Dubbo Proof of Concept
The Rural Access Gap program proof of concept (POC) covered 29 schools in the Dubbo, Narrabri, and Northern Border Region as part of Release 1 of the program. It's now been rolled out to more than 1,000 schools.
Dubbo Public School: A case study
One of the 29 schools who participated in the POC was Dubbo Public School. We spoke to the school's staff about how the program has impacted them and their 500-plus students.
Students get faster internet
Prior to upgrade Dubbo Public School had a 50Mbps WAN and 100Mbps internet service, this was increased as part of Telstra upgrade to 100Mbps WAN and 3,000Mbps internet service (1967% increase).
On average, each student now has more than 5Mbps of network connectivity (a key program target) which allows them access to online learning and other digital opportunities for a more engaging school experience.
Greater student access to devices
Students will benefit from improved access to devices, delivered in tandem with the annual T4L Computer Equipment Rollout.
Under the Rural Access Gap program, Dubbo Public School received 43 student devices and 28 teacher devices. So far, the program has delivered more than 22,000 student devices across rural and remote schools.
More devices for teachers
More than 17,800 teachers across more than 1,000 NSW public schools now have access to a dedicated portable device as part of the program.
The new devices enable teachers to streamline lesson planning and will open up opportunities for greater collaboration, and personalised flexible learning.
“Having a portable device means I can incorporate technology into my lessons whenever, wherever I like,” Assistant Principal and teacher Deborah Duffy said.
Improved learning spaces for schools
Dubbo Public School received 27 new Main Learning Displays to enhance their learning spaces.
“It’s just very interactive and flows nicely. It fits in well with how I’m planning teaching," Dubbo Public School teacher Stacey Barlow said.
“We use the Main Learning Display a lot in maths groups. I ask students to come up and draw things on the board and to show me how they’ve worked out their answers. It’s a really good way to incorporate student voice into a lesson.”
Mentoring by a Digital Classroom Officer
DCOs play an important role in building the capacity of staff in each school in the Rural Access Gap program, sharing useful resources and providing one-on-one mentoring to colleagues.
They will also form a sustainable community of practice by capturing and sharing examples of strong classroom practice and pedagogies with other DCOs.
Dubbo Public School received funding to appoint teacher-librarian Robyn Veugen, as the Digital Classroom Officer, one day a week throughout 2021.
Guidance by the Digital Support Team
The Digital Support Team (DST) provides needs-based support to schools at all stages of digital maturity, and tailored assistance to make the most of the digital opportunities available to them.
The DST provides training, guidance and direct assistance to teachers to help them select and integrate the digital tools and resources that best suit their teaching strategies.
“Right from the start, the support has been absolutely amazing. From the rollout of all the technology right up to the appointment of the DCO,” Debbie Pritchard, Principal at Dubbo Public School, said.
“They have just been there the whole time helping us through this process.”
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