18/06/2008 - 22:00

International gong for WA ICT project

18/06/2008 - 22:00

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The Western Australian Department of Education and Training has been recognised as a global leader in the information communications technology industry.

The Western Australian Department of Education and Training has been recognised as a global leader in the information communications technology industry.

This month, the department's Learning With Information Communications Technology project was named in the top five ICT projects of the education division of the Computerworld Honours Class of 2008 laureates in Washington.

The awards feature leaders in diverse realms of information technology, celebrating the achievements of organisations and people around the world who have forged significant innovations with technology.

LWICT project manager Glenn Veen said the state's communications project had revolutionised learning in almost 200 public schools since 2002.

"It's amazing that this little out-of-the-way state here in Australia has been picked up and acknowledged for an IT award from some of the big names in the industry over there in America," Mr Veen told WA Business News.

"Heading over to America I wasn't really treating this award too seriously, but having seen what a big deal they are over there, to get this laureate really is an impressive feat."

LWICT provides computer software upgrades to public schools, offering a centralised email system for students and provides a central service desk to a school so the internet can be used as a formal educational tool for any subject.

Under the program, selected schools receive a computer upgrade every five years and teachers are provided with an online environment to plan, deliver, monitor and evaluate learning programs.

Mr Veen said the award was unexpected, and that to serve the 250,000 primary and secondary students and 30,000 staff in WA, the DET had to operate geographically the largest and most complex IT infrastructure in Australia.

"What was even more amazing was that we didn't even nominate ourselves; HP [Hewlett-Packard] nominated us without the department knowing," he said.

The department adopted HP software to automate LWICT service management flows, to manage configurations remotely and to centralise and control the networks across the entire state.

Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said the award was a huge accolade for the project and a major coup for public schools in WA.

"This award recognises the LWICT project as a leader in the global ICT industry," he said in a statement.

The state government has invested more than $48 million over the past eight years in the communications project, with $7.8 million to be spent this financial year.

The LWICT project was expanded to a further 21 schools this year, which are prioritised based on a school's socio-economic status and IT infrastructure level.

The Computerworld laureates, which Mr McGowan said rated in the top four major ICT awards in the world, was judged by a group of industry representatives, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Apple's Steve Jobs.

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