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Information and communication technologies (ICT)

Strategy: Provide rich digital learning environments across all modes of delivery

Video: Parkhurst State School, Maintaining Innovation in a 21st Century Digital Learning Community

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The RemServ Showcase Award for Excellence in Innovation
Parkhurst State School, Maintaining Innovation in a 21st Century Digital Learning Community

A technological overhaul almost two years ago has turned Parkhurst State School in Rockhampton into an ICT leader and a centre of innovative thinking.

Maintaining Innovation in a 21st Century Digital Learning Community delivers quality, future focussed curriculum through digital teaching practices.

The introduction of technologies such as interactive whiteboards and exer-games has resulted in more engaging teaching. This has captured students' interests and dramatically changed their outlook to education, attitude and learning.

Students get involved in creating multimedia soundtracks and computer games. Practical hands-on learning that every kid enjoys. Teachers and students are sharing online resources and a passion for tomorrow's technology.

Parkhurst State School, making 21st century classrooms even smarter.

Teaching and enabling the digital generation

In 2010, the first of the digital generation are now seniors in high school. They are about to embark on another journey into life in an ever-changing, globally competitive world.

Now more than ever, it's vital to provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers and life.

The exponential rate of ICT growth throughout the world means that learning and teaching is evolving at a rapid pace. Many students just starting school are already performing tasks such as searching the internet, capturing digital images and videos, and talking to their friends and family online.

Through digital learning resources such as interactive online chats, digital video and oral recordings, blogs, educational games, podcasts and digital storytelling, teaching and learning at all year levels is becoming more innovative and engaging.

Today's teachers are engaging worldwide resources in a multitude of different ways to plan exciting learning experiences that ensure Queensland students are participating in a global community of learning.

As technological change continues to grow, ICT will continue to transform teaching and learning in Queensland and throughout the world.

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Information and Knowledge Strategic Plan 2007-2011

The Information and Knowledge Strategic Plan 2007-2011 was developed in consultation with stakeholders. It outlines the actions that the department will take to maximise opportunities to capitalise on developments in ICT.

This plan provides a guide for the department's evolution into an agile organisation, where innovative and efficient business solutions underpin the achievement of our strategic priorities.

The plan's objectives cover sustainability, investment, governance, transformation and utilisation. These will be achieved through four strategies:

  • implementing an e-business transformation
  • developing a single-point-of-truth data source
  • transforming learning experiences
  • developing and utilise a robust enterprise platform.

State schools, TAFE institutes and management teams will benefit from the results.

During 2009-10, the department made significant investment of more than $100 million in Smart Classrooms initiatives that provided improved digital learning environments through:

  • access to equipment and hardware:
    • improved student and teacher access to digital learning materials
    • continued to maintain and update a sustainable enterprise platform to improve teacher and student productivity
    • continued to support the implementation of the National Secondary School Computer Fund, which will help all schools with Years 9-12 students achieve a ratio of one computer to every two students
    • enabled Prep students in some of the state's most disadvantaged schools to gain access to ICT through the IBM KidSmart project
  • systems, software and support:
    • completed the rollout of the Managed Operational Environment, a standardised school computing environment, into all state schools and other educational sites
    • implemented productivity reviews and improvements in service centres
    • continued to monitor and improve self-service mechanisms so that schools can access ICT services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • supported the VET Futures Program, which aims to further integrate systems and applications
    • continued to expand and utilise eLearning capabilities, including web conferencing
    • launched a new online, on-demand and live broadcast internet service called OneChannel
    • deployed new and updated student administration systems for schools (OneSchool Release Two) and TAFE (ISAS2)
  • staff capability improvement:
    • completed the initial Computers for Teachers rollout, 10 months early and under budget. All state school and TAFE teachers working two or more days a week have now been provided with a laptop and associated professional development
    • supported 11 500 state school teachers to undertake accredited professional development on how to embed ICT in their teaching practice to support and extend student learning
  • curriculum and teaching support:
    • provided teachers with practical support for their curriculum planning and assessment through OneSchool
    • continued to develop digital content across the P-12 curriculum
    • staged the highly successful Online Literature Festival, providing staff and students with access to Australian authors in 83 online events over three weeks.

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ICT systems

Photograph showing  a network cable connection.

