Page 5248 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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Education—electronic learning devices

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development: can you update the Assembly on delivery of the government’s commitment to provide an electronic learning device to all ACT public secondary school students?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for the question. I am very happy to provide an update to the Assembly on the rollout of devices in ACT public schools. At last year’s election ACT Labor made a commitment to give every public high school and college student access to a device in order to undertake their studies. This government is delivering on that commitment and, in fact, is ahead of schedule.

From term 1 2018, every year 7 to 11 student will receive an Acer Chromebook Spin 11, to be specific. This will make the ACT the first state or territory to provide a device to every school in the public system. The tender process for the program concluded at the end of October, and Datacom Systems Australia was selected to provide the devices. Education staff are currently trialling the rollout to ensure that the process is as smooth as it can be at the start of next year.

This program will also ensure that Canberra public secondary students will have up-to-date devices as they move through their schooling by providing new devices to new students when they start school. Chromebooks are coming to our schools ahead of time, and they are enabling all students to take advantage of technology-enabled learning.

MS ORR: Minister, how will these devices support students towards great learning outcomes at school?

MS BERRY: Giving every student a Chromebook will ensure that students have access to the textbooks of today. The rollout seeks to bridge the equity gap by giving every secondary student a Chromebook for learning. Every secondary student in Canberra public schools will have the same device irrespective of family or financial circumstances. Our students expect to be able to learn anywhere, at any time and stay connected through wi-fi available at schools, libraries and across the city.

There are significant advantages to rolling out a single device as the standard across all classes. One is that teachers will not need to be experts in every platform or be spending valuable time troubleshooting multiple devices. It will give our teachers and school leaders the chance to assess how best to utilise them in the classroom and look at ways that this can be delivered through the curriculum that can be assisted by the technology.

The full potential of these devices is yet to be realised as we open our learning spaces to this universal device. The provision of Chromebooks will provide support to every student and ensure that technology is not a barrier when it comes to public education in the ACT.

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