NBN expands learning opportunities

About 86 per cent of teachers claim high-speed broadband enables them to improve lessons delivery

The National Broadband Network (NBN) can be a powerful tool that improves educational outcomes for children, according to a report by NBN Co.

The company, in conjunction with education consultancy, ideasLAB, surveyed 60 teachers and educators in a study into Australia’s first NBN-enabled schools. The report, 21st Century Teaching Strategies for a Highly Connected World, showed educational benefits are already flowing through to children in those schools connected to the NBN, with 86 per cent of teachers claiming high-speed broadband enables them to improve the way their lessons are delivered.

It also showed student participation and motivation, as well as academic performance has increased in schools connected to the NBN; 96 per cent of respondents said the NBN will allow students to increase the quality of their work. According to NBN Co. education general manager, Kate Cornick, more children will benefit from the NBN as the ongoing rollout of the network allows more schools across the country to connect to it.

Cornick suggested schools should embrace digital tools, such as better broadband, to ensure Australian students are not left behind the rest of the world.

“Every Australian home, business and school will be connected to the NBN by 2021 by fibre optic cable, fixed-wireless or satellite, with Internet speeds in line with countries such as Japan and South Korea,” she said.

Latest world rankings place Australia 21 out of 34 for fixed line broadband penetration, lagging behind New Zealand, Estonia and South Korea. “Most Australian educators understand the power of online learning and the benefits of high-speed broadband both at school, and increasingly in the home. The potential is extraordinary and it’s what we need if Australia is to remain globally relevant in the 21st century,” she mentioned.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 93 per cent of teachers said it will allow them to expand their personal learning networks.
  • 79 per cent said the availability of the NBN will lead to an increase in the quality and relevance of teaching.
  • 82 per cent of respondents said that the breadth, depth and relevance of their learning experiences will be increased.
  • 89 per cent said students will be able to engage in richer, deeper and more ambitious inquiry-based projects.
  • 93 per cent of teachers said students will be able to learn with and from others.

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