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Backing Australia's online ability.



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Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training

Media release

BACKING AUSTRALIA’S ONLINE ABILITY

MIN 15/02, 4 March 2002

I offer my congratulations to five Australian companies that will be helping Australian students develop Information Technology skills. Four of the companies will work towards boosting online Science curriculum content in schools while the fifth commences development of the technical infrastructure.

These companies were successful in the recent round of tenders to develop Science materials and infrastructure development for The Le@rning Federation - Schools Online Curriculum Content Initiative.

Online curriculum content won’t replace books, libraries or the Internet but it is a rich, versatile, electronic medium to supplement teacher resources.

Teachers can tailor materials for students in a stimulating, thought provoking way to help create interest and excitement in the classroom. They can convey hard to understand or difficult to illustrate processes.

In the area of Science, students will be able to see, for example, how a whale feeds or a volcano explodes.

The four multimedia companies which will develop online curriculum content in Science are: • Acumen Multimedia Pty Ltd, in collaboration with Kibaha Publishers, located in Melbourne • Crank Media Pty Ltd, in collaboration with E-magine, Centre for Excellence in Online

Learning, Hobart • Learning Curve Pty Ltd in collaboration with Australian Science Teachers Association, Canberra • QANTM Australia CMC in collaboration with Access Education, Education Queensland,

Brisbane.

A fifth company, Dytech Solutions Pty Ltd, in Hobart, will develop supporting infrastructure.

In the future, school students across the country will be able to access these high quality online curriculum materials to assist their learning process and hone their computer skills.

Parents will also recognise the benefits as individual student needs are catered for and results are improved.

More than $68 million is being directed to the initiative over the next five years. The States and Territories are matching the Commonwealth contribution of $34.1 million.

The Commonwealth commitment to supporting national collaboration in developing online curriculum materials for Australian schools was announced in January as part of Backing Australia’s Ability, which outlined the Government’s innovation action plan for the future.

There will be further tenders over the next three years for content development in: literacy, numeracy and mathematics, Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese languages, studies of Australia, and innovation, enterprise and creativity. More information is available online at: www.thelearningfederation.edu.au

For further information: Dr Nelson’s Office Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

DEST Laila Lacis 0412 040 034

The Le@rning Federation Joint Venture Sue Mann (03) 92079650

ATTACHMENT TO MEDIA RELEASE

Backing Australia's Online Ability

What is the curriculum online?

Curriculum content online is resource material that relies on computers as a delivery mechanism. It has huge potential for education because of its versatility. It offers more ways to conceptualise learning and allows teachers and students to experiment and to manipulate material as they learn not only about the subject matter but also about how to make the best use of computers. Teachers can tailor materials for groups of students or for individual students in a stimulating, thought provoking way, facilitating interest and engagement in the learning process.

Where is it heading?

Online curriculum content won’t replace books, nor will it replace students talking or doing or observing. It won’t replace research using the Internet, the library or any other form of student research. It certainly won’t replace the teacher. What it will do is allow students to have a rich resource that can be adapted to their learning needs in a medium that is exciting and challenging.

What practical applications will it have for parents/teachers/students?

High quality online curriculum resources will make it possible to convey concepts that are otherwise difficult to explain or demonstrate, such as the use of an idiom in a language other than English. It will also allow teachers to illustrate processes that are dangerous or difficult to reproduce in the classroom. In the area of science, students will be able to see, for example, how a whale feeds, a volcano explodes or reactions between chemicals that lead to explosive mixes or toxic by-products. Experiments that require repetition for proof or testing, such as the passage of light through a prism, will be available to students without needing to have the infrastructure to support these experiments. Finally, ideas that require connections to be made beyond the experience of the learner, such the nuances of Shakespeare’s poetry, will be able to be illustrated to students in the classroom.

Parents will also recognise the benefits of online curriculum resources. Students will have access to relevant quality assured materials. Teachers and students will be able to access curriculum resources that accommodate individual student needs. The use of online curriculum resources will also assist in improving learning outcomes.