it is clear that it works.

    • KiwiDeb 14.2

      ” It has been done with a charitable trust that, with parents, has come up with a way for every kid to have a computer notebook and eventually 24/7 access to high speed wireless.”

      This was done by the schools (ie principals of the schools), in partnership with the parents, who established the Trust. Quite a different ownership of IP and vision…..

  15. Colonial Viper 15

    lprent. You used to be able to tinker in BASIC on a VIC 20 or Commodore 64. Learn about logic, commands, variables, storing them, changing them, processing them, displaying them.

    But an iPad or Android tablet? It’s just an appliance, like a toaster oven. The things are designed so that a 70 year old who has never touched a computer before in their life can get on it and start using them, intuitively with just a bit of guidance. Sorta a like a toaster. Yes you’ll get access to more information and communication etc. But learning what’s under the hood is a totally different matter and is the difference between being able to sort out your ’82 Civic at home in the garage and trying the same thing with a 2014 Civic.

    • Lanthanide 15.1

      “But an iPad or Android tablet? It’s just an appliance, like a toaster oven.”

      An appliance that runs apps, like this one:
      https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tynker-learn-programming-visual/id805869467?mt=8

      And true, you can’t create programs on ipads or iphones to run of themselves, but the flipside is you can create far more useful and creative programs these days to run on those devices than you could with a green screen and 80 characters.

    • lprent 15.2

      Yeah, but we aren’t trying to get them to program. Some will, most won’t.

      What we need to train them in is seeking information. So hard if you’re having to do it manually. So easy if you have a tablet and net access.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.3

      You used to be able to tinker in BASIC on a VIC 20 or Commodore 64.

      I remember programming on those things but my first programming was on the schools Apple IIe. My first computer was a PB-100 bought with money from the milk run I did.

      But an iPad or Android tablet? It’s just an appliance, like a toaster oven.

      Don’t kid yourself.

  16. dimebag russell 16

    ok.
    plug them in and turn them on.
    design programmes that engage them.
    hot and hip.

  17. Mark 17

    [deleted]

    [lprent: Off topic. Banned until after the election. Read the about to answer your query about unionists. The policy about why you are banned – basically for stupidity. ]

    • Lanthanide 17.1

      :roll:

      B for effort. Generally well-constructed sentences, usually good spelling and grammar.
      D- for content. Repetitive, undeveloped argument with no new ideas.

    • anker 17.2

      Mark @17 I am a labour Party member and run my own (successful) business, so I am not sure what you are talking about.

      JK might be “popular” but hell so was Muldoon!!! More so than Kirk who at one stage was only polling 6% popularity. IMO one of NZ’s great PM.

  18. Pete 18

    The One Laptop Per Child project has been going since 2005, so this is not a new idea, just a very good one which is long overdue. There was a great keynote about this kind of issue at Nethui last year – http://www.r2.co.nz/20130709/russell-b.htm

    It’s going to take a lot more than just having these tools, though. Teachers are going too have to learn how best to integrate them into their teaching and the resources both online and the apps and programs at hand will have to be developed. But think about how this could be tailored to individual kids. Analytics could help identify what content they respond to and adjust accordingly. Heck, they’ll be saved the hassle of hauling kilos of textbooks back and forth to school. This is exciting stuff.

  19. karol 19

    Again the South Auckland scheme is already doing that. Take a look at some of the output from students in the Manaiakalani project.

    • KiwiDeb 19.1

      This is NOT a South Auckland scheme. Manaiakalani is nestled between St Heliers, Remuera and Pakuranga in EAST Auckland.

  20. ianmac 20

    Teaching has to adapt and this is hard work. The Question is the answer. If kids are allowed to capitalise on their innate curiosity and have the skills and means to carry out research then classrooms will look very different. Alongside this they have to learn about the credibility of the information retrieved and how to process it and then evaluate.

    Sadly some teachers have been intimidated by a Government policy of accountability and narrow expectations. National Standards for example. Take a risk and modify what has seemed to work for generations? Pretty hard.
    Sadly if someone from a hundred years ago stepped into a present classroom they would recognise exactly what was going on. Different tools perhaps but same process.