ICT governance procedures apply to all ICT investments within the department, and encompass the full investment cycle to ensure ICT investments enable strategic business outcomes and deliver maximum business value. Underpinning our planning and reporting framework is our ability to source the relevant data through a wide array of systems.

Education Queensland's main school performance information delivery system, the Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), provides a range of student and school performance information relating to:

  • student enrolment
  • attendance
  • educational achievements in Years 2, 3, 5, 7 and 12
  • the results of parent, student and staff opinion surveys.

CDW makes it possible to undertake flexible and adaptive analysis and reporting, to access benchmarked performance information to support decision making, and to improve the delivery of education services and student outcomes. CDW is centrally managed to ensure data quality and consistency over time. It maintains data in such a way that analysis of actual performance against national and similar school benchmarks, district and school targets, together with analysis of change, is both accurate and repeatable.

VET performance information is captured through two distinct data systems that represent key areas of the training sector:

  • State Training Agency Clearing House (STAC) is a data warehouse dedicated to collating enrolment and awards data on an ongoing monthly basis for vocational education and training undertaken in Queensland. This data is collected from publicly funded RTOs.
  • Direct Entry Level Training Administration (DELTA) captures apprentice and trainee contracts of training data.

These data sources provide a wide range of information to help the department understand the dynamics in the Queensland training sector and respond accordingly. Both sets of data are captured under the Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard.

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In 2006, the department began designing, developing and progressively deploying OneSchool, a custom-built, flexible and sustainable student management system, in Queensland state schools. This initiative supports the department's core business of learning, teaching and curriculum.

The department's OneSchool in-house development team is designing and building the OneSchool releases, with the design and build of each release occurring concurrently, and each release adding more functionality.

  • Release One provided classroom teachers with easy access to information about each student in their class, including academic and behaviour information, from a centralised data source. It also delivered functionality for teachers to produce student academic reports. Release One was deployed to all state schools in 2008.
  • Release Two provided functionality in curriculum planning and assessment, and enabled authorised staff to access the Shared Student Record, resulting in improved planning and decision making across the department. Release Two was piloted in more than 100 schools.
  • In October 2009, the curriculum and assessment functionality was made available to all state schools. This release provided teachers with access to a wide range of student data including NAPLAN results (Years 3, 5, 7 and 9), and provided additional reporting and analysis capability at a classroom, school and corporate level.
  • Release Two - Timetabling is an additional module which will provide timetabling functionality for all state schools, and enable the development of Shared Staff and Shared Facilities Records. A pilot began in May 2010. It will be deployed to all state schools in Semester 2 2010.
  • Release Three will replace the department's legacy student management system. It will deliver student, asset and finance management and enable the development of a Shared Finance Record through school finance modernisation. Release Three is currently in a build stage, and is expected to be delivered to schools for the start of the 2011 school year.

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Computers for Teachers

Photograph showing a female student in front of a computer.

Under the Computers for Teachers program, all permanent teachers in Queensland state schools and TAFE institutes who work two or more days a week are allocated a computer to support their teaching. The program enables teachers to better connect with a generation of students who use ICT to play, live and study. In addition, the initiative helps teachers plan lessons, communicate about events and issues, and work together on curriculum and assessment. In 2009-10, the department invested more than $20 million to provide more than 12 000 laptops and associated professional development and wireless connectivity to school and TAFE teachers around the state. In March 2010, the Computers for Teachers program completed its initial rollout of computers - 10 months ahead of schedule and on budget. Following completion of the rollout, the replacement of computers nearing the end of their life commenced.

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Smart Classrooms

More and more, state schools are using newer computers and faster internet connections to bring new and exciting learning opportunities to their students.

Young Queenslanders and their parents are increasingly demanding an education that integrates digital learning technologies to prepare them for life in a rapidly changing, globally competitive world.

The Smart Classrooms strategy was implemented in 2005 and is driving a cultural change that will continue to shape learning in the next decade.

By providing a host of planning tools, foundational ICT networks, platforms and professional development, the strategy is helping teachers use ICT tools such as the internet as a natural part of teaching. It is also making many assessment and administration tasks easier.

