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TtEDSC

​​​​Current Context

In 2017 the orignal TtEDSC project (see below) became the Independent Schools Digital Collaboration Network (ISDCN). The federal funding and governance from the Department of Education (Canberra) is now finished. The network will continue to offer services to all states but is now solel​y paid for and managed by ISQ and AISNSW. Obviously the project has come along way and now concentrates on synchronous virtual experiences for classroom, staff and parents. Clearly ​these services cost money to deliver and a user-pays model must now be applied to most services.

The sections that follow contain the original project overview and "Pillar" descriptions.  The original project offered 11 service​s und​er 3 pillar headings and ran as a trial for approximately two years commencing in April 2013. Eighty eight (88) schools were engaged each selecting a subset of services. The project in its original form is now completed and a selection of the original services have been chosen for an ongoing offering to the whole Independent school community. This portal now reflects the current set of services on offer.​


Original Overview

This project is focused on the most efficient ways of using broadband technology for the current and next generation of school students, many of whom are already more technology-aware than any other generation of Australians.  There are also those who are keen to participate but do not have access to the tools available. The project intends to increase the level of accessibility to those who currently cannot participate fully in the digital education experience. Our project will work with all these schools to trial new and existing technologies and hopefully deliver engaging educational experiences.

The general features of the TtEDSC project are as follows:

  • Enhance the learning opportunities for resource-challenged sch​ools that cannot currently access rich digital content utilising fast connections such as those provided by broadband technology - a "Special Consideration" category of schools has been created for these schools
  • The selection and supply of appropriate hardware and applications that will be trialed using broadband technology as the transport medium and enabler of the new experiences.
  • Curriculum content will be available to teachers and students to enhance teaching and learning outcomes that previously were unattainable.
  • Products and services are combined in new ways to deliver improved learning outcomes for Students, Teachers and Schools that can be deployed quickly and with a proven track record of success in the education context.
  • Online collaboration is the core of the proposed functionality, either in groups or as individuals that will enable the sharing of educational resources and experiences across the Independent Schools sector on an unprecedented scale.
  • The AIS network of Associations is uniquely placed to contribute to the successful delivery of broadband technologies to the Independent Schools sector and therefore our proposed solution is designed to have national reach and has the support of ISCA and all involved AIS organisations.
  • The project will focus rollout activity on regional, rural, indigenous and small schools as a priority to help with the ongoing challenges they face and specifically, the locations identified by AISWA and The Aboriginal Independent Community Schools (AICS) – National Broadband Network's (NBN) Interim Satellite Service (ISS) Project
  • Investigation of potential linkages to existing Government-funded education initiatives.

 

Service Pillars

The Project will offer 11 distinct services/resources. These are categorised into the three main pillars as communicated in the diagram below. It is important to emphasize the project is a Deployment Trial which provides a wide-array of services, vendors and delivery mechanisms. It is envisaged that most will become sustainable initiatives after the BEESS funding period is complete.

 

Content and Collaboration Platforms

The provision of these services to a wide-range of Independent Schools is the cornerstone of this project.  The ability for students, teachers & administrators to collaborate with each other, and other providers, both nationally and internationally with a variety of tools, is considered as a significant benefit driver for the initiative.  All levels of SAMR Model are addressed: Subsitution, Augmentation, Modification & Redefinition.

The collaboration tools will be underpinned by the deployment of dedicated video conferencing facilities in the schools that do not currently have them and an invitation to a project network for those that do.  The network will provide the high quality audio and visual conferencing experiences, only possible over high speed broadband technology grade connections and dedicated equipment. Specifically it will allow:

  • adhoc point to point conferencing between schools
  • multi-party conferencing between schools  across a network bridge
  • Virtual tours from 3rd party providers & other 3rd party education content
  • AIS generated content - Eg. "Fascinating People & Vocation Series"
  • Expert lessons - one-off & series
  • Management opportunities
  • Steaming capability for desktop access

 

​A separate service will offer a cutting edge desktop collaboration experience that combines Video Conferencing with a Virtual World environment. Students will be able to move and converse naturally in a 3D space where their desktop video becomes their avatar. Some research activities for student and staff groups are envisaged for this service.    

 A web conferencing tool will be used to attempt the creation of a National Presentation Network.  Teachers and managers in schools will be asked to consider presenting virtually to a national audience.  Presentations and collaboration activities will arranged under the following loose categories:

  • Teaching and Learning  (Research & Practice)
  • Teaching and Learning  (Pedagogy & Content) – Inc. "General Capabilities" &  E-Learning
  • Administration & Management -  Inc. ICT management
  • TtEDSC Facilitation – Inc. Service specific Professional Learning
  • Special Events

This will be offered to all Independent schools in the country and not just project schools. Presentations and collaborations that used to only occur in a staff room or at a conference, can now be initiated from the comfort of a presenter's desk to hundreds of participants at their computers around the country. A high speed digital highway is used instead of thousands of miles and dollars on traditional highways.

The pillar also provides direct support to the areas of the Australian Curriculum including:      

  1. Cross-Curriculum Priorities -  Online Indigenous Cultural Awareness Course
  2. General Capabilities offerings on Presentation and VC networks
  3. Streaming access to a professionally produced curriculum-based video content library with added teaching tools

The engagement of an on-line tutoring service is a unique feature of the overall solution and as far as can be ascertained is the only service operating at this scale in the Australian education sector.  This service enables school children to request a collaborative session from an approved human tutor, on short notice, on a range of curriculum areas. An available tutor accepts the booking and connects to the student with a Web Conferencing interface tool.  The project has targeted this service at boarding schools and/or schools with an existing or planned formal after school homework programme. Once again, the high speed link into the school is utilised.

Infrastructure and Connectivity Services

This pillar provides a school with the opportunity to experiment with ICT management processes that hopefully will lead to a reduction in operating costs and an increase in efficiencies for technical managers and classroom delivery. This class of service assists schools with a growing problem of unconstrained infrastructure growth and looks to the "cloud" to move the some of the processes of management and storage off campus. A high connectivity broadband connection to the school is required to achieve this. Two services will be offered: Managed Services & a Digital Media Repository (or Library) tool. 


Managed Services
A service provider will offer schools a selection of:

  • Hosted Email Security
  • Hosted URL Filtering
  • Hosted Virtual Firewall
  • Network and device management
  • Virtual server management
  • Managed wireless
  • Hosted SharePoint sites
  • Cloud backup
  • Cloud storage

Each school will retain the choice of provider for the connection to Broadband Technology and the National Independent Schools Network, as well as deciding which (if any) of the infrastructure services described may be beneficial to the school.

​Digital Media Repository

This pillar also includes the provision of a cloud-based digital media repository service that will be used to store predominantly large-size digital media assets that are being an increasingly costly problem for independent schools.  This service has the potential to provide a long-term sector-wide solution to a growing problem that will be significantly reduced using Broadband Technologies.

Education and Research Services

This pillar provides two services that directly address the  processes of Professional Development of teachers.  One is a teaching practice evaluation system and the other a management system. Both services are firmly in line with the standards described in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and require Broadband Technology​ level connections to external servers. 

The services are:

  • In-class video recording system ("IRIS") and analysis software to enable professional development and practice improvement through self-reflection and peer review.
  • Access to Appretio, a web-based Professional Review and Development system will assist schools to develop, implement and evaluate improvements in the achievement of school strategic goals for individual teachers, faculties or at the level of the whole school.