As an avid attendee of all things NetHui since the inaugural event in 2011, I’ve been really pleased to be able to participate and network with many people across diverse fields - all related in some way, shape or form to the ‘Internet’ and its’ enabling for society. However, this was not something I was able to undertake financially in 2015 when I stepped out of my career to complete my research for my Masters in Education.
At the time, I was living in a beautiful quiet regional town (high sunshine hours – low rainfall – and now I live in Wellington…) and attending the NetHui conference was like plugging into three phase power – supercharging my knowledge and awareness of what was happening around the world, across cultures, and at the doorsteps of New Zealanders in all things ‘Internet’. It lifted my view of the world as an educator to understand and connect wider dots.
I loved hearing about the many issues, implications, opportunities, and aspirations shared in keynotes, panel discussions, and more intimate breakout sessions. This provided platforms for both experts and those who were not. This demonstrated to me that the ideas and views of everyone were important.
As an educator, much of my professional development has been in education streams, however, coming along to NetHui enabled me to learn wider aspects of industry and organisations associated with the Internet, and how many of these organisations are dynamically linked to provide services and supports for New Zealanders. I built up knowledge of the connectedness, visions, and innovation happening locally and internationally. Also, I learned about the gaps, complexities and needs in going forward across our political arena, infrastructure and telcos, education, organisations, and businesses.
Perhaps the two key take-aways in going forward for me as an educator after syncing all the information learned at NetHui is firstly, the on-going need for opportunities for all New Zealanders – equal access to top ultra fast broadband etc, digital opportunities and education to upskill all our citizens. Until we get this right, there is imbalance and in turn, implications. Secondly, there is a need for our society to not only be encouraged and supported to use digital technologies, but also to understand aspects of safety in online spaces and on devices, and fostering positive online communications and experiences with others. This is certainly an area of interest to me as an educator and a mum.
Through attending NetHui, I’ve met many interesting people and stay connected today. I’ve since completed my research and graduated with my Masters in Education, and now work in the area of Online Safety as an Education Advisor with Netsafe and feel privileged to support schools, parents and young people in achieving positive experiences online. Lastly, a big thank you for supporting my learning as a recipient of one of the Fellowships in 2015.
A blog post by Angela Webster, 2015 NetHui fellowship recipient.
We are proud to have a fellowship programme for people who wish to come along to NetHui. Find out more at https://2017.nethui.nz/fellowships/