Education is seen as one of the key sectors that will benefit from developments in the digital economy, but so far the results of adaptation have been mixed. While new ICT gear has entered the classroom it is being used within the traditional classroom learning system. In order to fully utilise these new technologies a true sector transformation will need to take place.
Good examples can be seen in developing economies where there are little or no traditional systems in place. There, for example, children are using smartphone apps and the internet to bypass these traditional systems and are basically using the new technology for self-education. Schools are then adapting to these new circumstances. Freely available educational material from many school and university websites around the world is assisting this development.
It is most unlikely that the traditional education system will be able to cater for the massive requirements that lie ahead of society in relation to the rapid changes in skill and knowledge requirements. Digital adaptation will be needed to break through the old structures.
Perhaps far more threatening are the many social and economic changes that are taking place in society. Not only is the traditional education system ill-equipped for this transformational process, the costs involved in running such a system are simply no longer economically viable.
The use of IT and telecommunications technology within educational environments is set to further increase dramatically over the coming years as high-speed broadband becomes widely available in Australia. Simultaneously, the capability of internet services dedicated to e-education purposes is set to increase enormously over the next decade as well. Australia, with its large landmass and relatively small population, is an ideal market for remote education services, and as such Australia is home to many successful e-education service providers, as well as being a relatively important export market for e-education services.
Rather than addressing the education system by making it more expensive, government policies should be directed to make the system more efficient, e-education can play a key role in this.
AARNet upgrades fourth-generation cable infrastructure to facilitate 10Gb/s access to research institutions; National Broadband Network (NBN), e-education, e-learning, trans-sector, data usage, digital revolution, eBooks, iPads, iBooks, virtual classroom, online training, Notebooks, Think-pads, remote laptops, Massive Open Online course (MOOC), MySchool 2.0, Cloud9 Classroom.
Companies mentioned in this report include:
Telstra, Cisco, TAFE, UNE, Australian Government, AARNet, Tecala Group, ideasLAB, Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), Libraries Australia, Australian Computer Society (ACS)