Last week I was in Sydney, attending the K-12 National Congress for Technology in Education. A major discussion point at the congress was the impact of ultra-fast broadband, and the ways in which schools need to be thinking about how they prepare themselves to be able to take advantage of this when it arrives at their door. The Congress coincided with the switching on of the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) at the first site on mainland Australia in Armidale in NSW.

In her speech at that event Prime Minister Julia Gillard claimed that “switching on the NBN on mainland Australia will offer unprecedented opportunities.” Just what those opportunities may be remain a matter of conjecture – not because there aren’t any, but because imaging what they may be will require a lot of ‘out of the box’ thinking, and the bringing together of ideas and understandings from a range of perspectives that are ‘future focused’, and not simply thinking about doing the same things faster.

The inaugural Nethui 2011 being held at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre, from 29 June to 1 July  will provide New Zealanders with an opportunity to participate in such discussions as we anticipate the roll-out of ultrafast broadband in New Zealand. Keynote speaker at the event is Harvard University Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig, widely known in the global Internet community as a vocal proponent of reduced legal restrictions on digital copyright, and a champion of notions of ‘fair use’ and ‘free culture’.

NetHui will bring together all those involved with Internet issues in New Zealand in a streamed event format covering Access & Diversity, Digital Citizenship, Governance & Legal, Government & Openness, Innovation & Emerging Issues, and Education.

My CORE colleague, Douglas Harre and I will be facilitating the Education stream at this hui, in which the following topics will be discussed.

  • Teaching the teachers
  • The changing nature of education provision
  • Building a national education network (NEN)
  • Ubiquity in learning
  • The ‘data’ explosion

Registration for this event is only $30 as it is being highly subsidised to make it accessible to as many people as possible to attend. I encourage educators from across the sector to consider attending this event to take the opportunity to contribute to the education stream discussions, and to learn from what those on other sectors are thinking about as we prepare for a world of ultra fast broadband.

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