The Education Technology Association of New Zealand (EdTechNZ) is calling on the Ministry of Education to improve software procurement policies and support for schools.
“The Ministry takes a ‘hands-off’ approach to the way that schools acquire software, providing few standards or guidelines and very little by way of financial or training resources," says EdTechNZ chair Evo Leota-Tupou.
"This approach is completely inadequate in our hyperconnected environment with increased cyber risk.
“It is vital that the EdTech community and government work together to create appropriate standards and guidelines to mitigate these risks. In the last few months EdTechNZ and the Ministry have been working together evaluating the Australian ST4S framework for schools.”
Last year, EdTechNZ produced the Aotearoa EdTech Excellence report that highlighted these risks and recommended that the Ministry provide more training and procurement support for teachers and schools.
Report editor and EdTechNZ Council Member Dave Moskovitz adds, “Without training and financial resources, schools can’t use or even afford modern solutions and rely on inexpensive outdated, and/or unmaintained software.
"Some of these insecure solutions come from New Zealand providers, but large overseas providers are not immune either, as shown by recent cyber attacks on government agencies using Microsoft and Citrix technologies," he says.
"A recent report by Internet Safety Labs showed that internationally, 96% of school apps send kids’ personal data to potentially harmful third parties. This isn’t good enough by a long way. Cheap or free overseas software is failing our students.
“By and large, New Zealand learners are best served by well maintained contemporary New Zealand software solutions designed for local conditions and provided by New Zealanders.”
Leota-Tupou says “We say we want our schools and learners to be digitally enabled. But as a country we need to provide the training and resources for them to do that safely.
"As educators we know that a lack of training and resources often results in poor choices. Let’s change that. Let’s support families, schools and teachers to understand how EdTech can have a significant positive impact on a child’s development, particularly in the area of language, literacy and numeracy development.”
The Education Technology Association of New Zealand (EdTechNZ) is the voice of EdTech in New Zealand, supporting the growth of the sector.
Its mission is to improve the lives of people and increase the access to, quality and impact of education through innovative technology, for the benefit of educators and learners in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.