Learn anywhere

The use of technology in schools has changed a lot in recent years. In this update, provided by the Education Directorate, we hear about online learning tools which the Directorate has provided to all ACT public schools.

Digital Learning opens up an exciting world of learning opportunities for your child. Students can use a range of technologies to access information, resources, software and tools that can support and enhance their learning activities. Familiarity with these technologies will allow students to develop the skills they will need when they enter the workforce.

Digital technologies also enable you, as parents and carers, to have greater involvement in your child's learning. Your child will be using technology both in the classroom and at home to connect and collaborate with their peers and to share their work with you, their teachers and other learners.

The use of digital technologies also enables your child to learn anywhere and at any time. Teachers will also have greater access to learning resources to develop their own skills and help them plan and provide activities.

The Education and Training Directorate (ETD) provides access to quality digital resources through its learning website: Digital Backpack. Your child can access thousands of educational resources from around the world including websites, videos, images, audio and more - all quality assured by teachers.

Your child can discover, engage with and learn about subjects and ideas supporting their classroom activities and use the Digital Backpack to expand their learning by exploring new areas of interest.

Some of the terminology may be new to you. So here is a quick overview.

SchoolsNET – ETD's secure computer network

All ACT public schools benefit from one of the highest speed education networks in Australia called SchoolsNET. Students are provided with a secure personal login that enables them to log into any public school computer. Students can also access the secure wireless network in any of our ACT public schools with the same username and password. They can also do this on their own device.

Digital Backpack

Our online learning platforms are provided in a portal called the Digital Backpack. The Backpack allows students to access their learning at school, at home, and through publicly available Wi-Fi on their own device.

The Backpack is only accessible by school users. Your child's account is managed by ACT government identity systems providing enhanced security and a safe and supported online environment.

The Digital Backpack provides students with safe and secure access to a range of first-class, online learning platforms including the following.

Google Apps for Education

This is a cloud-based education platform offering online productivity tools for learning and classroom collaboration. The platform provides unlimited cloud storage for teachers and students. Student email is also provided.

Microsoft Office 365

The full Microsoft Office software suite is available online including online storage. Students can download the latest version of Office Pro Plus on five different personal devices.

eBooks in Oliver Library

There are currently 2499 eBooks and 225 Audio books available for students and teachers. Your child can borrow eBooks at school, home or anywhere on any device with an internet connection. Students can borrow up to five items at a time with a loan period of two weeks.

MyLearning (LIFE)

This online learning environment has a range of digital collaborative tools such as blogs, wikis and forums that are suitable for students. It is hosted internally under the supervision of teachers.

Cyber-safety help button

This provides students with cyber-safety information and resources on cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams, fraud and offensive or inappropriate material.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

ETD have achieved the appropriate balance of providing students with the technology and learning platforms they want to use, including tablets and phones, set up in a way that is safe and secure.

Protecting Privacy

The protection of your child's personal information is a high priority. As a parent you are provided with information from your child's school so you can make an informed choice prior to the service being enabled for your child.

Some services are only made available once the school has received your consent. Any online service that requires any personally identifiable information to be collected, disclosed or stored externally, must follow this process.

To find out more about how your child's learning will be enhanced, visit the Learn Anywhere section of ETD's website. ●

Zoe McMahon, Education & Training Directorate

Editor's Note: If you have questions about how these technologies are being used in your school, contact your school, raise it at a P&C meeting or contact Council.

This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 2, 2015. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine.