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Ms. Paula Christophersen, Manager of the VCE Information Technology, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, presented a paper outlining the country’s implementation of ICT in education.

Policy On The Use Of ICT In Education

At the federal level, the Commonwealth Government seeks to achieve two overarching school education goals for the information economy:

1. All students will leave school as ‘confident, creative and productive users of new technologies, particularly information and communications technologies, and understand the impact of those technologies on society’

2. All schools will seek to integrate ICT into their operations, to improve student learning, to offer flexible learning opportunities and to improve the efficiency of their business applications

At the state level, specifically Victoria, schools implementing a Learning Technologies Plan should result in schools’:

  • Having access to ICT and curriculum products as part of the school’s educational programme
  • Being routine, competent and discriminate users of ICT in the daily programmes of the school,
  • Developing skills in the use of ICT, and
  • Showing leadership and innovation in the use of ICT.

Financial Resources And Partners

The capital expenditure by State governments and the Federal government for ICT in government schools, 1999 to 2000, was:

1. The Queensland government committed A$ 59.4 millions to ICT in education for 2003 to 2004, and an additional A$ 35 million to improving ICT access and the ICT skills of students and teachers.

2. Victoria implemented initiatives to support schools in achieving the governments objectives, which include:

  • A $20 million being made available through 1:3 subsidies
  • State-wide licensing of products and software
  • SOFNet, a satellite television network to meet the needs of students and school communities
  • VicOne (wide area network) so schools will have access to a minimum of 64 kbps ISDN line at no cost to schools
  • An e-mail account for every principal and school council president (up to 3 million messages sent each month at no cost to schools)
  • The establishment of seven navigator schools to provide accessible working models of educational environment incorporating ICT, and
  • Net Day, which uses corporate sponsorship to network classrooms so that students can obtain enhanced access to the Internet

Scope Of ICT Use In Education

Education systems must comply with the National Goals of Schooling for the Twenty-First Century and the National Profiles and Statements, and organise their curriculum around these eight key learning areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology
  • The Arts
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Languages other than English
  • Studies of Society and the Environment

Manner Of Introducing ICT In Schools And Non-Formal Education

At the national level, the EdNA website provides an electronic community for sharing information and resources in the area of ICT in education.

The Department of Education and Training in Education and Training in Victoria supports the successful use of ICT in education through a range of initiatives, including:

The IdeaBank, a database of teaching and learning strategies to help students achieve CSF (Curriculum Standards Framework) learning outcomes. Teachers submit ideas, which are vetted. This project is similar to the Global Classroom project in that it encourages the culture of collegial sharing and support.

The Victoria government has a Curriculum and Standards Framework (CSF), developed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority ( which identifies what students should know and be able to do in the eight key learning areas from Preparatory Year to Year 10. Within these key learning areas, the major knowledge and skills are arranged into strands: within the Technology Key Learning Area are three strands: Information, Materials, and Systems.

At each level for each strand, the major content is identified in the curriculum focus, and the standards that students are expected to demonstrate are identified in the learning outcomes, for which indicators are provided to inform teachers of the evidence they should look for in student performance.

Professional Development

The Federal Government of Australia has a tradition of supporting the professional development of its educators, and provides continuous training through a range of programmes.

The local government of Victoria conducts professional development opportunities for teachers through which to develop confidence and competence in the use of ICT in education. These teacher-training programmes span three key areas: computer software skills, curriculum development, and classroom management (curriculum delivery, assessment, and reporting).

State-wide programmes include: Computers Across the Primary Curriculum (a train-the-trainer programme, 18 hours), Computer Across the Secondary Curriculum (a train-the-trainer programme, 18 hours), and Learning with the Internet (a train-the-trainer programme, 12 hours).

Schools conduct their own programmes, which include: Navigator School Programmes and Leading Practice Programmes.

Teachers avail of self-paced learning materials in the CD-ROM format.

There are programmes for school leaders: Using Basic Computer Applications, Learning Technology Planning for School Leaders, and Computer and Technology Skills for Leaders.

The various education department agencies provide their on-line activities for teachers. The Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association ( and the Information and Communication Technology in Education ( are among these agencies.


In 1998, Victoria started a programme to encourage teachers integrate the use ICT into teaching and administrative tasks. The programme, the Notebooks for Teachers and Principals, provided notebook computers to these educators through an affordable lease scheme (A$ 150 year for three years) and on the condition that they take courses in professional development (40 hours in the first year) and to use the notebook in their teaching.

By November 1998, 29% of Australia’s teachers had a notebook computer. By November 2000, the number had grown to 80%, and by July 2001, to 91.7% of teachers. Evaluations eventually showed that the number of teachers using a computer at home and at school had grown (from 52% to 77% of teachers). Classroom use of computers by teachers grew by half, from 36% to 50% of the programme participants. Also, teachers with notebooks routinely used computers 20% more than their counterparts who had none. A year 2000 report showed that 37% of school computers were in laboratories and 31% were in classrooms. Laptops comprised 16% of all school computers, and secondary schools had lower student/computer ratios than primary schools.

A February 2002 study shows that in Victoria, the average computer: student ratio was 1:3.9 (the highest in Australia). This study also indicated that 88% of schools had a computer/student ratio of 1:5. Presently, Australia’s schools have a total of 136,000 computer units.

The bandwidth available to schools carries from state to state, and the type of connections to the Internet ranges from ISDN (the most common) to ADSL: some schools even have cable and satellite Internet. Majority of schools have either a 64 kbps or a 128 kbps ISDN line. In Western Australia, the majority of schools have 64kbps dial on-demand connections, and in the Northern Territories, schools have 400 kbps satellite connections. Some states, specifically Western Australia, will soon implement a rollout programme to provide 10 Mbps bandwidth connections to metropolitan schools, 2 Mbps to regional high schools, and 512 kbps to regional primary schools.

Evaluations and Indicators

The Ministerial Council of Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) is looking into the use of performance measures for student achievement relating to new technologies. MCEETYA also conducted a survey on students’ IT skills in information processing and computing.

The University of Sydney conducted research investigating the changes in student performances after integrating ICT into education. Key findings include:

  • ICT increased student engagement, enthusiasm and motivation,
  • More student-centred learning took place
  • Students’ higher-order thinking skills improved
  • Changes occurred in the teaching practice
  • Ability to use emerging technologies improved

Problems And Issues

Some of the problems encountered by schools in the implementation of ICT in education were: the cost of infrastructure, unreliability of hardware, lack of management support, teacher reluctance to embrace change, lack of graded professional development, lack of strategies and criteria for assessment of non-cognitive outcomes (such as social and affective development, workplace competencies)

One problem area faced by schools is connectivity and broadband connection, specifically relating to price, availability, management issues and technical support problems.