Transcript of the 'Voice of Schools' interactive video


This is the transcript of the Voice of Schools interactive video.


One of the core objectives of the Schools Digital Strategy is to empower and support schools in planning their digital journey, so they can effectively improve their students’ learning outcomes.

To achieve this, and better understand the diverse nature of digital usage, we held a series of interviews and workshops with schools across the state.

From these consultations, handbooks have been developed, outlining the key digital priorities of the school types involved.

Click on the pins on the map to learn more.

[End of narration]

Interactive elements:

Eight pins are displayed on the map, each pin representing a school cohort. When clicking a pin, information about the school cohort will be displayed on screen. Below is an overview of each of these cohorts:

Metro secondary

Our voice

Due to our socio-economic profile and mandate for equity, we do not run BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). 

We applied some creative staffing to ensure none of our teachers get caught up in student admin tasks.

We need trainers with pedagogy and technical expertise for our teachers. 

We backward map our student learning pathways which is central to our three-year plan. 

Our top 10 priorities

1. Activate professional learning and Communities of Practice for digital maturity. We want to embed digital solutions into our pedagogical model.

2. Make plans, set goals and solve digital issues by leveraging in-school professional support.

3. Digitise and improve processes with paperless and cashless solutions.

4. Contribute to and benefit from a blueprint guide featuring best-practice technology. 

5. Access role-based, integrated interfaces for a better user experience. 

6. Access all services from anywhere. Be cloud based. 

7. We want to search, in one place, for quality resources that reflect the latest curriculum developments and contemporary learning models.

8. Equip our schools with more robust Wi-Fi and better mobile services.

9. Provide digital resources and training for our leaders when embedding digital into our contemporary learning settings. 

10. Refresh our technology (smart boards, laptops and tablets) via an emergency fund.

Regional primary [Country primary]

Our voice

Digital needs to be a layer in our school plan. 

There is plenty of tech in schools, but 1. If it’s not working, teachers don’t have time to fix it, and 2. Teachers need face-to-face professional learning to use that technology most effectively.

Effective, one-hour, bite-sized e-learning modules on important digital learning areas would be useful. 

Professional learning needs to be integrated and practical, not a novel add-on.

NBN is not always available at our student’s homes. Some students only have a mobile phone. We need to think about access from anywhere.

Our top 10 priorities

1. Improve local IT support continuity.

2. Leverage in-school release times and bite-size resources to drive digital.

3. Develop a digital maturity plan championed by school leaders that sits in the Schools Excellence Framework (SEF).

4. Provide a digital solutions guide of what works best.

5. Access the digital tools and resources for future-focused learning.

6. Digitise burdensome processes to reduce double handling of information. 

7. Access user-friendly, integrated interfaces for a better user experience.

8. Experience secure, role-based access management that is simple.

9. Access all services from anywhere. Be cloud based and mobile-first.

10. Refresh our technology (smart-boards, laptops and tablets) via an emergency fund.

Small rural schools [Small schools]

Our voice

Our school has only two staff, so we team up with colleagues at other small schools across the Riverina. We recently adopted the MS Teams digital platform to support this collaboration. 

We avoid the SWS website building tool as there is not much training on it, and we have no time to build a website. We just send updates and photos directly to parents.

We sync our devices with OneDrive. However, iPads can be problematic. More compatible devices will help.

Device updates at home are a problem. They don’t always work.

Our phones were down during the rain.

Support with network coverage is required due to limited or no access at times.

Our top priorities

1. Digitise and improve processes that are burdensome. Most department administration systems do not suit small schools.

2. We need more user-friendly enterprise systems.

3. Support us in our new collaboration platform rollout.

4. We need local technical support to set goals, make plans and solve digital issues.

5. We need reliable internet and phone services. Week-long outages hamper our operations, impacting learning and teaching.

6. We need a guide of off-the-shelf digital solutions that work best for our setting.

7. Help us focus on learning and teaching.

8. Help us shift our professional learning focus.

Metro primary

Our voice

Our Schools Digital Strategy (SDS) forum is a really positive move forward by having the department listen to what’s happening in schools, hearing what principals want to see when it comes to technology and digital platforms at schools.

I can see the SDS connecting schools with what works well, freeing up key people at school to support digital, providing integrated school-based professional learning.

Many schools use third-party software. It's Important the SDS supports schools in accessing effective, easy-to-use software that teachers can effectively report across all key learning areas in primary and high school.

We discussed the role digital can play in facilitating peer-to-peer professional learning.

We need the technology to work and be easier to use to assist our core business – teaching and learning.

I think it’s great that the department is consulting principals on this new strategy. We are eager to implement easy-to-use software to manage attendance, reporting, marking, and all student administration functions. 

Our top 10 priorities

1. Digitise burdensome processes to reduce double handling of information. 

2. Migrate to role-based, unified digital environments that save time, providing more school-friendly workflows.

3. Connect with digital experts.

4. Leverage in-school professional support to set goals, make plans and solve digital issues.

5. Contribute to and build a digital blueprint guide of what works for schools that are similar to ours.

6. Better manage and administer access privileges and access to digital networks, resources, systems, tools and devices.

7. Migrate to the cloud.

8. Help us search, adapt, publish, share and rate digital teaching resources and lesson plans. 

9. Equip our schools and classrooms with Wi-Fi.

10. Refresh our technology (smart-boards, laptops and tablets) via an emergency fund.

Regional secondary [Country secondary]

Our voice

We need a clearly defined plan, the Schools Digital Strategy (SDS), to take us on the journey together allowing capacity for our school to make local adjustments.  

We want recommendations on what professional learning (PL) we should do rather than scrolling through the thousands of courses. 

