Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Using the National Broadband Network for the Digital Education Revolution

Premier of Tasmania, who is also the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr David Bartlett, has invited the ICT industry to suggest how to improve education, such as with online collaboration of students across the state, interstate and overseas.

The Premier has a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Graduate Diploma of Business in Professional Management from the University of Tasmania and so is well placed to apply ICT to education.

Unfortunately the Tasmanian Government has issued the request via an advertisement in one local Hobart newspaper. So one obvious step they could take to a smarter state would be put such requests online, as most states, and the federal government, already do.

It happens I gave a presentation on how to use the NBN for Tasmanian jobs and education, a few months ago. My suggestion is to provide vocational and industry related training
online, which relates to Tasmania's industrial strengths in green
tourism, timber, maritime industries and education. Students could continue formal studies online while gaining work experience in the tourism and other industries. Tasmania could export courses online which use Tasmanian industries as case studies, thus promoting the local industry. The Tasmanian Education Department already has some experience in online distance education. The University of Tasmania has experience
in operating satellite campuses.

The Federal Government has previously generously funded education initiatives in Tasmania, such as the Australian Technical College (ATC), in Launcestion, where I gave my talk.

Unfortunately some of that investment has not been well directed. I suggest the ATC be re-purposed and combined with the adjacent UTas architecture school to work on advanced digital architecture and manufacturing to increase benefit to the local economy of products from Tasmanian forests.
The State Government is seeking input from the ICT industry on how it can make the most of the Australian Government’s National Broadband Network and the Digital Education Revolution.

Premier and Minister for Education and Skills, David Bartlett, said the initiatives presented opportunities for students, teachers, staff and the wider community.
“We want to broaden our thinking on the benefits these initiatives can create by working with the ICT industry,” Mr Bartlett said.

“The Department of Education is calling for written submissions from the Department’s current technology suppliers and the broader ICT industry on potential technologies and services that will help tap into these opportunities.
“With the implementation of the National Broadband Network there is potential to look at the way we provide education services in a different way.
“There may be new ways for students to further their studies without leaving remote areas, students may be able to participate in real-time video conferencing and collaboration with students across the state, interstate and overseas.
“It could also provide new ways of engaging with students who struggle in the current school environment.
“The National Secondary School Computer Fund for grades 9-12 has already started. The program aims to give every student access to a personal computer at school by December 2011.
“It will provide more students with access to a computer that will be internet ready and capable of taking advantage of the new broadband network.
“The Digital Education Revolution and the National Broadband Network will provide enormous benefits for our education community and I hope that we can work with the ICT industry to seize the opportunities available,” Mr Bartlett said.

Expressions of interest are advertised in The Mercury today and close at 2pm on Friday December 4. ...

From: Input sought from ICT industry, David Bartlett, MP, Premier , Tasmania, 14 November 2009

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