    I like the quote that: “Children are not vases waiting to be filled, but fires waiting to be lit.”

    A friend of mine is a tutor for post grad studies. One Principal decided to gather data on how many and what sort of questions (enquiring mind) were going on in her classrooms.
    She was baffled. After 6 X 1 hour observation sessions, not one child-question was asked.

  21. hellonearthis 21

    For $100 +monitor ($100) you could buy a Raspberry Pi computer. They are great for educational needs like programming, web interaction, art, electronic and educational games (like minecraft).

    Tablets are overrated especially the over priced iPads, Android devices can do the same educational tasks for way less money.

    Gone are the days when classroom computers would cost $1000’s of dollars.

  22. red blooded 22

    A great policy. I know our school has spent many thousands on class sets of netbooks and laptops, and we provide access after school too, but we can’t give kids the machines to take home, and that can make quite a difference.

    There are still details to be worked out (Who owns the machine? Who fixes it if it gets broken? What about teens who leave school partway through the year – do they keep or return it?…) but this will go a long way towards creating a more inclusive educational system.

    Side note – kids are becoming less and less comfortable thinking into pens (as opposed to keyboards) and they find it physically uncomfortable to write for an extended period. Handwriting is getting worse and any kids are very slow. So what? Well, with the greater digitisation that’s being endorsed by this policy, surely it’s time to look again at our requirements for kids sitting exams. At present, exams are handwritten. It would be hard to set-up a programme for exams that avoided the cheating opportunities, but surely not impossible? Just a thought.

  23. I don’t want to be a downer because I agree with the concept of giving children access to information via the net. I homeschool and the computer is essential. My son is 6.5 and he knows quite a bit about getting on the computer but he has one advantage at the moment, an advantage that is his greatest protection on the net – he can’t read well and therefore he can’t be accessed by sexual predators. I went to a child protection seminar the other day and one presenter said that there were 8 and 9, even younger kids, with a facebook page??? And the parents weren’t even their friend!!! I haven’t read the policy and I hope this is all covered – the teaching of young people how to create a protective layer around themselves on the net. As protectors of these children it is our job to make sure they know how to protect themselves and as parents and caregivers we must really work with the children to make sure that if and when something happens they can seek help or know what to do. Having a loving trusting relationship with our son is the key idea at this stage, and keeping up to speed with what is going on on the net.

    • hellonearthis 23.1

      To be eligible to sign up for Facebook, you must be at least 13 years old. If a school is letting kids under that age use facebook then they are breaking facebook’s terms and conditions.

      • marty mars 23.1.1

        Yep, sorry, must have got the ages wrong.

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.2

        Given that FaceBook apparently has tens of millions of fake profiles, I don’t think they really enforce their T&Cs that hard. And having more user profiles makes their stock look more valuable.

  24. hellonearthis 24

    I would have like to see Labour come out with Bigger class rooms but with two teachers per classroom. Having two teachers per classroom would greatly improve the quality of teaching and teachers as new Teachers could learn from experienced ones and the news ones could also update the older teachers on new ideas in teaching (modern geek skills).

    A well educated population if the foundation of a profitable society.

  25. dave 25

    rasberry PI

  26. North 26

    So when I read that Labour is gonna facilitate kids having laptops/tablets at school AND at home and then I read Nikki Kaye say broad brush that Labour’s ideas are old hat –

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10236242/Labour-education-ideas-already-in-place-says-National

      – and then I’m told that presently kids DON’T have the laptop/tablet scenario Labour talks about – can I say that Nikki Kaye is a snotty lying little prick who needs to be slapped down for her lies ?

    I’d have used a different last word in the term “lying little prick” but the sky might have fallen in so I’ll just KNOW it. With a capital buzzy bee. Disgusting ugly minded little power freak ! Entitlement from arsehole to breakfast time.

    • Anne 26.1

      … can I say that Nikki Kaye is a snotty lying little prick who needs to be slapped down for her lies ?

      +1000

      When the entitled little so and so (how I would like to have your courage North and call her what I would really like to call her) first arrived on the political scene it was there for anyone with any nous to see.

