Regional schools connected through tech upgrade

Friday, 06 August, 2021

Regional schools connected through tech upgrade

Students in regional Australia will receive the same access to technology as their city counterparts, as part of a NSW-wide upgrade.

Following the successful pilot program in the Dubbo, Narrabri and northern border regions, 1000 rural and remote public schools are now receiving a top-to-bottom digital upgrade.

It will connect students and teachers to world-class resources through cutting-edge learning and teaching technology.

This upgrade for all regional schools in NSW is ahead of schedule, with stages two and three of the historic $365.8 million Rural Access Gap program now underway.

“The Rural Access Gap Program will provide our rural and remote schools with superior connectivity, unparalleled in the country,” said John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW.

“This means that teachers in our regions have the tools, training and support they need to deliver lessons in ways not possible before. This is about ensuring students have access to an education without boundaries.”

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Rural Access Gap program connected students and teachers to the best educational resources available through cutting-edge learning and teaching technology.

“Our commitment to regional students is that they have equal access to educational resources and modern equipment, no matter where they live,” Mitchell said.

“Technology allows us to do this. More than 30,000 devices, including laptops and videoconferencing facilities, will be added to the network as part of the first round, with more to follow.”

Along with internet enhancements, the program will provide learning space and platform upgrades, more external and on-site tech support, simplified admin processes, targeted training, better tools and more time to focus on students.

The availability of dedicated devices and faster connectivity improves teachers’ productivity in terms of lesson planning, preparation and assessment.

Teachers will also have access to digital resources that can be readily incorporated in their digital learning environment and easily shared with students.

“I’ve heard first-hand from teachers who have said this technology has changed their lives and is making great teaching easier to deliver,” Mitchell said.

“These digital investments will result in superior connectivity to enable our best educators to collaborate and share their expertise with colleagues across the state.”

Image caption: Connected classrooms — Dubbo Public School was part of the Rural Access Gap trial.

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