How the NBN can revolutionalise the education landscape

It used to be that your staple educational resources came from a textbook and the teacher standing in front of you, lecturing about a topic while you wrote notes on the paper in front of you. Those days are long gone. Textbooks just don’t cut it anymore. And as we move towards a more technologically-driven working society, neither does having to sit in a classroom during the current typical weekday school hours. As technology increasingly pervades education, we have the opportunity to develop more immersive and interactive digital education models.

An end to copper

Aussies are facing an ultimate challenge – how can we access abounding digital resources without an internet connection that provides seamless speed and reliability? The country’s current copper wire network provides inconsistent speeds and service. Factors such as a home’s distance from a telephone network exchange can hinder people from accessing online education at home. That immediately creates a digital divide between urban students and those in outer regional and rural parts of the country. Building a fibre optic network allows us to send greater amounts of data much faster and at a much higher quality than we currently can.

The NBN offers endless education opportunities

The National Broadband Network will offer the first opportunity for students to take true advantage of digital education assets. Students could stream live video from locations around the world, and interact with other schools in real time through video capabilities. Textbooks could be delivered as high-quality, searchable files that can be more easily cross-referenced. While many university students already have access to live or recorded lectures, primary and secondary students could also benefit from these resources to better process the day’s learnings. Uni students would also have greater ability to actually access those videos from home and watch them with less load lag and buffering, signal disruption or loss of quality while viewing at home. With NBN Co’s promise to build the fibre optic technology into the country’s regional and rural networks, the NBN offers a greater number of potential students from these regions the ability to access education without having to leave their hometowns.

Through a pilot broadband program the University of Melbourne allowed medical students to view a virtual 3D surgery over Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). That was back in 2010. Imagine the developments in education if more students could access these kinds of learning experiences from home. It could even open up more opportunities to study online through international educators.

Australia’s current copper network is holding us back from achieving these possibilities. And that’s not even an exclusive list. We stand to dramatically improve education by having access to the National Broadband Network.

Bridging the digital divide

The National Broadband Network will attempt to bridge the divide between rural, regional and metropolitan. Current coverage to regional and rural areas provides inconsistent internet access, which limits a student’s ability to receive a worldly education. Using the NBN, students in these areas will have newfound or better access to a greater number of educational references.

While students in metropolitan areas generally have greater access to broadband services, access does vary significantly between areas. Such a sprawling network can become affected by adverse weather. Inconsistencies in network infrastructure also dictate whether a student can access a fixed line broadband connection, if at all. The NBN will help to combat this and provide a faster, more reliable service.

Reshape education with the NBN

Education in Australia can make great gains at all levels of study with the completion of the NBN. The possibilities are endless for educators to reshape education and incorporate digital resources in a more meaningful and reliable way.

The National Broadband Network is currently being rolled out to homes and businesses around Australia.
Find out when you can connect.