Keynote: FarNet Ten Years on—The Past, Present, and Future for Distance Learners

Carolyn Alexander-Bennett


This think piece by Carolyn Alexander-Bennett is a reflection of her keynote speech at DEANZ2016 conference, which was held from 17–20th April at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. In her speech Carolyn revisits the issues, developments, and technology trends that led to the birth of FarNet (an online cluster of schools catering for the teaching and learning needs of rural secondary schools located in the Far North of New Zealand). FarNet eventually became part of the wider New Zealand Virtual Learning Network Community (NZVLNC). Adopting a strong Māori cultural underpinning in her role as e-principal of FarNet and a founding member of the NZVLNC, Carolyn describes current developments in FarNet and how the work at FarNet is informed by two key perspectives—Davis’s (2013) ‘arena of change’ and Fullan’s (2015) New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). She then outlines the opportunities and challenges offered through online and digital technologies to support teachers and learners in FarNet and the VLNC, and encourages the wider educational community to partner in their work to ensure the equity and success of future online school students.


online learning; Virtual Schooling; VLNC; distance education; e-learning

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Copyright (c) 2016 Carolyn Alexander-Bennett

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Journal of Open Flexible and Distance Learningthe journal of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ).
ISSN (Print until 2010): 1179-7665 ISSN (Online): 1179-7673