UNE embraces NBN

Published 19 February 2012

The University of New England is demonstrating the power of broadband with key projects in education, health and agriculture.

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, visited UNE on Friday to hear more about the NBN-enabled projects.

The Chancellor of UNE, Richard Torbay, said Senator Conroy’s visit was a timely opportunity to update him on the exciting projects under way at UNE.

“The University has made significant progress since Senator Conroy’s previous visit in May 2011, when he and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, officially launched the NBN,” Mr Torbay said.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said the NBN was “a game-changing technology for education” and that the University had been “working on a number of projects to take advantage of this technology”.

“On a property just outside of Armidale, UNE is creating a SMARTFarm where we aim to improve the lifestyle, productivity, sustainability, resilience, and business of farming through the use of technology,” Professor Barber said. “The SMARTFarm is about sustainable, manageable and accessible rural technologies that enhance educational opportunities.”

Professor Barber said QuickSmart was another of UNE’s projects that was being enhanced by access to broadband.

QuickSmart aims to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of both children and adults and is currently offered to nearly 10,000 students across the country,” he said. “We have plans to roll it out to the broader community and make it available to them in their own homes, and this is possible with high-speed broadband.”

Professor Barber said that broadband offered the education sector endless possibilities, and that UNE looked forward to progressing current projects and creating new and exciting educational initiatives into the future. “Innovations in the applications of broadband technologies have been evidenced by our partnership with the University of California’s Irvine School of Medicine, which gives UNE’s medical students access to the latest learning technology,” he said.

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Senator Stephen Conroy displayed here was taken at UNE on Friday.