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  • 16 Dec 2017 8:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In October 2017 I accompanied a delegation of CoSN members on a week long tour of New Zealand. The event was a wonderful opportunity to understand what makes the NZ education system one of the best in the world.

    Using disaster as opportunity to rethink

    At the 2011 AISNSW ICT Leadership and Management Conference Paul Rodley from Christ's College in Christchurch New Zealand spoke about what it means to really put a disaster recovery and business continuity plan into action. Paul had been involved in rescuing servers from underneath an unstable, earthquake damaged building and restarting them in his garage so that his school could assess contact details for staff, students and the broader community. I recall the conference delegates listening intently as Paul described the very real risks he and his colleagues took retrieving those servers and the things they had to do to access and distribute their data.


    Up until we heard that presentation I don’t think many of my Australian ICT Director peers realised how important disaster recovery and business continuity planning really is. Afterwards many of my colleagues and I returned to our schools, dusted off our DR/BCM plan and looked it with fresh eyes, or if we didn’t have one, soon began to craft one with a real sense of urgency. Some attribute the phrase “never let a good crisis go to waste” to Winston Churchill. Whether he said it or not, the fact remains that many schools in Australia are better prepared for potential disaster thanks to the terrible earthquake experiences of our cousins across the Tasman Sea – we didn’t let a good crisis go to waste.

    Accessibility to technology

    How would you configure technology in large open-plan learning spaces designed to accommodate 40 to 60 students and 4-5 teachers in as flexible a format as possible? What’s more the spaces are ultra-configurable with the walls being the only things that don’t move - and in some spaces that’s only partly true. The solution the ingenious Kiwis have come with up at Stonefield School near Auckland, is to provide their technology with wheels - and that doesn’t mean wheels for each iPad or computer, but wheels for the storage and recharge units. Each unit can be wheeled into place to form an alcove or nook, placed out of the way against a wall or trundled to where the students happen to be working. And while you’re at it, why not equip the device storage and recharge unit with cupboards whose doors serve as mini whiteboards or slide back to reveal a large screen TV and sound system. Students on both sides of the unit can work on their own projects without interfering with each other’s learning. A truly remarkable use of space and very clever design!

    A rolling technology hub at Stonefield's School near Auckland N.Z.

    Sarah Martin, Principal of Stonefield School, when asked about student’s access to technology replied that “tech is an extension of who kids are, we don’t event talk about it as a thing”. But the School does think about the best way to provide students with the technology that they use on a daily basis. Stonefield has a 1:1 program across the school charging parents around $3.50 per week or a one-off charge of $500 for iPads in years 1-3 and Chromebooks in years 4-8.

    In an innovative collaboration with some tech-savvy parents from the school, Stonefield has developed the Schooltalk (https://schooltalk.co.nz/)planner that helps students “plan, learn and reflect in efficient and transparent ways.” This software provide students with a clear graphical view of their learning so that they know what learning has been achieved, see new learning plans on the calendar, and add your own learnings. Parents see the goals of the learning for every activity, find out how they can help, they are encouraged to assist with home learning using the selected resources as well as to see helpful keywords from today’s learning to engage their child in meaningful conversations. For teachers the software enables them to plan their teaching and their students’ learning, capture evidence of learning and report on progress.

    At Lemonwood Grove School, the principal Sean Bailey said that ICTs are not given special status at his school explaining that there is no special ICT budget and that it is simply integrated as a tool. Sean was much more excited to talk about the way the school uses skylights to provide natural lighting, LED lights are used when needed and sensors trigger the opening of high-level windows to bring in fresh air when CO2 levels get too high. The ICT device ecosystem is varied with MacBooks, iPads and Chromebooks in the school provided fleet for use by the School’s initial enrolment of 150 students. On the software side Google Docs with management provided by Hapara (https://hapara.com/) – a New Zealand born innovation – along with Google Classrooms.


    The CoSN NZ delegation

    A local's presepective

    While in Auckland I spent some time talking to Sam McNeill who, before working for Microsoft in Auckland, was an ICT Director in New Zealand Schools. Sam told me that NZ never really went down the school/government provided 1:1 model like some parts of Australia did during the Australian Government’s Digital Education revolution. Instead NZ leaped from “computer labs” to BYOD accompanied by much thinking around pedagogy and device usage in the classroom. Sam tells me that he’s seen better “device programmes” in Australia, but in comparison to NZ the Australian approach had a “hands off” approach around the pedagogy. He says that given the relative lack of devices early on, many schools in NZ thought very hard about how best to integrate them into the teaching and learning.


