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Supporting technology use for distance learning

Guides for video conferencing

As a teacher, whether you are new or well-versed with using technology for distance learning, there's always something new to learn. 

These guides may help you with creating a better distance learning experience with technology. 

Good cyber security practices

Now that most of us are working from home due to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, maintaining good cyber security practices at home will help keep school and student information safe and secure.

Device and information security

Only use approved devices (laptop, tablet, or phone) to access systems on your school network, unless your school has a BYOD policy.

Take the same precautions with your laptop, tablet, or phone as you would at school:

  • Lock the screen when away from the device.
  • Take steps to secure the device when not in use e.g. lock your house if you go out and don’t leave it unattended in your car.
  • Maintain confidentiality of student information e.g. do not discuss student information with family members or where they can hear it.
  • Avoid using personal hard drives and USB sticks. These can introduce malware onto laptops.
  • Ensure that printed matter containing sensitive information is kept secure and is taken with you when you return to school.
  • Only dispose of printed matter containing sensitive or student information in secure document destruction bins at your school. Do not dispose of sensitive documents in your residential rubbish.
  • The use of unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots poses a cyber security risk and should be avoided. Sensitive data transmitted via these Wi-Fi networks may be intercepted and exploited by malicious actors.

Increased phishing and scam activity

  • Expect more phishing emails and COVID-19 themed cyber-attacks. Criminals have increased attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic, to trick people to download malware from COVID-19 maps, or enter their details into phishing websites. CERT has issued an advisory on this
  • Avoid clicking on any links in unsolicited emails and be very cautious of email attachments.
  • Do not provide personal or financial information in emails, texts, or instant messages and do not respond to requests for this information.

Network for Learning (N4L)

Network for Learning (N4L) has developed a safety filter called ‘Switch on Safety’ to make the internet safer for all students learning from home.

The N4L safety filter blocks access to a range of websites known to be unsafe and inappropriate for learning.

Find out more on how to set up the N4L safety filter - Switch on Safety website

The new N4L safety filter is an extension of one of the multiple safety and security services the company has in place at schools, and is available at no cost to students and teachers for the next two years.

In addition to the safety filter, N4L is providing support for distance learning by ensuring teachers can access schools systems and documents stored on the school’s network securely, while working from home.

Help desk support

The Connected Learning Advisory provides help desk support about using IT tools and how to engage safely in collaborative spaces.

You can phone the Learning from Home helpdesk on 0800 700 401 and Ki Te Ao Mārama on 0508 294 462 between 8am and 5pm on business days.


Netsafe provides comprehensive support and information to support everyone to stay safe as they work, learn and play online.

Read new and updated resources for parents, whānau and students - Netsafe website

Supporting remote learning with software

Schools can get assistance from their IT Service Provider or review the following links.

Adobe COVID-19 resources

All NZ schools account admins with device/lab licenses, can set up students with free ‘Working from Home’ licenses until 6 July 2020.

Apple resources

Google COVID-19 resources

Microsoft COVID-19 resources

Sketchup COVID-19 resources 

For a temporary period until 4 July 2020, SketchUp for Schools and SketchUp Pro grant licenses will be available to NZ students and educators, who are 'Working from Home' during the COVID-19 period.

*Students must match the version of SketchUp Pro they have installed (SketchUp Pro 2018 or SketchUp Pro 2019).