Buying into a high-tech future

November 2011


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Thoughts of “genius” and “gifted” fluttered through my mind as I recently watched our daughter, just turned one, successfully operate our iPod nano. After sharing this revelation (as nonchalantly as possible) with friends also blessed/burdened with one-year-olds, I was swiftly brought back down to earth; it would appear that babies and toddlers are generally very adept at grasping the concepts of new technology. This prompted me to look more into the issue. How much is technology ingrained into our early childhood education curriculum? And is it wise to expose children to technology at such a young age? Kidicorp offer interesting insights on the subject in the article ‘Toddlers and technology’.

The rest of this issue stemmed from there. News and research concerning technology, and particularly its relevance to the education sector, is generated as quickly as the technology itself, or so it would seem. In this issue we journey down to Christchurch for a taste of the amazing research and innovation coming out of the HIT Lab NZ (think robots and the like). We also explore the extent to which social media can be used to map the moods of a nation – invaluable information for the modern advertiser. And given the frenzy around Rugby World Cup 2011, it seemed only polite to consider the current and future technological implications for the game with the odd-shaped ball.

It is plain to see that technology and procurement are closely linked. Schools have all sorts of purchasing decisions to make and we take a closer look at a variety of things schools can spend their money on to enhance the environment for students and teachers alike. Soundfield amplification for classrooms, wireless networks and videoconferencing systems are among those discussed in this issue. We delve into the debate on compulsory technology for students and are fortunate to gain an insight into the decisions of four quite different New Zealand schools on their ICT procurement policies, and views on one-to-one ratios of device per student. Troy Smith’s research on how schools are spending the technological dollar should also prove to be useful for many readers.

Beyond ICT, we look at other aspects of procurement. We talk to Melanie Taylor, principal of the newly-built Golden Sands Primary School in Papamoa, for her experience and advice on how to make money go further in outfitting a new classroom. With the recent marine oil spill placing Papamoa in the world media spotlight, we also take a closer look at this rapidly-growing suburb and consider how education factors into the overall strategy for dealing with local population growth.

New Zealand’s new Procurement Academy has taken a high profile, with experts offering training and courses to help organisations make purchasing decisions. We are lucky to have leaders of the academy put together a “dummies’ guide” to spending, which will hopefully be a useful reference for schools and businesses alike. 

I would like to encourage readers to pop online and have their say on any of these articles in this jam-packed issue dedicated to procurement and technology. Similarly, please get in touch if you have a topic you would like to see discussed in any of the themed issues of New Zealand Education Review for 2012.


Jude Barback, editor