Team Profile

Project Name: NBN Speed on Wheels

‍Public Contact Details

Name: Janet Fearns & Steve Omant
Role in the project: Project Managers
Phone: 0437 226 775

Other team members:

Helen Houston, Sam Morrison, Pia Palmer, Kielly Glanville, Jane Richardson, Mark Krause, Mark Potter, Nathan Cox


Project Profile:

‍What is the problem or opportunity you are addressing in this project?

Location: Apprentices are currently disadvantaged in their mode of training options due to their remote location. For many, release from the workplace for on-campus training requires extensive travelling and periods away from home for up to 6 weeks. Apprentices may be financially disadvantaged and can experience a major disruption to their working and social lives. When they do arrive on campus their training is often traditional, paper based and in many cases uninteresting.

Release time: Employers release apprentices for lengthy periods of time for on campus training and this is often seen as a common failing in the system. Small employers in particular have difficulty functioning without their apprentices for long periods of time, often during busy periods.
Formal training is essential for apprentices to have equal work opportunities and be well rounded in their trade knowledge regardless of their workplace. However, for some, there is a degree of duplication in their campus based training. Customised training and addressing identified gaps could potentially reduce the duplication and block release time. This is where virtual training using the NBN would provide an alternative strategy.

Lack of workplace facilities: Training in a virtual environment from a Mobile Training Centre located at a workplace providing engaging, authentic learning experiences will help to alleviate problems of release times and duplicated training.
Why use a Mobile Training Centre?
Because very few workplaces have dedicated training facilities and the availability of suitable computers are typically limited or non-existent. Even when a computer was available, past attempts at e-learning, although with good intent, have been unsuccessful due to problems created by limited bandwidth. Drop outs were frequent, video resolution poor, audio intermittent and resource sharing unachievable. The availability of NBN will address all these problems, improving the learning outcomes with streaming video, work place simulations and live synchronous classes catering for different learning styles.

‍Who are the learners and how will they benefit from this project?

The Skills Institute (TSI) student cohort is predominately trade apprentices in full-time employment. These students receive on-the-job training, combined with campus delivery when released for training during working hours. Their work and training world starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm, a training model that does not include study from home, so we need to consider how the NBN can potentially benefit apprentices.

This project would result in the provision of a model that revolutionises apprenticeship training in the workplace, where in many cases, training expertise is lacking and access to computers is often non-existent.

A mobile training vehicle of any description could be used to connect to the NBN from ANY workplace to provide a flexible training facility for ANY period of time. The project will utilise the TSI Commonwealth funded, state of the art Mobile Training Centre (MTC), however, something as simple as a mini bus with 6 networked laptops or tablets would be equally suitable.
This new delivery model would comprise:
  • Remote e-tutoring for individual apprentices, providing synchronous training using audio/video in high definition via the NBN, drawing on the expertise of a TSI teacher.
  • Live classes with a group of apprentices in a workplace delivered from a TSI campus based teacher, through desktop virtual classroom programmes or live video streaming.

‍How are you currently delivering this training? (ie prior to the project)

Many of the TSI apprentice’s personal and professional lives are saturated by technology, yet their training is far removed from this experience. Engaging apprentices in learning through NBN enabled technologies will be the future of learning for these 21st Century students. It will create a learning environment that promotes innovation and capability for self-directed, lifelong learning.

The project will contribute to a cultural shift, from TSI’s current training model, which will strengthen our training system in terms of emerging technologies and increase our capacity for NBN readiness. It will provide an exemplar of the benefits of the NBN.

How will your project demonstrate the power of broadband to enhance outcomes for learners?

The inception of NBN connectivity broadens the field of technologies that can assist and enrich learning for apprentices at The Skills Institute. The project will include virtual classroom delivery, streaming HD video, use of bandwidth hungry resources e.g. Google Earth and Webinars.

The NBN has the potential for a profound increase in digital literacy skills leading to higher expectations for e-learning. To prepare for this, the project will incorporate the next step in course design, moving to an experiential rather than informational approach that dominates our current e-learning delivery.

‍Please list 5 key words (comma separated) that people can use to find your project.

NBN, Mobile , virtual classroom, bandwidth, digital learners

January Activities

Jan 9th Mobile Training Centre (MTC) on campus for proof of concept trials.

