KnowledgeNet is a learning management service that facilitates the effective sharing of knowledge and communication between cluster schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents/caregivers delivering a rich teaching and learning environment. It can be used in the following ways:

  • As a communication tool- utilizing polls, notices, calendars, forums, chat, image galleries and PXTing capability.
  • To deliver online teaching and learning- by running subjects, classes and groups online. Tools include self assessment through e-reflections, learning stories and the ability to deliver assignments and homework easily.
  • Aa search engine and resource repository- There are over 7000 pre approved websites and thousands of Digital Learning Objects (DLO’s) within KnowledgeNET.
  • As a staff intranet- Using KnowledgeNET as a central place to store all your forms, policies, documents and procedures.
  • As a cluster facilitation tool- KnowledgeNET is unique in being able to communicate and share resources among cluster schools.
  • To manage your school public website- Content on the site is easily managed through the wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editor - (Add On Module).
  • As a parent portal- Data from your SMS which you choose to share with your parents can be displayed safely and securely - (Add on Module).

As Knowledge NET is not a freeware, I have not got the opportunity to buy and use it. If you would like to know more about it, this link,
Knowledge NET, can lead you to their website for details.

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As you will see Knowledge NET is one of the services provided by Dataview Ltd, locally based in Silverdale, Auckland. And my second practicum school happened to apply this software to facilitate the learning environments among students, teachers and parents. Below are the authentic comments I managed to attain from the school's IT facilitator:

  1. To date has been used mainly in this school to provide access for student exercises, examination practice, notes. This was the highest need when we started with KnowledgeNet, and this is why we started with that emphasis. It has been extremely successful – though uptake has varied from faculty to faculty.
  2. There are many other features which have been used less extensively – forums, student personal profiles, class assignments, E portfolio. All of these are available and use will be promoted over time.
  3. We started with interoperability at the beginning of 2010. This has been extremely effective – all student and parent data is now uploaded to KnowledgeNet from the SMS in an automated process on a daily basis. This provides accurate student data, including leaver and new enrolments, and saves a huge amount of admin time. There are a few issues, and improvements that need to be made, but these are largely due to the difficult process of accurate id of a new student and outside the technical control of whether the SMS or the OLE (KnowledgeNet). Other than the above mentioned technical detail this is a very effective process designed by KnowledgeNet.
  4. The school is very likely to be using the online option module next year and is looking at the possibility of use of the parent portal for viewing results and reports, possibly online enrolments, possibly careers and goal setting modules.
  5. Faculty use – variable. Some faculties/Departments/Teachers are very dependent on it, others less so, and a few do not use it at all. This has changed decidedly over time. Buy-in improves steadily.
  6. Here we have not mandated use – in other words we have left the degree of development of faculty areas to the decision of the faculty head. This has been done intentionally – on the basis that use of IT technology works best if there is buy-in and different faculties would see their needs as different from others.
  7. Student use – depends on whether the teachers/faculties do make use of their areas – if the students have useful material available on KN in their subject area they will make it their business to get online. They will apply for password re-set when necessary so they can get access. They will ask teachers who don’t use it to put material up there.
  8. Parents will also push their children to make use of it, provided they know that useful material is available for their child. In general there is large approval from parents though ours do not yet have their own caretaker login – we have the functionality, but have not rolled that out yet.
  9. Hence, to a large degree, student use will drive the process forward by demand. And student use will come from the lead teachers and faculties providing resources on KN for their students. This dual pronged process drives itself – if you are patient. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you try to force it, you just get people doing silly stuff to “meet requirements” rather than to meet the real needs of students.
  10. KnowledgeNet support is very, very good – it is a great strength of this system.
  11. There are no ‘cons’ to a good Online Learning Environment, and KnowledgeNet is one of those. No doubt you would not get that same opinion from all staff, but many staff think it is either excellent or at least OK. You would never, ever get everyone on board for any IT application. There will always be those who prefer another one – usually the one they have been familiar with previously, but then there are others who say ‘this is much better than what we had at my last school’. KN might not be the best available, but it is up there in the running. It is certainly very cost effective – some of the other good OLEs are very expensive. KNet has a very strong and responsive development process.
  12. Lack of buy in by staff us mostly because any IT system takes time to learn and time to use – if you don’t legislate use, uptake is slower – I have addressed the reason for not legislating use above.
  13. KnowledgeNet has made many improvements over the time we have been using it. The greatest is due to roll out here in a couple of weeks and this will be a very significant upgrade. I believe it will enable a big surge in use by teachers.

From the comments above, we can see Knowledge NET is one of the platforms people can use to get students, teachers, parents and even other associated roles on board in learning and communicating with each other. It transcends the restraints of time and space in the traditonal mode of learning, and can cater for learners of diverse conditions and needs. Additionally, this kind of on-line learning extends the knowledge base from within New Zealand to all over the world. This reflects the vision, values, key competencies, & principles stated in the New Zealand Curriculum (Connected, actively involved, lifelong learners. Diversity. Community & participation. Relating to others. Participating and contributing. Community engagement, etc.)


In a similar way, Moodle is a Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites.
Moodle has several features considered typical of an e-learning platform and can be used in many types of environments such as in education, training and development, and business settings. Developers can extend Moodle's modular construction by creating plugins for specific new functionality. Moodle's infrastructure supports many types of plugins:

  • activities (including word and math games)
  • resource types
  • question types (multiple choice, true and false, fill in the blank, etc)
  • data field types (for the database activity)
  • graphical themes
  • authentication methods (can require username and password accessibility)
  • enrollment methods
  • content filters

My first experience with Moodle was the on-line forums set up by the university for us to discuss on specified topics in our papers. Then I found one of my friends had run an on-line courses for his remote students for years. Basically, what he has achieved is similar to the university case or the Knowledge NET mentioned above, involving teachers, students and parents in the 24/7-accessible learning platform. I haven't been fully versed with this system, but have applied for an account and would really like to look into it in the near future. For those interested, you can follow the link and see how you can set one up for yourself.

Of course, there are many video clips on YouTube, introducing Moodle in many aspects. Below is one of them:

To me, this is also like the extension of a "personal web" mentioned in the Horizon Report 2009, where you have a customized web application and connect with other learners in a range of communities. It's all about connection. I always remember this good saying learnt from Mr. Wells on my first university lesson this year:

"The more you link, the more you learn." (Jeanette Vos, The Learning Revolution)
It serves as a good reminder in our learning & teaching activities.
Impact of this technological practice
Objectively, we always look at things from at least two opposite perspectives. While we enjoy plenty of conveniences from these ICT applications, we tend to check the effects on the other side. For example, the impact on human health and human behaviour would be one of the most noticeable issues commented on. Below are two of the articles for your information:

Also, this link on ScienceDirect will provide you with the insight of computer-based learning in relation to collaborative learning, cognitive load, learning engagement, attention-guiding effect, expertise reversal effect, hypermedia & learning, etc. if you are interested.