    Sam McNeill and Ian Ralph at HP's Evolve Education event in Auckland

    Supporting the pedagogically sound use of IT in the classroom is the Network 4 Learning (N4L) https://www.n4l.co.nz/ programs. These aim to provide EVERY school, both city and rural, with good core network infrastructure and free fibre to the door. Sam says that while N4L has had its critics it means schools have good connectivity and is cited as one reason G Suite and O365 have really taken off in New Zealand schools. And what’s really amazing is that N4L is essentially “free” to schools. “It’s forward thinking and aimed to help remove the barriers of connectivity to the WWW for students/teachers. I know many schools overseas that are envious of this level of investment in schools.” says Sam.


  • 14 Oct 2017 2:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our final term conference for 2017 will be held at Microsoft, North Ryde on November 13th, 2017.

    Registration is now open for this event.  You will also see a post on the MITIE forum and an email headed to your registered email address.  Not a member? It's easy and FREE to join.

    Sponsorship

    We are pleased to acknowledge the support of the following organisations:

    Gold Sponsor

    Leader Ubiquiti.jpg

    Silver Sponsors:

     CareMonkey-Logo-Horizontal-150419.png  Copy of CompNow-DEP-Apple-macworld-australia-258x188.jpg  Somerville.png 

        Visionext.jpg

    Thanks also to ClickView for live streaming the event


  • 5 Sep 2017 6:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Inaugural MITIE Term Conference in South Australia will be held at St Michael’s College Adelaide on Thursday 5th October.

    Ashley Morrison  from St Michael’s is very keen to make this an event to be remembered and to achieve this he is working closely with Paul Hackett, one time MITIE Steering Committee member, from Endeavour College1.

    ASI generous sponsors
    This terrific initiative was kicked off through the support of ASI who will be sponsoring the event. Many thanks to Michael Eggenhuizen  and Chris Ennis  from ASI for supporting MITIE in such a generous fashion.

    This is the first of many term Conferences in South Australia 

    Keep an eye out for registrations which will open soon.



  • 20 Aug 2017 7:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Agenda
    The agenda for our AGM is here (note - agenda items may be added up until 20th September 2017). If you have any motions that you would like be presented to the AGM, please send these to Ally Eddy (secretary@mitie.edu.au) no later than 5pm on 20th September 2017

    Nominating for election to steering committee roles
    At the AGM item 3 on the agenda is election of office bearers. Those wishing to stand for election to the steering committee should complete a nomination forms, have it signed by 2 other members of MITIE (forum membership constitutes MITIE membership) and email it to Ally Eddy (secretary@mitie.edu.au) no later than 5pm on 20th September 2017.

    If you are considering standing as a committee member and would like to understand what is involved, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the forum or by phone on 0419 480 336.

    Online Voting
    Our constitution allows for online voting. We will do this via a Google Form, a link to which will be posted closer to the date of the AGM after the agenda has been finalised.



  • 20 Aug 2017 6:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our next term conference will be held at Rosebank College, Five Dock on Wednesday 27th September 2017.

    Registrations will open soon for this event - keep an eye out for post on the MITIE forum. Not a member? It's easy and FREE to join.

    Sponsorship

    We are pleased to acknowledge the support of the following organisations:

    Gold Sponsor: StudentNet
    Silver sponsors: AC3CompNowCyberHoundJB HiFi and ViVi.

    Thanks also to ClickView for live streaming the event and making the recorded sessions available online.


  • 2 Aug 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Educational Infrastructure Spokesperson and MITIE Steering Committee member David Soede from Central Coast Grammar School will address the Senate Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN) during public hearings on Wednesday 2nd August 2017 at Mingara Recreation Club on NSW's Central Coast.

    David has appeared before this committee in 2014 and will again be expressing MITIE's view that the NBN has been an opportunity lost for the nation. David will make the point that by abandoning fibre to the premise and going with a mixture of technologies the NBN rollout has resulted in disappointing network performance for those schools who have adopted the NBN as their carrier to connect to the internet.  This poor performance has meant that a range of high value educational opportunities that high-speed, uncontended, low-latency internet connections facilitate have been lost. In fact some schools, that were connected to the NBN network, have since changed providers to obtain higher speeds and more stable connections. 

    In particular the NBN appears to have been a lost opportunity for schools in regional, remote, or even outer suburban areas of major cities where other forms of internet connections are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

    Check out this website from the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network for transcripts of what David Soede said in his submission and in answer to questions from the Committee members (transcript may take a while to be published).

    David also gave an interview to ABC local radio on 3rd of August (fast forward to 1:09:40)


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