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IT team wanted for component of $700 million+ Smart Classrooms program

by David Shi and Paris Cowan •
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ICT suppliers have an opportunity to get a foot in the door of the Queensland Department of Education and Training’s (DET’s) Smart Classrooms program, which has received over $100 million in funding each financial year since 2005.

The DET has invited suppliers to submit their offers for the roll-out stage three of Learning Place initiative, a key component of the program.

The Learning Place is an innovative learning portal for students to use from home, which deploys Web 2.0 functionality such as content sharing tools and personalised user experiences to appeal to its young audience.

The DET is looking for an ICT personnel team who will be tasked with the ongoing development of the Learning Place website. The personnel roles would include:

  • MOSS/SharePoint Technical Specialist/Team lead
  • MOSS/SharePoint Solution Architect
  • .Net Developer
  • Technical Writer (as required)

The team will focus on the development of three web-based applications, building on the SharePoint Platform which the Learning Place website is based upon. The applications include:

  1. edStudio: including chat functionality the integration of existing applications edStudio;
  2. edZone: The creation of a noticeboard and marketing environment for educational projects, supporting project registration by allowing bulk allocation of access and authoring rights downstream edTube Albums and edStudio.
  3. Student Channel: The creation of a delivery platform for live and on-demand educational programs for students. Students can also view a learning program calendar within their student space and register to participate in live programs.

Following the completion and delivery of Stage Three, the contractor will not be responsible for ongoing management or operational support for Learning Place. These services are expected to be provided by the Department.

Since its launch, the Smart Classrooms program has received over $700 million in funding, with the program due to continue through until 2014.

A spokesperson for the Department noted, however, that any continuation of the funding will be at the discretion of the Treasury.

Launched in 2001, Learning Place is Queensland’s web-based e-learning platform. The portal provides access to a collection of web-based, inter-compatible applications that are designed to provide students and educational staff with a secure online learning environment.

The platform currently enables students to upload and share multimedia files (eTube) and customise personal spaces. Teachers are also able to manage students remotely via the e-learning platform. The website’s existing functions were introduced through the Stage one and two development phases.

Learning Place differentiates itself from other Australian-based e-learning resources by enabling students and staff to create, share and distribute user-created content.

The current website development project aims to integrate both new and existing Learning Place applications and services from a current flat website, which is linked to eLearning applications, to an interactive and collaborative MOSS-based portal. The technical services required for such a project explains the DET’s need to acquire further ICT specialist services.  

The Smart Classrooms program also includes the $70 million Computers for Teachers initiative, which has seen more than 40,000 laptops handed to teachers across the state’s public schools.

According to a presentation given to ICT industry delegates earlier this month, the DET intends to go market for the development of a room booking and timetabling application for its TAFE sites, as well as business intelligence tools and antivirus software in the near future.

Applications for the Learning Space ITO are due by 2.00pm 05 October 2011. The contract will commence on 24 October 2011. The proposed completion date for the project is 30 April 2012, with the possibility of a three month extension for the selected contractor.


Related Articles:

Dell wins $13 million contract to supply laptops to Queensland teachers

Queensland Education Department opens the pages of its ICT intentions

Whole-of-Government IT Services Panel decision due this month

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