On Friday, about 50 of our Year 6/7 students had the opportunity to trial the Ultranet at Hawkesdale p12 College. Our school agreed to participate in the DEECD trial, involving 7,000 students from around the state being logged on simultaneously. They had several simple tasks to complete, including opening and customizing their Express page, writing a short profile and finding and joining a Collaborative Space. Apart from a few password and uncharged netbook issues, students were able to help each other complete these tasks with very little assistance from teachers. In contrast to Monday 9th August, this trial demonstrated that the Ultranet can be a stable and user-friendly platform for students and teachers to work together.
So, our learner drivers have had their first lesson in the Volvo – they weren’t at all nervous, or excited, they just took it in their stride. For them, the ultranet is nothing more than a tiny part of cyberspace, where their teachers may encourage them to visit. Sure, it is a safe and secure place, where students can practise the skills of being collaborative learners and global citizens. However, I believe our students have access to very powerful tools and with that privilege comes the responsibility of sharing the learning that results. Very few students in the world have such complex technology at their fingertips, and just as we learn from those that have gone before us, we need to support others to improve their learning.
Globalteacher and Globalstudent have provided an outstanding platform to launch teachers and students on their cyber-journeys and it’s success is based on the global audience that blogging allows. Students need to learn the skills for cyber-safety and global student has proven to be an excellent way to achieve this goal. I hope that these opportunities to connect with a global audience are not replaced with test driving in a supermarket car-park.