      Does anyone remember the televised debate she had with Jacinda Ardern in the 2008 campaign – I think it was 2008? She behaved like a Crosby/Textor trained shrew… shouted over the top of Jacinda and was vindictive and bullying. In contrast, Jacinda was calm, mature and dignified. It was so obvious who was the superior personality and I thought Jacinda would romp home after that performance but no… the voters in their selfishness and apathy went for the nasty bully.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        Although it seems according to reports that Kaye does a heck of a lot of ground work in her electorate…

        • Anne 26.1.1.1

          Oh sure CV, she does the hard yards but its all for her personal advancement. The moment she stops being the member for Auckland Central she won’t care a rat’s a—e about any of them. She’s learnt her politics well at her lord and master, John Key’s knees.

    • Pete 26.2

      Given the focus on violence against women over the past couple of days, “slapped down” is an unfortunate choice of words. Can I suggest “censured”, “rebuked” or even “called out on her bullshit” instead?

      • Anne 26.2.1

        Pete, I didn’t take it that way. And I’m sure North didn’t mean it that way.

  27. dave 27

    http://www.raspberrypi.org/15000-raspberry-pis-for-uk-schools-thanks-google/

    its not hard to do a raspberry pi costs $40

    lets hope they give Microsoft the boot as well open source the program all the way let them loose on Linux without copyright restrictions

    • hellonearthis 27.1

      It’s closer to $200 once you add a monitor, power supply, sd card, mouse, keyboard, case and wifi.

      I really like the Pi (I have 2) but Tables are cheaper. $60nz delivered can get you a 7.0″ Dual-core Android 4.2 Tablet PC w/ 512MB RAM, 4GB ROM, Wi-Fi

      The cost of that and the savings in ebooks would pay for these devices.

  28. finbar 28

    OFF course Labours progressive education,gee the wains a computer in the class room,is more compassion than the other fence,of afford or ignorance.Labour are starting to grasp the the bastard thistle of human care unlike the platitudes of social care.

  29. Rodel 29

    Funny how the slick Tories have no intelligent or even smart-arse comments on the topic of this post..Too hard for them to grasp..dumb?

    • BM 29.1

      What’s there to grasp?
      Computers are great but they’re not the be all and end all.

      • hellonearthis 29.1.1

        Ture, but there is nothing that is the be all and end all.
        Having tablet computers would be access to ebook that schools can’t normally afford or access.
        The cost of some text books alone are more than the cost of a cheap tablet let alone the cost of half a dozen text books and journals.
        This will be a great chunk of the be all and end all of school books and journals.

        • BM 29.1.1.1

          Why tablets?, personally I think tablets are just an e- reader with a few more bells and whistles.

          If you were going to go down this path, note books/lap tops offer so much more than a tablet.

          Also was labour using the word ipad in a generic sense or are they actually serious about giving all school kids ipads,.

          • Draco T Bastard 29.1.1.1.1

            personally I think tablets are just an e- reader with a few more bells and whistles.

            That’s possibly because you’re totally unimaginative:

            http://www.slashgear.com/flykly-smart-bicycle-wheel-made-for-fixies-works-with-ios-android-and-pebble-16301669/
            https://preyproject.com/blog/2012/09/amazing-ingenuity-using-prey-to-track-your-bicycle

            If you were going to go down this path, note books/lap tops offer so much more than a tablet.

            To be honest, I don’t think that’s true any more and pads are more portable.

            Also was labour using the word ipad in a generic sense or are they actually serious about giving all school kids ipads,.

            I sometimes wonder that too. There’s no way that the government should be using anything from Apple as it locks them in to using the proprietary format that ends up costing more. Same with Windows.

            • Colonial Viper 29.1.1.1.1.1

              There’s no way that the government should be using anything from Apple as it locks them in to using the proprietary format that ends up costing more. Same with Windows.

              Especially with all the taxes Apple pays in NZ, eh /sarc

            • BM 29.1.1.1.1.2

              I agree, Apple are complete arseholes, the way they run their company it’s like they’re stuck in the 1980’s.
              This my way or the high way approach to business is total bullshit, even microsoft has learnt from this and moved on from that sort of wankiness.

