Broadband and beyond

Education has been high on the political agenda in recent weeks although the issue of highspeed broadband (which is integral to the re-imagining of schooling) seems to have dropped off the radar.

Economists and educators all agree that broadband cannot be an optional preference in a knowledge age. The speed and robustness of our instrastructure will seperate economies and push the boundaries of schooling as we know it. In South Korea ‘ultra high-speed’ is a given. Its government is committed to ‘edutopia’ which has seen 10,000 schools connected to the net and teachers and classrooms given PCs. This investment is driving innovation and their economy.

Politicians of all persuasions must view highspeed broadband in the same way as water or transport. If we are to utilise the vast array of virtual educational, informational and networking tools available, we must not only provide affordable and equitable access but high-speed access.

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait five years!

7 thoughts on “Broadband and beyond

  1. I reckon my working efficicency is about 40% higher from home (simply because of the speed of connection not because I’m not wearing my tie!!) than it is within our Sydney CEO system – and I’m lucky enough to sometimes go home when it is all too slow. Lucky I’m not still teaching Year 9!!!

    It was good to hear Seamus acknowledge your, more than significant, contribution to the whole area of 21stcentury learning at the Ceo show at Redfern on Friday (Stephen Hepple was there and it was a good day). Seamus had heard you speak the night before at Macq U. It is always good to hear a prophet acknowledged close to home!!!

  2. Once again, it appears to be a problem of decision makers being far removed from the reality of contemporary learning. In the same way that some leaders scoff at the idea of social networking and narrow-casting (podcasts etc) as gimmicky, only those people who have direct experience of the value of these tools will invest in them. This applies to school leaders and classroom teachers as well.

    Unfortunately, our country has been very slow to respond to what is such an obvious need in a connected world. How long before the UN Charter includes digital access as a basic human right?

  3. During the industrial revolution what made the difference was transport links – governments and private industry (mostly private industry, I understand) invested massively in this aspect of national infrastructure. Our failure to address the equivalent piece of infrastructure in the information age is not just going affect the education sector, but the whole country. It isn’t fundamental – we’ll get by – but it’s why we won’t lead the way!

  4. I think the message is finally getting through about infrastructure, now the hard work begins to get them to focus on supporting the building of teacher capacity!

  5. I agree with all the comments here and only yesterday was in a conversation about hardware and the importance of ensuring that our teachers who are out there using it aren’t becoming frustrated by the speed or the lack of resources to ensure that all students have easy access to technology. It is this type of frustration that will give teachers an ‘argument’ that it is all too hard and head back to pen and paper unnecessarily. Teacher capacity will improve – it has to if we are to remain a viable asset in education!

  6. Greg, couldnt agree more. A question; How can we, with a limited school budget (and a technology levy on parents!) acquire the hardware needed to propel 21st century learning & teaching? I have pondered with my leadership team on how we can engage business in education. We are crying out for laptops as demand has outstripped supply at my school. Is it possible to get corporate sponsorship? Can we make buying a laptop or two for a school a tax deduction to create a win-win situation? Look forward to your and other bloggers responses.

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