The 2010 IT predictions are in, with many hot favourites including: Cloud computing, OER, Mobile devices and virtualisation (including gesture based interfaces). And of course the Gartner and Horizon reports are always grounded and set the script for the IT agendas. So what’s on NSW DET’s ‘technology radar? A couple of themes are prominent- in sum its all about joining the dots on many disparate initiatives including the DER, CCP , TeLs, schools websites and SALM projects.
1. Systemised/enterprise social networking opportunities. While teachers and students have had access to social networking tools in their own practises, DET is rolling out tools such as blogs, eBacpack and wikis, and other collaborative tools which are integrated into the technical, and policy frameworks of the Dept. Some of these tools such as BlogEd when going into full release before end of Term 1, will offer unique pedagogical opportunities for the use of such tools. Of course TAFE and many schools have accessed these tools for many years now- but it’s the integration of these into backend ID systems, notifications, email, filtering services, and policy framework – which should give them the edge (hopefully not encumbering them).
2. Accessible computing. The NSW DER goes into its second year rolling out the next gen (S2) of netbooks to Year 9 in Term 2. Accessibility through single login, network upgrades and via wireless networks are getting some way towards a school version of ‘ubiquitous’ computing.
3. Shared services. This has been a frustration & driver for most of the centrally deployed IT solutions over the past few years. Integration of administration systems (SALM) including access management, common ID recognition , group aggregators (for building groups from core data), common services such as search, notifications eg email/RSS. Content management will also feature via Sharepoint solutions, the associated learning tools media library and the VLE Equella CMS. TaLe continues to thrive and is set for a new release; including saved links, creating resource lists & resource sharing for release shortly.
4. Personalisation– approach with most DET applications . User tagging & sharing, skin customisation, shared personal resources, options for allowing moderation and general administration by teachers, widget selection, etc. Ability for user feedback directly incorporated into the tools, to better inform managers. TaLe achieved this some years ago providing users of their search engine the opportunity to provide the TaLe team with information regarding the success of the tool- great example of keeping these tools directly informed by the users.
5. Integrated platforms for learning. The use of Moodle is becoming a foundation IT platform in both schools and TAFE. While TAFE have widely adopted Moodle as their LMS of choice schools are quickly catching up, systemising its management on a local basis. Equella and sharepoint also figure in this mix as important components of any VLE architecture.
6.User Generated Content (UGC). At last DET seems to be formally grappling with its interpretation of UGC and accepting the need for accommodating its use, storage and discovery within their systems.
7. Policy conformance through application systems. Enforcement of privacy, duty of care and copyright are all a high priority for these systems. BlogEd for instance has invested heavily to ensure users and owners of blogs have moderation options, report concern, access levels, role privileges & copyright management built in.
8. Usage metrics– standby for the proliferation of dashboards attached to every application. Learning tools, storage solutions and portals will all have metrics and feedback, notification services linked into their interface. Hopefully its at the portal end that users will have access to ‘parent dashboard’ systems; to incorporate any aspects of the ‘child’ systems information to manage their own tools.