              IT and government, why is it always such a fuck up?

              Also I’m a very imaginative individual, but I’ve learnt to temper my ideas with practicality.

              • Colonial Viper

                Also I’m a very imaginative individual, but I’ve learnt to temper my ideas with practicality.

                Thanks for clearing that up, I was wondering what was causing your moral and intellectual constipation.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I agree, Apple are complete arseholes, the way they run their company it’s like they’re stuck in the 1980′s.

                Probably closer to the 1880s.

                Also I’m a very imaginative individual, but I’ve learnt to temper my ideas with practicality.

                And yet you can’t think of anything useful to do with a smart phone/pad other than use it as an e-book reader?

                IT and government, why is it always such a fuck up?

                From what I can make out it’s because they don’t have a dedicated IT department to supply all their needs and thus run off to the private sector with less than adequate knowledge about IT and the private sector over sells what they can do. End result is a fuck-up.

          • lprent 29.1.1.1.2

            I have a $30 bluetooth keyboard for my nexus 7. Nice thing about it is that when connected i have a whole screen.

            But I usually do most of my work on this site from my nexus.

            But I suspect that they are mainly thinking about netbooks.

  30. fisiani 30

    Tricky Tricky Davy Cunliffe lies again re free ipads . Always check the small print. We’ve learned to do this time and time again.

    For those schools that opt in, the policy would require parents to pay about $3.50 a week to pay off the cost of the device, estimated at about $600 each – and the Government would put in a $100 kickstart payments. The device would belong to the child after it was paid off.

    Why can Cunliffe never be straight up? Why gild the lilly?
    Who is writing his speeches? Are the ABC saboteurs hard at work.

    • Draco T Bastard 30.1

      He didn’t say that they were free you schmuck.

    • North 30.2

      You know FizzyAnus even the National Party thinks you’re an embarrassing fuck. Overheard at the National Party Godference –

      “Wind it up and let it go……OMG…….look at the OTT with the ‘tricky’ number. OK it’s all part of the script but you know…….intimations of Kool Aid……not good.”

      “Yes, I’d be careful with that one…….it’s a bit, well let’s say……. ‘exuberant’. Fukn idiot !”

      Facepalm everywhere.

  31. Rodel 31

    Why can Key never be straight up? Why gild the lilly?
    Who is writing his speeches? Are the English saboteurs hard at work.

  32. fisiani 32

    In short Labour will save you $100 off donations BUT you can still be stung for activity fees of $400 and a compulsory computer levy of $600 . Tricky Tricky Davy.

    • Colonial Viper 32.1

      You think that Labour should cover the activity fees as well? Me too.

    • McFlock 32.2

      I you’d read the speech, you’d see it was based on a current programme that charges $3.50 a week:

      Labour anticipates a lower weekly cost because of savings made through bulk purchasing. We will also provide a $100 kick-start to reduce the costs of these vital learning tools. A $5 million hardship fund will be created to help the worst-off families who cannot afford the payments or fall into arrears.

      In other words, it’s you who’s being tricky.
      You lying fuck.

  33. hellonearthis 33

    If Labour are planning on uses Apple iPad then this is a clear example of where a Chief technology office would have been of use. Even an Amazon fire would be a better device and their library of books would be an excellent add on to the tech.

    Better still would be getting a deal with some $60 android system, that would mean when the kids break them, it wont cost a fortune to replace and fix, Using an Android system would also allow access to cloud services, so if the Table dies then the work is still safe.

    For a laptop system then there are chrome books, Google has got some great educational deals/packages. They cost around $230-400 nz and you can get a 3 year warranty for like $100
    And that’s from manufacturers like Acer, Samsung, HP that could provide the service levels needed to support the educational market.

    Google Apps for education is free. http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/education/devices/

    • Lanthanide 33.1

      Yip. Apple iPad is a bad choice all around. I hope this is just for the policy announcement, and when it’s actually implemented they’ll listen to feedback such as yours and buy something more appropriate.

    • Colonial Viper 33.2

      If Labour are planning on uses Apple iPad then this is a clear example of where a Chief technology office would have been of use.

