Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Aussies and Kiwis sampling Dutch broadband (7)

Now there are three presentations available about:
- Amsterdam Internet Exchange
- Amsterdam CityNet
- Almere Smart City
The presentations can viewed and downloaded from
Budde.Com.AU website

(c) Elaine Sullivan

As said before education is one of the key areas in broadband development. It was interesting to hear Mr Toine Maes, managing director of KennisNet (Knowledge Net/ ICT at School). It is an ICT support organisation with 160 FTE and a budget of 35 to 40 million euro. The organisation exists since 1997.

He immediately put down a statement: it will take three to five years to marry broadband and education. This was rather a shock. But he made clear that educational models change due to broadband. Of course broadband is fine for the teacher to select resources for the classes. Yet the educational model will change to the learner’s model, where by the pupil goes after learning resources.

Another reason why it will take long before broadband will be accepted in school is the present acceptance of computer in schools. Pupils might play till the moment that they go to school in the morning and start again when they arrive at home again. But at school they will not use these media for a lot of different reasons. So for the pupils and teachers it is difficult to make a total shift.

Primary schools have now roughly 30 to 40 PCs per school. The telecom company KPN provides 75 percent of the 8.500 schools with broadband connections of 2Mbps. There are 750 primary schools using fibre up to 100Mbps.

That broadband has the potential to shake up education is clear. It creates unlimited access to learning. Pupils use already resources YouTube, Delicious, Wikipedia, Flickr and Friendster. Comparable to this the educational broadcast company Teleac has developed Teleblik, a collection of contemporary and historic resources from the archives of the public broadcast companies and Polygoon Journal. It contains thousands of hours, from full programs to custom made fragments of a few minutes. The teachers can use the material to spice their lessons, while pupils can discover subjects. Besides these audio and video resources, a distant expert is needed, who can be called upon when a pupil gets stuck.

It is clear that education is on the move and that the basic position in The Netherlands is not bad. Yet innovation is slow and broadband innovation in education will take up to five years. Yet broadband and education are really closely related. Most challenging will be an innovative cooperation project by which pupils create content by themselves.

Blog Posting Number: 698

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