There have been some recent questions about our Internet@Home project. This was originally developed to support Te Kura (The Correspondence School) students who required a computer and an internet connection to participate in some Te Kura online courses. For qualifying students, Te Kura provided a refurbished laptop computer and we offered to provide training for parents and access to a subsidised internet connection using our automatic payment scheme – we would be using the same systems as for Computers in Homes families, but the internet subsidy would be paid by Te Kura instead of the Ministry of Education.
The concept seemed good, but in reality it simply didn’t work. We are not sure exactly why it didn’t work but a contributing factor could well have been the complexity of the engagement process.
Our fall-back position has been to welcome Te Kura families as part of local Computers in Homes programmes. We suggest they choose a laptop and unlike other families who don’t receive their computers until they have completed training, we have allowed Te Kura families to ‘take home’ their laptops from the very start of the programme. In some cases we have organised special compressed training sessions, as families can live some hours away from training centres. In other cases, families have used their laptop and internet connection to join in scheduled training by Skype.
We try not to say “no” to any family with a Te Kura – enrolled student and be flexible enough to bridge the gap that is preventing the student from participating in the online courses – whether this be parent training, computer hardware or internet connectivity, or any combination of these.
We have also encountered a situation with a family with a number of children (including a Te Kura student) and while there is a computer in the home, it is not readily available for use by the Te Kura student. We have agreed to accept this family onto the Computers in Homes programme so that they can procure another device for use by the Te Kura student as well as get access to a subsidised internet connection.
So, please welcome Te Kura families whenever they approach you and find out how we can help. Please list their ‘school’ as Te Kura and keep us informed abou tthe sort of support they need.