      Plz explain why a $500K dick trying to centralise everything in Wellington is required to decide that going Apple is a bad move. We just did it for free, ffs.

  34. finbar 34

    Techrocrat wet dream.The knowing of our intelegence without doubt is technology.Labour have stole the greeds beleif and tossed it back at them.

    Labour,has these lip service compassion on the ropes of their untruths.Know that.

  35. karol 35

    Well Labour’s policy is leading the debate. This article on Stuff makes a good point about it being important how the technology is used. It over-does the criticism of people jumping on each new technology as if it alone will solve all the problems of human society.

    It completely misses the issue of lessening the digital divide.

  36. Appleboy 36

    Noted Patrick Gower introduced this story last night by saying it was labour’s election bribe. I have put in a broadcasting authority complaint for unfairness in using opinion as fact and that it was politically biased reporting. To contract, I referenced his story on June 29 covering National’s $212 roading policy – where he did not introduce this as a bribe. Quite why Labour’s policy at $27 million is a bribe and National’s $212 million is not I’d like them to explain.

    Typical crap news but time they were forced to deal with it.

    • BM 36.1

      Maybe because labour is pitching it’s policies at people on a individual level.
      It does look like to me, vote for us and we’ll give you some cheap ipads.

      While Nationals roading policies are pitched at everyone not the selected few.

      • Tautoko Viper 36.1.1

        National RONS roading policies do not benefit everyone and in fact are taking money away from public transport projects which would be more beneficial to many more people, (particularly those who do not have firm cars and designated parking spaces incorporated in their salaries.)

        • BM 36.1.1.1

          A hell of a lot more people will get use out of better roading networks then the selected few with their cheap ipads.

          You can’t tell me this policy isn’t pitched at the non voter, “here vote for labour and we’ll give you a gift”.

          I really hate that type of politics.

          • felix 36.1.1.1.1

            Don’t worry your petty little brain over it. John Key says all the non-voters support National.

          • Draco T Bastard 36.1.1.1.2

            A hell of a lot more people will get use out of better roading networks then the selected few with their cheap ipads.

            Really? You think that there’s more truckies than there is children in need?

            You can’t tell me this policy isn’t pitched at the non voter, “here vote for labour and we’ll give you a gift”.

            I really hate that type of politics.

            And yet he’s praising National’s focus on roads. Many of the roads announced in National’s policy would actually have been built years ago – if National hadn’t defunded them. National announcing the funding of them now is a bribe to those electorates.

          • North 36.1.1.1.3

            Sounds like you’re a bit spooked there BM-Tarmac-Whore. This, part of the comment in answer to Steve @ 2.1.1.1.1.3 above

            “…….why should out-of-school internet access NOT be fashioned as an as-of-right function in every kids’ education ? Reasons please beyond the conceited value judgment of some master of the universe who applauds denial of a foundational tool in kids’ education as a reflection of God’s Order. The master of the universe who sees the frustration and waste of talent and the inequality flowing therefrom as character building or some fucking thing.”

            SSlands FizzyAnus Gosman……..need not apply.”

            Anyway BM, who the fuck but you said anything about “then (sic) the selected few with their cheap ipads”. If you’re gonna ‘master of the universe’ all over this site you might have transparently expressed your true point – “squalid, rag-arsed urchins, snotty noses and all…….with their cheap ipads”.

            Sorry I didn’t include you with your mates above. Might have saved you the trouble.

          • KJT 36.1.1.1.4

            Explain, then, why National has been removing funding for local roading networks?

            Over a billion dollars. Then they gave a 5th of that back and all the idiots with short memories start cheering.

            • KJT 36.1.1.1.4.1

              “National cut funding for regional roads by a billion, since they were elected, to pay for their RON’s.

              Now, after our regional roads are stuffed by their trucking industry mates, who pay a fraction of the true costs, they are giving a 5th of that back.

              My, some people have short attention spans”

              • Draco T Bastard

                If the RWNJs had an attention span then they’d realise that National and Act are lying to them.

          • Appleboy 36.1.1.1.5

            Oh my God BM ‘the selected few” you refer to is all kiwi kids! Now I see why the right wing mind is so fucked.

