Government grants $27m to NBN-enabled education projects

Schools, TAFEs and universities have received funding under a government program worth $27 million

The Federal Government has handed $27 million in grants to 12 education and training projects which utilise the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The grants have been awarded under the NBN Enabled Education and Skills Services Program to primary schools, high schools, TAFEs and universities which use new technologies to offer better access to education and training opportunities to students.

“These projects will give Australian students the learning tools they need for success in today’s digital world,” Peter Garrett, minister for school education, said in a statement.

“Nine of the 12 projects that have been successful in receiving funding involve schools, which will greatly increase the learning potential of students and broaden the skill-set of teachers using the new technologies.”

The Australian Youth Orchestra has received funding under the program for its $1.5 million Digital Connection Trial which uses the NBN to support video communication between city and regional and remote areas for interviews, live auditions and masterclasses for students.

New South Wales’ Biomedical Education Skills and Training (BEST) network also received funding for a $3 million biomedical education, skills and training project using Smart Sparrow software. The project will provide virtual classrooms and laboratories for medical, nursing and surgery students at university.

“This network will provide virtual classrooms, simulation and an online sharing platform that supports virtual laboratories, digital pathology and connections to medical specialists, in order to address workforce and indigenous healthcare issues in remote and regional Australia,” said Chris Evans, minister for tertiary education and skills.

Monash University's, in partnership with the John Monash Science School and Pearson Australia, NBN Virtual School of Emerging Sciences will allow experts from the university to connect with Year 10 students.

Other projects which have received funding under the program include:

• Sydney Opera House for From Bennelong Point to the nation
• Association of Australian Independent Schools of NSW for NBN and Independent Schools in Australia – Transforming the education digital supply chain
• University of New South Wales for Education 2020: enabling learning in science, engineering and mathematics
• Gordon Institute of TAFE for the remote delivery of school based traineeships to regional and rural students in Victoria
• University of Wollongong for the Graduate School of Medicine Telehealth Skills Training and Implementation Project
• TAFE NSW Hunter Institute for eLinks: enabling TAFE training
• Bendigo Senior Secondary College for the Victorian Virtual Learning Network
• Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE for the Diabetes Health and Wellness Program
• University of New England for Asia ConneXions utilising HD videoconferencing

"The chosen projects take advantage of the NBN’s fast and reliable broadband to deliver education opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to most students in regional and remote Australia,” said Senator Stephen Conroy, minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy.

More than 150 grant applications were received.

The NBN Enabled Education and Skills Services Program is initially focused on projects in NBN early-release sites.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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