It is about using technology to make learning engaging. School cannot function without a TSO (Technology Support Officer). And the TSO must be a teacher. 

The digital strategy needs to be included in the areas we are already looking to improve. 

That’s the biggest thing that is missing – how can we best teach with this technology? 

Budgeting RAM (Resource Allocation Model) does not reflect technological needs in schools. 

We don’t want to subscribe to standardised digital lesson plans.

Our top 10 priorities

1. Elevate teacher PL to leverage digital for future-focused learning.

2. Digitise and improve burdensome processes such as transferring student records.

3. Migration to role-based, unified digital environments that save time, and provide more school-friendly records management. 

4. Access a blueprint guide featuring best-practice technology. 

5. Leverage in-house professional support to set goals, make plans and solve digital issues.

6. Experience secure, role-based access management that is simple. 

7. Access all services from anywhere. Be cloud based and mobile-first. 

8. Access digital tools and resources through a digital resources store.

9. Fix burning issues such as Wi-Fi blind spots, “authority to travel” workflows, and simpler applications to hardware. 

10. Refresh our technology (smart boards, laptops and tablets) via an emergency fund.

Central [Rural Central]

Our voice

The Schools Digital Strategy (SDS) needs to be far more than a pilot program … it must meet our local needs.

We are here for the students but the technology systems are not always favourable.

We receive no communication from ITD (Information Technology Directorate), for example, when there are email issues on mobile devices. 

All our professional learning on the use of digital has been trial and error. 

We are self-taught to deal with technology and we problem solve on the fly.

We over-staff through our RAM (Resource Allocation Model) to have someone onsite who can address our technology issues.

We don’t like the training that is designed for big schools or the big packages. 

Logging into multiple platforms can be painful and time consuming.

Good pedagogy enabled through digital won’t come until the systems are in place.

Our top 10 priorities

1. Improve teacher professional learning to master digital for better student outcomes. Our students come first.

2. Digitise and improve processes with paperless and cashless solutions.

3. Our digital plan will draw upon local and SDS professional team support and will integrate with our ongoing three-year plan.

4. Access a blueprint guide that features technology that works best for schools like ours.

5. Provide a more school-friendly digital experience at our desk, classroom and on the go.

6. Fix all the seemingly small issues that slow us down such as password resets.

7. Access all services from anywhere. Be cloud based and mobile-first.

8. Access digital tools and resources through a digital resources store.

9. Create an effective collaboration environment.

10. Refresh our technology (smart-boards, laptops and tablets) via an emergency fund.

Connected Communities Schools

The Connected Communities Strategy (PDF 665KB) (CCS) is an innovative approach to address the educational and social aspirations of Aboriginal children and all young people in 15 schools in 11 of the most complex and vulnerable communities in NSW. 

The schools, all located in rural and regional areas, are:

    Boggabilla Central School

    Bourke High School

    Bourke Public School

    Brewarrina Central School

    Coonamble High School

    Coonamble Public School

    Hillvue Public School (Tamworth)

    Menindee Central School

    Moree East Public School

    Moree Secondary College

    Taree High School

    Taree Public School

    Toomelah Public School

    Walgett Community College

    Wilcannia Central School

View the Map of Connected Communities school areas (PDF 166KB)

Digital support priorities include easier access to Professional Learning; quicker access to digital support; a digital catalogue with pre-qualified options; and a simple application process for financial assistance for students with special needs.

Some of the CCS’s deliverables are:


    Aboriginal children are increasingly developmentally ready to benefit from schooling in their physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication.



    Aboriginal families and community members are actively engaged in the school.



    Attendance rates for Aboriginal students are equal to the state average.



    Aboriginal students are increasingly achieving at or above national minimum standards and overall levels of literacy and numeracy achievement are improving.



    Aboriginal students are staying at school until Year 12 (or equivalent training).

Schools in distinct settings

The NSW Department of Education operates more than 2200 schools across the state, and there are some schools that sit outside the seven common school types.

Each of the following schools in distinct settings have unique digital priorities:
Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs), Youth Justice schools and Hospital schools, Agricultural boarding schools, Environmental Education Centres, and Intensive English Centres. 

School for Specific Purposes (SSPs)

SSPs, also known as special schools, support students with intellectual disability, mental health disorder or autism spectrum disorder, physical disabilities or sensory impairment, and learning difficulties or behaviour disorder.

Our top priority

Increase our digital storage allocation for assessment.

Youth Justice schools

The department operates schools at each of the state’s six Youth Justice Centres so young offenders can continue their studies while at the centre, and learn skills to help them re-enter education, training or the workforce when they leave custody.

Our top priority

Provide an online walled garden for student learning.

Agricultural boarding schools

Farrer Memorial, Hurlstone, and Yanco agricultural high schools are NSW Government boarding schools with distinct digital needs.

Our top priority

Digitise and improve administration processes that are burdensome.

Environmental Education Centres (EECs)

EECs operate environment-related field learning and teaching experiences to integrate environmental education across subject areas.

Our top priority

Administration systems need to support our unique operation.

Hospital schools

They supply educational services for students who are inpatients in hospitals in NSW. Hospital schools provide an emotionally supportive environment, and assist students in returning to school after hospitalisation with as little disruption as possible.

Our top priority

At the time of this compilation, NSW hospital schools are dealing with the unique circumstances of COVID-19. We look forward to reconnecting to identify and share their digital priorities when the pandemic passes.

Intensive English Centres (IEC)

IECs and the Intensive English High School (IEHS) provide intensive English tuition to newly arrived students, aged 11 to 18, whose first language is not English.

Our top priority

Deliver equity and extending to the home.

[End of transcript.]

Learn more about Voice of Schools.