  37. North 37

    Sorry, just a bit more BM but I warn you, stay seated. What if IMP comes up with something seen as pretty much complementary in the ‘cheap ipads’ stakes ?

  38. burt 38

    lprent

    This is getting really silly now, apparently it’s not a free “iPad” at all, the government is wanting to be a finance company.

    David (I’m sorry) Cunnliffe on the nation.

    PG: Let’s turn now and talk policy, education, a policy out today you want every student from intermediate upward to have a tablet, to have an iPod?

    DC: Absolutely, from year 5 to 13 under a Labour led government, every student will have their own personal digital device, it will be subsidised for parents to get into and there’ll be a very low cost payment plan with a hardship fund for those larger families who perhaps couldn’t afford it.

    Yeah, let’s force more parents into borrowing so we can pretend socialism works. Let me guess, just like last time under Labour taxes will be hiked and the nations debt will be reduced while personal debt goes to new record levels – and they will call this prudent all the way into recession like last time.

    This guys a complete tard lprent – you guys have got to sack the twit now.

    • lprent 38.1

      apparently it’s not a free “iPad” at all

      Who apart from a moran like yourself said that it was? Perhaps you need some more education – like learning how to read.

      • burt 38.1.1

        Yeah, that’s right lprent – I need to learn to read because it’s only reading the fine print that tells the story because your muppet leader makes shit up as he goes because in his little socialist brain he thinks that’s what people want to hear.

        • Draco T Bastard 38.1.1.1

          No burt, it’s you making shit up.

        • lprent 38.1.1.2

          You could have fooled me about your ability to read. Where did I say iPad.

          Don’t read the fine print. Just read my post. You know – the post that you just commented on!

          Could you act any more like a illiterate fuckwit? Or much the same thing, a rabid reader of Mr Defamation Cameron Slater.

          • You_Fool 38.1.1.2.1

            Also, from what I can see, a reference to Cunliffe saying that the “iPads” would be free is needed. The quote clearly shows Cunliffe saying that parents will pay for them, I am not sure how that makes it “tricky”. As far as I understand it, and I may be wrong, but it is the media who are using the “free iPads” wording

    • Draco T Bastard 38.2

      Perhaps you should read Piketty where he points out that, through out the last 200+ years, it has been socialism through the mid 20th century that produced the better outcomes. All the rest of the time we saw continual economic collapses and massive poverty.

      • burt 38.2.1

        List all sustainable socialist economies Draco. You could use twitter – plenty of message space in a single tweet to name them all.

        • KJT 38.2.1.1

          New Zealand from 1938. The USA after the new deal, and Sweden, until they all got caught up in the Neo-liberal religion. Then there is Norway, Dane mark and Belgium.

          It must really stick in your craw, BM, that the New Zealand economy is doing so well because of the “hard left” “communists” buying milk powder from a Farmers collective which has, and continues to be, heavily supported by the State and tax payer dollars. Plus “State” and collectivised (Insurance) money going into the rebuild of Christchurch.
          Not to mention the “socialist” tax payer bailouts for private enterprise necessary after the GFC.

          And the most “successful” economies are all successful, with very high levels of State control, regulation and ownership. Singapore, South Korea. China.

        • Draco T Bastard 38.2.1.2

          All of them burt. The economies that aren’t sustainable are capitalist ones as they require continual exponential growth as they reward the rich for being rich.

      • burt 38.2.2

        Draco

        Let’s talk about coal, as a fuel it’s made the most difference to the world in the last 200+ years. It powered our railways, our ships and heating. Without it the progress that’s been made in the last few hundred years would have probably been impossible. Along with other fossil fuels like petrol and diesel coal’s use has increased our quality of life.

        Do we need to keep the use of coal like it was in the good old days or have we moved on and noticed the costs actually outweigh the benefits and we need to find alternatives and reduce our reliance on old ways ?

        • Draco T Bastard 38.2.2.1

          I agree, we need to move on and get rid of unsustainable capitalism.

  39. dimebag russell 39

    you are supposed to have pity for dumb morans!

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