Theme 2 Table 4 (Red)

Implications of continuously emerging technologies for infrastructure and policy makers

Facilitator: Andrew Williams
Provocateur: Jen Dunbabin
Topic: Imagine this, and in our time: All of education joined together by a high capacity network communicating and sharing freely. Make it so!

Comments from the Table to be added below

Notes from Jen's presentation:

Networks and the benefits of ultra-connectivity

Whole of Australia, education, network. Flat price. Paradigm = more you use the cheaper it is.

April 22 - Rudd announced VET network (outcome from 2020 summit). Public providers, expanding to private providers.

Challenges - how to make it so. We are only 20 million people in Australia. We nood to work together to achieve coherence and cost effectiveness.

Need to capture knowledge of retiring teachers to help new teachers.

Also, changing environment. More and more expensive equipment. Procurement issues. Solved by network. DEEWR provided classroom and e-portfolio spaces. .

Whole of education networks in other countries. Offers potential for global student collaboration.

Barriers - Universities restricting traffic to 1mb.

National curriculum offers potential for national approach in school sector. Federation creates inefficiencies in ICT. But national curriculum can also lock us into old models, and old system, while we are trying to implement 21st century learning. National systems can restrict innovation.

Industry can counterbalance this, demanding 21st Century skills (especially IT industry, but not a big employer in Australia).

Network is precondition to bigger picture.

Learning spaces

High capacity network unlocks face to face online contact.

Software infrastructure

Network involves people. Not just hardware. Also standards.

Physical infrastructure

External services

Australian legislation, policy, guidelines

Feds don't "own" the teachers. They can put money into ICT, but they can't influence teachers. Teacher capacity is the big issue. Also teacher passion, and teacher capacity to influence students with their passion. Teachers need to be empowered to be agents of social change. However, teachers need help in understanding what social change to drive at.

High level creation of new knowledge, is one thing, but application of new knowledge in the classroomis another. Application of research outcomes from education researchers to innovation in the classroom is important or the research is wasted.


Impediment - TAFE are stuck in models of the past. System administration locks trainers into old way of doing things. TAFE administration is huge. Very hard to change, and dictates delivery. Network offers potential for students to view, eg, automotive mechanics on the job using camera glasses.
Also currently copyright, systemic, bandwidth costs. Current bases of determining teaching quality are geared towards the institutions, not toward student outcomes.

This is a "build it and they will come" approach, but will they? Changing practice is required before it is used. If you don't build it they will never come.

Major failing of ICT is unsufficient investment in people. Plenty of investment in hardware and software, but if people don't know how to use it and don't have the inclination, it is wasted.

New teachers linked with mentors, but mentors are not necessarily the right ones.

What Jen presented represents a revolution.. We have seen so much evolution, but we need to stop, and start again.

We are talking about changing the learning environment within a broader system that has not changed. For example, there is still a great deal of paper based work in TAFEs. We talk about 21st century learning, but we have 19th and 20th century systems.

Jen gave examples of change in Tasmania, where RTOs have entered relationships with industry regulators. System starting to change with learning and teaching.

Network offers potential for peering for content. Removes cost of content as an issue.