Telstra has been tapped by the Victorian Department of Education and Training to help schools in Victoria transition to learning from home.
The telco assisted in rolling out equipment, connectivity and digital platforms like Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Teams, to enable “virtual classrooms” where students can access their teachers’ online learning resources from home.
Telstra group executive for enterprise Michael Ebeid said this initiative will help students and parents who can’t afford or don’t have access to digital technology.
“Just as technology is enabling businesses to keep running during this period, it also has the potential to empower our kids to continue learning, even if they’re not even physically in a classroom,” Ebeid said in a blog post.
The Victorian government will loan more than 6000 laptops and tablets to students without access to digital technology, while individual schools will also loan out some of their own gear where needed to ensure all students have access.
To ensure internet connectivity, Telstra will also provide 4000 SIM cards for government primary and secondary school students, with the state government also purchasing an extra 1000 SIM-enabled dongles.
The SIMs and dongles will be prioritised to senior secondary students, students in bushfire affected areas, and families who cannot afford an internet connection at home.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said, “I know this year will be different to any that students, teachers and families have experienced before – but we are making sure that our kids still get the education they deserve.”
“We’ve done the work and planning so we’re ready to make the move to remote and flexible learning, and I want to thank everyone involved for their dedication to our kids’ education at this unprecedented time.”
The state government announced today that most of the students within the state will be educated from home starting from Term 2, which starts next week. It covers all Victorian government primary, secondary and special schools.
The decision is part of the state government’s plan to fight the Coronavirus pandemic through physical distancing measures.
The measures have also moved the timeline for the issuance of Victorian Certificates of Education (VCEs), with exams and tests moved towards the end of the year and assessment tasks eased to facilitate the transition to remote learning.