MTC on campus

Interior view of MTC

Interior view of MTC

Jan 24th Connecting Mobile Training Centre to Institution network for proof of concept. It worked !!
Connecting MTC to Campus network

Testing Facilitator technology

Testing Student technology

Other January activities included purchase of cabling and software licences for WizIQ virtual classroom. Our three project team cohorts; teachers, industry partners and Community House partners have been formally welcomed to the project and face to face visits state-wide have been tentatively arranged.

A calendar for the transportation of the MTC has been drafted. It is very much a chicken and egg situation when trying to coordinate the transportation of the MTC, teacher schedules, student timetables and Community House availability. However we have got the ball rolling and hopefully everything will come together :)

February Activities

Arriving at Midway Point

Watch that car park turn !

Plenty of room !

Backing into position

Setup begins

NBN connected to Partner House

Mid February the Mobile Training Centre moved to Midway Point ready for our first ever connection to the NBN via our Partner House.
After a few teething problems, on 22nd February 2012 we successfully connected to the NBN, the first ever NBN connection from a Skills Institute facility.

The next three days were spent familiarising ourselves with the MTC technology and how it worked over the NBN.
Began testing WizIQ, our virtual classroom with multiple computers connected, whilst streaming video and audio.
Different scenarios were tried, some not successful, to establish the boundaries of what could be achieved with upload/download of files.

Vimeo, our high definition video host, was tested, successfully downloading beautiful HD videos to multiple computers.

Testing will continue until March 15th, our first teacher/student day, remote training on Barista machines.

March Activities

15th March Trial # 1 - Remote Barista Training

Teachers - Scottsdale, Students - Mobile Training Centre - Midway Point.

The first trial involved students learning the theory of barista operations in an online virtual classroom with remote teachers.
This was followed by a practical demonstration of barista operation in the Mobile training Centre.
Students were then invite to try their new skills at making a nice cup of coffee.
Each student was filmed, with the video uploaded to Vimeo ( online host web-site High Definition).
The video was later used for peer assessment.

Welcome, mind the step

Online barista classroom

Everyone can see on the big screens

Practical barista demonstration

Now where do I start ?

Gerri shows how it is done

High Definition video of two students practising their new Barista skills.
Note: these videos were filmed in high definition to best utilise NBN speeds, they may not download as well on normal ADSL connection.

Gerri assessment video

Roz assessment video

What worked well: Mobile Training Centre technology, NBN connection, video download - Vimeo and Youtube, teacher voice communication with student.

What didn't work well: - WizIQ virtual classroom video/audio limitations, students unable to speak to teachers due to microphone/speaker feedback causing screeching noise. This has now been addressed with better quality microphones.
Despite fast NBN upload, Vimeo & Youtube both required time to process video file and make ready for presentation - on-the-go session re-arrangement required to allow for processing time.
Lack of communication between online teacher and Barista demonstrator interrupted session flow - where practical, the demonstrator should have worn headsets to better work with online teacher.

26th March Trial #2 - for Dairy Apprentices

Teacher - Victoria, Students - Mobile Training Centre - Smithton

This second trial involved Dairy students participating in a webinar hosted by the Industry training organisation.
Students were located in the Mobile Training Centre utilising the NBN connection of the partner house in Smithton.
The facilitator was based in Victoria using ADSL connection.

The webinar used the Adobe Connect platform, the students watched a powerpoint presentation narrated by the remote facilitator, followed by question/answer time. At the end of the session webcams and audio devices were enabled simultaneously on several computers however, in excess of five caused the program to crash. This same test will be conducted at the upcoming trial in Scottsdale allowing us to make a comparison with WizIQ software.

Partner house in Smithton

Tight squeeze for the MTC !

Dairy students paricipating in Webinar

This is what NBN is all about !

Smithton speed test 50/20 mbps plan

April Activities

4th April Trial #3 - Turf Management

Teacher - Midway Point, Students - Mobile Training Centre - Scottsdale

This third trial involved Turf Management apprentices and staff (total 10) participating in a 1.5 hour session in turf management techniques.
Participants were located in the Mobile Training Centre utilising the NBN connection of the partner house in Scottsdale.
The facilitator was based in the Midway Point partner house.

