NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) chief information officer Steven Wilson said the use of teleconferencing implemented by Dell and Cisco in schools across NSW has expanded by five times in the past two years.
Addressing an Australian Information Industry Association education forum yesterday, Wilson said the roll-out of video-teleconferencing in NSW schools by Dell and Cisco is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
"We've got 2500 video-conferencing endpoints and by the end of the year we will have about 3500," he said.
The video-conferencing is already being used as part of a special "virtual selective classroom" for gifted students in Dubbo and has also been used for special one-off classes from international experts, including an economics class for senior students from Dell founder and chief executive officer Michael Dell.
"Michael Dell did a video-conference from Austin, Texas to 10 of our high schools across New South Wales simultaneously," he said. "Each of the schools were able to interact directly with Michael Dell."
Astronaut Andy Thomas has also given a lesson to NSW students, and with many other experts approached, Wilson said the video teleconferencing "allows the world to enter the New South Wales classroom".
Among other projects to be completed by the end of this year, Wilson also highlighted that the eBackpack collaborative software built on Microsoft SharePoint and Office 2010 will be used across the state by the end of 2010 and that the state's wireless network roll-out will be completed by August or September.
"We have 15,000 access points at the moment. When it is complete there will be 22,000 access points, each capable of supporting 30 netbook computers capable of uploading and downloading at 2Mbps," he said. Wilson added that the wireless network would allow up to 500,000 concurrent sessions at any one time, enabling growth expected on the network in the future.