Clever use of ICT - vision and implementation

Clever use of ICT at Coonara

Upon completion of their project, the team was asked to share their vision of a
clever use of ICT at their centre.

At Coonara:

  • a clever use of ICTs will mean that we offer our students a blended mode of delivery across the full range of our programs accredited and non- accredited.
  • a clever use of ICTs could mean that we can reach students beyond the local geographic community and in doing so could increase our financial viability (sustainability).

Clever use - what could it look like?

Coonara sees access to a community domain as a key way of engaging the community, as it will allow local community groups to communicate with each other. Many volunteer organisations have trouble remaining viable.

At Coonara purchased access to a private label wiki, and this has made a difference- given them a lot of scope. It has the potential to bring together all the wikis created in the organisation, under one umbrella domain name - which helps with consistency and branding.

Coonara will also buy laptops that will increase access to computers across the organisation. Computer room access is limited. Wireless is set up in the building. The laptops will give students access to online materials any whre in the building, and will facilitate hands on use of computers in the class.
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Coonara only has 1 data show at the moment. They want to purchase wireless data shows , as they are PC free. Teachers have real problems to set up the more traditional ones. The staff are confident that that will increase the usage if ICTs across the organisation..

The staff are also exploring Learner Management Systems for blended learning that incorporate wikis.

Coonara's biggest challenge

Coonara's biggest challenge in impelmenting this vision is resourcing, particularly the lack of sufficent data shows and the teacher training to use the technology as well as the money to buy the resources.
Coonara has deliberately worked at maintaining and developing a stable workforce, with a strategic approach to funding by building on funded projects and giving teachers change to learn and grow. For the size of the organisation Coonara is very well off in terms of skills and knowledge. They have critical mass - "enough people with the skills to match the enthusiasm."


Enablers

1. Involvement with LearnScope and TAFE frontiers projects over the past 5 years, has provided an excellent foundation.
2. Subequent LearnScope and participation in other national Framework projects (Media on the Move and Connecting the Dots) has helped to extend the skills and embed technology into teaching practice across the organisation..
3. Coonara achieved this through working in partnership with others organisations. This is a great strategy to build capacity together, particularly in the early stages.
4. The organisation has an e-learning champion. This has taken time to develop and embed, approximately 4 years.
5. The organisation has now reached a stage where they can move beyond the PD and really get into delivery and build online courses. They are now looking at the full range of programs and are starting to embed. This project has demonstrated that Coonara is moving beyond PD and into the delivery by embedding blended learning across the organisation.
6. An organisational commitment to the staff is very important, i.e. the e-learning champion has been given paid time to complete the Dip E-learning with a view to using the skills in online facilitation for blended courses at the centre.