NBN may accelerate education revolution

NBN may accelerate education revolution

Education to become more student-centric

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is expected to speed up the transformation process of the education sector, according to NBN Co.

Speaking at the Abode Education Leadership Forum 2012, NBN Co senior advisor of stakeholder relations, Sabine Heindl, said the pervasiveness and “symmetry” of the NBN will accelerate the revolution of education.

“[The ubiquity of the network] opens up all sorts of opportunities for education in terms of getting to those harder to reach places, rural and regional,” Heindl said.

“It’s not just about faster download speeds, but it’s also about augmenting upload speeds… enabling people to collaborate more freely by being able to upload material onto the internet as well as downloading that material.

Working with NBN Co to understand the NBN's impacts on education, Richard Olsen, assistant director of education and technology think tank, ideasLAB, told the forum that technology in the classroom has promoted “new learning relationships, new learning roles and new learning experiences”.

Technology, he said, has changed the way students learn and brought about the personalisation of learning or ‘student-centric learning’ and the socialisation of education via social networks.

In effect, this has also changed the traditional roles of students and teachers, with the latter no longer teaching knowledge but how to research effectively instead.

Hence, Olsen said the education sector must move in line with the changing nature of education or risk falling behind. “We need to re-imagine our pedagogy and we need a more ambitious pedagogy. The pedagogy we’re currently using pre this technology is different to the pedagogy we need today and tomorrow,” he said.

“Looking at technology just to improve our current practice [will limit] the opportunities to move forward. When we see digital writing as just pen and paper writing, if that’s what we limit digital writing to, then we risk missing the opportunities around network priority, around building upon other people’s content, around this idea of remixing, around the idea that publishing is not just the end point.”

According to Heindl, the NBN’s infrastructure will be able to support the growing use of mobile devices in the classroom.

However, Justin Milne, deputy chairman of online DVD rental company, Quickflix, said in February this year that 3G and 4G networks in Australia will not cope with the growth of traffic generated by tablets.

Instead, he said Wi-Fi would be a better alternative to manage large traffic.

“You can configure a Wi-Fi network to serve a large number of people much more easily and efficiently than you can on a 3G network, and much cheaper,” Milne said.

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