New Zealand has a long history distance education in the schools sector, beginning with The Correspondence School over 90 years ago. Similar to many jurisdictions, as technology has evolved the schools sector has also evolved in how it has used that technology to provide learning opportunities at a distance. Each technology – from the print-based correspondence model to the current Internet-based virtual learning model – has forced educators to re-think how these educational opportunities are structured and delivered. Over the past two years, there have been significant events within the virtual learning community in New Zealand that place it on the cusp of being the catalyst for a fundamental re-thinking of how all education is delivered within the schools sector. In this report, we outline the history of distance education in New Zealand. We also describe two recent reports that outlined potential future directions for virtual learning organizations in New Zealand. Finally, we consolidate those visions – along with recent educational developments – to chart a vision for the future of education in New Zealand through virtual learning.
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