WA fast-tracks mobile education


The future of mobile education looks bullish for WA. The Department of Education is allocating $50 million on digital services. This initiative will see classrooms embracing mobile apps, with teachers being encouraged to incorporate online learning into curriculum across schools. 

Under moves to create a wireless classoom, the WA Department of Education has earmarked $50 million for digital services. It is also fast-tracking the uptake of mobile devices and broadband access.

This initiative benefits Western Australian public schools. The funding boost enables teachers to create wireless classrooms, leverage expanded bandwidth capacity, and incorporate more laptops, tablets and other devices for primary students.

Bevan Doyle, the department’s CIO, said schools have shown a strong interest in online learning. “Schools have a very healthy appetite for online content. Over the last two years, we’ve seen schools’ internet download volumes increase from 30 terabytes a month to more than 100 terabytes a month.”

Primary schools can apply for a $20 million dollar-for-dollar program to update devices for students. The department is encouraging bring-your-own-devices, while improving collaboration between students on projects.

The department is seeking an expanded use of technology in classrooms through professional learning, support options, and ongoing maintenance and enhancement of ICT systems.
An internationally-recognised Standard Operating Environment is now expanded to support more than 70 per cent of students. This is being deployed to more schools in the next financial year.

In other news, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) developed in Western Australia, has topped the 2015 Interactive Media Awards in the US.

This course entitled the “Business of Mining” was developed by Curtin University’s WA School of Mines, the Curtin Business School, industry stakeholders, and state government experts.
More than 1,100 students from almost 170 nations have completed the course. Key participation comes from the US, Australia and India.
The “Business of Mining” clinched a best-in-class in the university category of the Interactive Media Awards. The recognition was rated on design, content, functionality and standards compliance.
The four online modules provide a high-level introduction to the resources sector for non-operational staff, government employees, suppliers and contractors.
Launched in July 2015, The “Business of Mining” MOOC continues running through 2016. The course is available at this dedicated site.