Education Network Australia (EdNA)


James Burgess, National Coordinator Online Education and Research, The Open Learning Technology Corporation, Science Park, Laffer Drive, Bedford Park, South Australia, 5042. Phone: +61 8 8406 2213 Fax: +61 8 201 7810 jburgess@oltc.edu.au


Keywords

Education Network Australia, EdNA, online, primary education, secondary education, vocational education and training, VET, tertiary education, WWW, World Wide Web, Open Learning Technology Corporation, OLTC, Commonwealth of Australia, states, territories.


Abstract

This paper describes the Education Network Australia, its goals, development and use by those involved in education and training in Australia.


What is EdNA?

Initiated by the Commonwealth in 1995, EdNA is a national process for cooperation between all sectors of the Australian education and training community, focussing on information technology. Its aim is to maximise the benefits of information technology for Australian education and training, and to avoid duplication of cost and effort between the various sectors and systems.

The governing body of EdNA is the Open Learning Technology Corporation (OLTC) which is a company owned by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers of Education and Training. At the end of 1996, Ministers agreed to new Articles of Association for the OLTC and a new representative structure for its Board to allow it to focus on its new role.

EdNA has prompted an unprecedented level of collaboration between the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, government and non-government schools, the vocational education and training (VET), higher education and adult and community education sectors.

One key result of this collaboration is the national EdNA Directory Service.

This World Wide Web (WWW) site is an Australian-developed directory of online education and training information and services.

The aim of the EdNA Directory Service is to allow users, especially teachers and students, to have a single point of entry to locate quality education and training information on the Internet.

However, to complete the development of the EdNA WWW site, the help of users is needed in adding high quality content and contributing ideas about ways in which the Directory Service can best meet the needs of educators and learners.

Now is the time for teachers, students and interested members of the Australian education and training community to contribute material and provide feedback to the EdNA Directory Service.

What is the Goal of EdNA?

An enormous amount of information is potentially available via the Internet, but is often difficult for individual users to locate. EdNA has been planned to take advantage of this information by aiming to provide:

As an additional benefit, by operating within the World Wide Web environment, the EdNA Directory Service can provide a global showcase for Australian education and training and a valuable means for linking with relevant international initiatives.

How will EdNA Develop?

From May to October 1997, an awareness campaign will encourage members of the education and training community to contribute good material to the EdNA Directory Service. In October, the EdNA Directory Service will be publicly launched to all Australians as a WWW site offering high quality education and training information within a well-organised structure.

The EdNA Directory Service will continue to improve as high quality education and training resources are added. This is an opportunity for Australian educators and students to make those education and training resources available nationally and internationally.

EdNA is Unique

The development of EdNA over the last two years has focussed on building a service which reflects the needs of the education and training community.

Much effort has been directed to developing a site which is technically at the leading edge. At the same time, effort has been directed towards establishing various rules and procedures to govern the ongoing development of this service. This has been done through the work of a wide range of committees with responsibilities for all education and training sectors and systems.

How can you use EdNA?

The information and examples presented here have been accessed through the EdNA Directory Service. Four examples of the kinds of material available have been provided to indicate something of the potential offered to students and teachers in their teaching and learning experiences and activities.

Imagine that you are a primary school teacher and you wish to find lesson plans dealing with the environment. Go to EdNA and carry out a search for 'lesson plans environment' using the simple or advanced search engine provided. Select the appropriate topic, in this case, Lesson Plans K-12 Environmental Resources on the Internet. At the next level a range of lesson plans for different topics and grade levels will be shown. Select the lesson plan you require, for example Air Quality Lesson Plans.

New opportunities for learning are offered by technology through collaborative activities, mentors online, connected learning, interactives and working with real data. An example of an activity which involves interactivity, collaboration, and the opportunity to work with real data can be found at the Wimmera Net's Currency Comparison Page. Students in a school in Victoria identified the number of hamburgers and cans of CocaCola that could be purchased with $5 Australian. Students in other parts of the world were then invited to see how much the equivalent of $5 Australian would buy in their currency. A conversion site provides students with a means of converting from one currency to another. Finally students have the opportunity to compare their results with those of other students around the world.

The EdNA Directory Service provides teachers with the opportunity to find, select, use or modify lesson plans developed for a wide variety of teaching areas and age levels. Instead of students spending huge amounts of time trying to locate information they require on the Internet, the EdNA Directory Service will provide the ideal place to search for resources, collaborate with other students in activities and discussion groups. Students will be offered browsing and searching options that will meet their needs and enable them to develop a high level of information processing skills as well as contribute to improved understanding in all learning areas.

For those interested in vocational education and training, EdNA provides ready access to national and international resources, education information and collaborative activities. For example, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) studies.

Using the EdNA Directory Service tertiary students, studying the theory of teaching and learning, can use the EdNA search engine to find useful sites. For example, a student wishing to obtain information about Operant Conditioning can enter the appropriate key words into the search engine and using information retrieval and research skills locate the required information. The example presented above provides relevant text, access to a QuickTime video clip of Skinner discussing his theory and references and resources for further study and investigation.

For teachers and students, the EdNA Directory Service offers a unique opportunity to use local, national and international resources in their work and to share their own ideas and resources with their colleagues. Once it is fully developed, the EdNA Directory Service will include an index and search capacity to a comprehensive range of resources that covers conferences and events, collaborative projects for students and teachers, forums for sharing information and ideas.

How you can help?

The EdNA Directory Service has been developed primarily to support members of the Australian education and training community. The opportunity to share good sites using EdNA is now possible.

There are many examples of good Australian education and training sites which have been developed by schools, VET institutions, universities, students, teachers and many other groups.

To suggest a good education and training site for EdNA, log onto the Internet and enter the following Internet address into the browser:

http://www.edna.edu.au/

When EdNA has loaded, you will notice a link to Suggest Items at the bottom of the menu on the left side of the screen. Click on Suggest Items and you will be prompted to supply relevant information on the site that you are suggesting.

If you have ideas about how EdNA could be improved or how the initiative could better respond to the needs of the education and training community, simply contact the EdNA Webdesk.

Ultimately, EdNA will become as useful as we all make it, together.


Copyright

James Burgess ©, 1997. The author assigns to Southern Cross University and other educational and non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grants a non-exclusive licence to Southern Cross University to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web and on CD-ROM and in printed form with the conference papers, and for the document to be published on mirrors on the World Wide Web. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.


[All Papers and Posters]


AusWeb97 Third Australian World Wide Web Conference, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore NSW 2480, Australia Email: "AusWeb97@scu.edu.au"