The National Education Network (NEN) trial provided 20 schools with fast, unrestricted broadband drastically improving their access to information and communication technology tools. The trial was led by REANNZ and funded by the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and the National Library. The 6-month trial, successfully completed on 15 December 2008, tested the architecture and explored the educational benefits of a National Education Network. The reports show that the trial was a huge success in both respects: it proved the benefits of the open access NEN architecture and allowed teachers to expose their students to the sort of tools, techniques and experiences that will equip them to be the knowledge workers New Zealand requires to drive its future productivity.
Feedback from trial schools was overwhelmingly positive. One teacher commented, 'The benefits of connecting to KAREN are immense; students and staff can reach the resources of universities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States; show maps and satellite footage to Geography classes using Google Maps; and collaborate via high definition video conferences with other students around the world.' The NEN trial was such a success that REANNZ are recommending a complete national network based on the principles of the NEN be rolled out to all schools. After running the trial, our estimate is that high-performance broadband can be delivered to every classroom in New Zealand for only US$150m.