The strategy is making a big impact. Smart Classrooms is:

  • automating and streamlining administration within schools through OneSchool
  • developing stronger partnerships with those who can make a difference to the educational outcomes of students
  • providing teachers and students with 24/7 safe and secure access - from home, school or work - to a range of innovative online learning and collaborative tools and digital resources to accelerate their learning
  • rolling out superior technical support and reengineering ICT systems
  • providing more teachers with a tool-of-trade that most knowledge workers have had for years - a computer
  • helping schools engage the digital generation.

The department rewards the achievements of the state's best teachers - those committed to their ongoing professional development and learning - through the Smart Classrooms Teacher Awards. The awards are an annual event aimed at recognising teachers who have demonstrated innovation and excellence in their teaching and learning practice with ICT. Each award recipient receives $5000 in prize money to attend conferences or courses that extend their understanding and practices in ICT in education, or to undertake research projects or studies.

The department has implemented a standardised school computing environment into all state schools and other educational sites. This Managed Operating Environment reduces ICT maintenance overheads and helps schools make their ICT sustainable. The department is now centrally managing more than 188 000 computers, 489 000 student accounts and 2700 servers as a single network.

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Identity and access management

The combination of the Education and Training Identity Management projects in July 2009 formed the Identity and Access Management Program. This program introduced effective and streamlined security and authentication processes to provide school and TAFE students, teachers, support staff and parents with secure and simplified access to information and services appropriate to their roles. The department will progressively roll out the system over the next two years.

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Service Centre

The Service Centre provides schools with a single point of contact for all ICT support services. During 2009, the Service Centre received over 250 000 support requests, with the majority originating from school-based staff. The Service Centre structure was remodelled in 2009 to provide additional support services. The new model ensures problems are resolved wherever possible on first contact, reducing down time and improving the availability of ICT services.

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Education-training platform integration

The department has completed the integration of the education and training portfolios onto a common enterprise platform. The new platform enables non-TAFE training staff to communicate more effectively with their colleagues in education.

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Upgrading TAFE ICT capabilities

In 2009-10, the department invested $40 million in information and communication technology (ICT) projects to upgrade TAFE ICT infrastructure and systems for central training functions and non-statutory institutes. This included $10.49 million directly for non-statutory institutes to support and enhance their local ICT infrastructure. Key projects included:

  • upgrading ISAS, the core student management system
  • implementing learning management and content management systems
  • upgrading core networking infrastructure to improve access to TAFE and training systems, and improve videoconferencing capabilities.

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The Learning Place

The Learning Place is the department's eLearning environment, providing access to an innovative range of online digital content and learning spaces 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This access enables creation, communication, community building and conferencing.

The Learning Place has more than 400 000 registered learners, including staff and students. Education Queensland staff can access professional development and training courses, and create their own online courses to support staff professional development and student learning. The Learning Place has more than 12 000 courses and 19 800 quality assured digital resources. Staff can participate in 360 online professional communities.

During 2009-10, students participated in a range of online events and projects, including Anzac Day, Year of Creativity and Q150 discussions with experts. The largest event was the Online Literature Festival, which recorded more than 21 000 instances of student participation across 83 online activities. In addition, more than 2200 staff have participated in live professional development events through the Learning Place's OneChannel service, which provides online access to live and on-demand education programs.

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Stakeholder satisfaction with ICT resources

According to the department's 2009 School Opinion Survey, approximately 67 per cent of parents and guardians were satisfied with their child's access to the internet at school. 68 per cent were satisfied with their child's access to computer technology at school.

Approximately 63 per cent of primary students were satisfied with how easily they could access a computer for learning when needed, with 68 per cent satisfied with how easily they could access the internet for their learning needs.

Additionally, 71 per cent of primary students were satisfied with the computer technology skills they learnt at school, while 73 per cent were satisfied with the way they used computer technology for learning at school.

Of the secondary students surveyed, 59 per cent were satisfied with the opportunities they had to use computer technology for learning at school.

Of the staff surveyed, 71 per cent were satisfied that they could access appropriate ICT to do their job well, while 72 per cent were satisfied with their knowledge and skills in using information and communication technology.

Figure 58: Satisfaction with access to computer technology

Satisfaction with access to computer technology

Bar graph showing comparative satisfaction with access to computer technology of parents,students and staff

Source: Department of Education and Training

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