The session commenced with a (remote) teacher led introduction to Google Earth utilising screen sharing through the WizIQ virtual classroom.
Each participant in the MTC used a laptop with headsets. Microphones of all participants were kept open and the teacher was in full communication throughout the entire session. The first part of the session involved looking at Tasmanian golf courses and football ovals where the participants worked. ( Barnbougle Golf Course, Aurora Stadium, Launceston Golf Course).
The participants were then given time to explore other famous turf locations using Google Earth - Augusta Golf Course, Lords Cricket Oval, Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Second part of the session involved watching youtube videos on specialised turf management equipment.
Participants were interested to have a glimpse of future technologies for their workplace.

Special Guest: Brian Whightman MP joined the session and was very impressed with the speed and educational implications of NBN.
Remote teaching from Midway Point

Google Earth is great for Turf Management

What worked well: Mobile Training Centre technology, NBN connection, Youtube,
An improvement from trial #2 was the two way voice communication between teacher and participants. This was due to the introduction of superior quality headset/mic.

What didn't work well: The wizIQ virtual classroom again caused problems with the video sharing application.
The work around tested in trial #2 was used again. Placing the link in the chat box allowed the participants to click/open Youtube in a new window. The virtual classroom window was minimised, allowing full screen view of Youtube and continued voice communication for question/answer. This a model likely to be continued in future trials.

As suggested in trial #2, the NBN connection was tested as much as we could. Toward the end of the session, we had five simultaneous video streams between teacher and participants, full audio connection with all 10 participants and 10 simultaneous Youtube downloads in progress. The Mobile Training Centre and the NBN connection were up to the task !

30th April Trial #4 - Disability Services

Teacher - Smithton, Students - Mobile Training Centre - Midway Point

This fourth and final trial involved students from the disability sector, Optia industry group, undertaking Induction training via the NBN located in the Mobile Training Centre, Midway Point.
The facilitator was based in the Wyndarra Centre located at Smithton. The Wyndarra staff joined the trial and participated in group discussions via the NBN. The total number of participants was around 25, our highest number ever.

The workshop consisted of watching high resolution videos, followed by group discussion of the contents. Student feedback was provided orally to the groups via WizQ video/audio streaming or through the Virtual Whiteboard, also in WizIQ.

As with previous trials, we were able to undertake simultaneous video/audio streaming, download/ viewing of of hi-res video and with up to one dozen students logged in at any time this really pushed the limits of the broadband. It was interesting to note the hi-res videos did have a small amount of lag, but given the file size and the number of simultaneous users the NBN again proved its value - this could never be attempted in a non-NBN classroom.

This was our biggest of our four trials, we were pleased to have Rebecca White, MHR for Lyons, present to view the activities.
Rebecca is a very keen supporter of NBN and was extremely impressed with our achievements in utilising the NBN.

MTC back at Midway Point parked in reverse. Luckily NBN works in both directions

Big screen can be handy at times

Group discussion work

Students viewing hi-res videos. Note big screen view for spectators


Project Update
January 2012
  • Mobile Centre on Campus.
  • Proof of concept undertaken. MTC connected to TSI network.
  • Successful trial of basic functionality of internet connectivity through external network
  • MTC delivered to Midway Point partner house.
  • First successful connection made to NBN via partner house.
  • WizIQ virtual classroom testing began.
  • HD video streaming with Vimeo successfully trialled.

March 2012
  • First trial conducted across two sessions
  • NBN connection performed well.
  • Mobile Training Centre technology performed well.
  • Some unexpected issues with online software detracted from trial
  • Second trial successfully executed at Smithton. Webinar delivered by Hugh McLaren (OHS Industry Trainer) National Centre for Dairy Education Australia
April 2012
  • Third Trial with Turf management apprentices located in the MTC at Scottsdale. Lesson from Midway Point.
  • Successful use of WizIQ classroom, Google Earth and Youtube videos. This was our smoothest trial to date witheverything working as planned and the NBN delivering.
  • Fourth trial with Optia disability sector students at Midway Point, facilitator at Smithton with Wyndarra staff group.
  • Mixture of face to face and remote online facilitation required hugh amount of preparation and support staff.
  • Synchronising of activities between Smithton and Midway Point groups did not always go smoothly.
  • Hi Res videos and the number of users really pushed the NBN with some lag being evident at times.
  • biggest of all the trials in terms of participants.
May 2012

June 2012