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SMART CLASSROOMS: New tools connect colleagues

August 2009

iConnect is the Department of Education and Training's new web conference system

iConnect is the Department of Education and Training's new web conference system

Working online with staff around the state is a whole lot easier now OnePortal and the Learning Place's iConnect are in place.

Just launched, iConnect is the Department of Education and Training's new web conference system, offering staff and students a new way to collaborate and learn.

eLearning director Laurie Campbell said thanks to iConnect, teachers could hold lessons and coordinate projects with students, while all staff could connect with their school and non-school work colleagues.

'Using a web camera, people can interact with each other and talk in real time, just as they would in person,' Mr Campbell said.

He said many teachers were already using iConnect with their students to bridge distances and connect online with experts and other students.

'One group of students is working with an artist in New York to create scenes from the book, The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar.

'The students, from a small school, would not normally be taught advanced brushwork and collage techniques but they are now doing so using iConnect.'

Mr Campbell said staff around the state had also been using iConnect to bring themselves up to speed on the new Right to Information laws and had joined virtual workshops run by Document Management Services to prepare themselves for the launch of the new laws.

'The uses for iConnect are limitless,' he said. 'So are the opportunities to work together online.'

OnePortal project manager Stuart Fergus said teachers holding a web conference through iConnect should consider collaborating further through OnePortal.

'OnePortal has just rolled out to all education staff in the department, bringing us closer than ever,' Mr Fergus said.

'With OnePortal, staff can create online spaces that are ideal for project work, committees and other important work tasks.

'Called team sites, these spaces are where they can upload and edit documents, exchange ideas through discussion boards, share knowledge via wikis, update and view calendar events and meet deadlines with the task scheduler.

'One of the best things about team sites is the "owner" of each team site determines who sees and uses them.

'Another bonus is that owners can have more than one team site running at the same time.'

Find out more about iConnect.