1. NSW Government launch state-wide school network:

    "Pacific Power, as the nations foremost electricity producer, is dependent on leading edge technology, communications and continuing strong links with our educators and students. Some will become engineers, scientists, technicians and administrators who take our organisations into the twenty first century. We must play a supportive role in their development"

    This was the text keyed in by NSW State Premier - John Fahey (later Federal Treasurer) to officially launch PowerNet - a NSW-wide, schools computer network and Education Resources Package.

    On September 3rd 1993 at Mt Piper's Energy Expo, the opening ceremony was also attended byiMinister for Energy - Garry West, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs - Virginia Chadwick and children from five New South Wales schools



    The project was developed for Pacific Power by Sydney company Studio of Arts And Sciences (SAAS), in collaboration with The Board of Studies (VIC) & the New South Wales Department of School Education

    Commenting on the strong partnerships being established between industry and education, Minister Chadwick acknowledged the support provided by Pacific Power, noting that "children's education would certainly be enhanced."

    Fahey - Bunyon - © News photo

    Premier John Fahey & Ross Bunyon - News Photo


    About PowerNet:

    Best described as a sophisticated computer network, PowerNet is a 'world first' computerised interactive education resource centre and database.

    As well as linking schools across the state, It provides New South Wales schools with links to resources available via the international Academic Research Network (resources previously only available to international tertiary and research institutions)

    Using Pacific Power's own state-wide communications resources, PowerNet puts "learning power" in the hands of students at virtually no cost - letting them use telecommunications as part of their everyday classroom study

    PowerNet features national and international conferencing facilities, full colour graphics, access to other educational software and CD ROM libraries and educational projects and games. There is also a focus on learning about community energy options and environment issues. Students are able to increase their computer literacy while seeking knowledge in areas such as maths, science and geography.


    Learning & Teaching:

    Calrossy year 12 student Megan has been using PowerNet since March as part of a "pilot run" involving her school. Displaying the capabilities of the network, Megan pointed out the benefits to students such as herself.

    "I can send and receive messages world-wide. This really helps with assignments as we can request information from a variety of sources and it's fun and easy to use", she said

    Inviting Mr Fahey to officially start PowerNet, General Manager Ross Bunyon declared the education innovation had "grown from the public's demand for information". Ross also expressed hope that Pacific Power would "remain at the forefront of young people's vocational planning".


    Promotional Efforts:

    With many students remarking on the value of their excursion to Mt Piper, the success of the launch can be attributed to efforts by Public Affairs team members Phil Farrell and Helen Phillips.

    Both had been involved with the program for more than two years, their contributions ranging from research, computer system development and liason with the Studio of Arts And Sciences to the planning of the launch day.



    PowerNet connectivity is available to schools in New South Wales at no cost (NOTE: Connecting to PowerNet will incur a local call cost when dialling in via Telstra).


    About Studio of Applied Arts & Sciences

    SAAS is a leading provider of standards-based information and communications integration solutions.


    School logs on to hi-tech

    In the classroom of the future, children will travel to important art galleries and museums through the Internet. They will read information from thousands of encyclopaedia at the click of a button. Except that the future is already here!

    Clairgate Public School, at St Clair, west of Sydney, is a pilot school bringing computers, the Internet, audio-visual links and satellite technology into the classroom.

    Clairgate Public School has spent $100,000 over three years to ensure it is truly a high-technology environment. Their project is sponsored by Pacific Power, and additional Computer software has been donated to get the hardware up and running.

    There is a computer network extending to each classroom. The library has computers which can access the Internet. There is one which relays pictures, sound and text to one of a few NSW schools which have the same technology, allowing students to see and talk to each other. The students learn Indonesian by correspondence from Melbourne via satellite.

    The lessons are shown in the various classrooms in the school on the in-house video system.

    At Clairgate, "technology is part of the curriculumi", says Ian Sutton, the principal.

    "It is just mind-boggling what you can do, but it has to be curriculum-driven - the whole thing", he said.

    "If it is not curriculum-driven then it is just a gimmick. And the community ...I am spending their money just for toys in a way. For me this is the way of the future for these kids. ...This is what it is going to be. I think it is all wonderful And the kids just say, `Oh, yeah'."

    All students from kindergarten to Year 6 can use the Internet.

    The school has set up a 'proxy server' system, so information gathered from the Internet can be downloaded and stored indefinitely on the school's own computer memory.

    Teachers too have full access to the Internet and can supervise students as they directly access different files.

    Teachers also choose files which they download onto the proxy server for students to use.

    This method retrieves information far more quickly than can be done on the overloaded Internet network.

    It also stops the children accessing inappropriate information.

    Last week, Year 6 spent some time on the Internet looking up information for a project on the Australian government.

    They found the home page, which is like the contents of a book, and points to all the information on the Australian government contained in that file.

    The students then selected areas they were interested in learning about, from the tax office, to Parliament, or the Army.

    "We are giving these kids opportunities they would never get", Mr Sutton said.

    "Using the Internet allows teachers and students to visit places such as overseas art galleries, and so brings the world into the classroom", Mr Sutton said.

    "I think that if you can take kids for a walk through the Louvre, that's something you could never get otherwise", he said.

    "You can't stand up and give a lesson: `Here's this famous art gallery' and you hold up the picture. Whereas on the Internet they can click on the pointer and there it is."

    The school has bigger plans for the future.

    For starters, teachers are building up files of information on various key topic areas, such as the environment, the arts, government or sport.

    There is also hope of setting up an E-mail address so that students can chat with others all over the world.

    "These kids will be linked to the world to the extent that we are going to name this school after an Australian icon of some sort", Mr Sutton said.

    "So that if someone in California wants to talk to Billy Smith in the Wattle Room at Clairgate, they can just come down the line and they will be able to do so."

    The project was initiated through a collaboration between NSWDet Metropolitan West Region and Studio of Arts & Sciences (SAAS).

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    The Studio of Applied Arts And Sciences (SAAS) provided high level expertise at all stages of the project - from system analysis through to network design, engineering and rollout.

    Scippy network topology
    SAAS collaborated with NSW DET & industry to maintain, develop & deliver innovative new features

  • The role of SAAS in this project on

    The Studio of Applied Arts And Sciences (SAAS) provided high level expertise at all stages of the project - from system analysis through to network design, engineering and rollout. SAAS created both the concept and education activities forming the Power Pack education kit.

    SAAS were responsible for liason with National Curriculum & NSW state education authorities to ensure best quality outcomes - both for classroom teachers & students.

    Copyright SAAS 2018

    Last Updated 18th October 2023
    By WebMaster