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The NBN to help produce A-grade students, study finds

A new report commissioned by NBN Co has pointed to potential for students to produce higher quality work with the aid of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The study, 21st Century Teaching Strategies for a Highly Connected World, was carried out over three months between June and August 2012 by ideasLAB.

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ideasLAB is a public private partnership between the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems, the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education, Hume City Council and Victoria University.

It surveyed 60 teachers at PLC Armidale in NSW, the TAFE in Armidale and Willunga High School in South Australia, with eight weekly online sessions taken by teachers to expose them to new online technology.

The survey found 95 per cent of teachers believe the NBN will help students to improve the quality of their work.

"The NBN has facilitated a revolutionary change in the delivery of content and co-contribution of learning input. Students who used to hand in C-grade work are now producing A-grade work," Janelle Reimann, principal of Willunga High School, said in a statement.

A total of 86 per cent of teachers believe the NBN will improve lesson delivery.

"The NBN is helping to break down the walls of the classroom. We found that online, collaborative learning supported by fast, ubiquitous broadband is motivating our children to become even more engaged and successful in the subjects they learn," said Richard Olsen, ideasLAB assistant director.

"Australia's teachers need to re-imagine the pedagogical, technical and contextual consequences now that arise from teaching and learning in this new environment. By embracing the opportunities the NBN allows educators can deepen the learning experience and improve educational outcomes in Australia."

Science students are using the NBN to connect with academics at the University of New South Wales' Museum of Human Disease via high definition video conferencing.

Theatre company Bell Shakespeare has also held online workshops with Willunga High School drama students, which was facilitated by a video link through the school's NBN connection.

The federal government has been pushing NBN opportunities for education.

In August last year it handed out $27 million in grants to 12 education and training projects which utilise the NBN under the NBN Enabled Education and Skills Services Program to primary schools, high schools, TAFEs and universities.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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