Schools and SOFNet: Findings from a case-study project on the use of interactive television in three Victorian schools

Year: 1996

Author: Evans, Terry, Tregenza, Karen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper discusses some recent research into schools' use of interactive television through the new SOFNet (Schools of the Future Network) satellite broadcast television network established by the Department of School Education in Victoria SOFNet is used in three broad ways in schools: curriculum `delivery', teachers' and ancillary staff's professional development, and departmental information and policy implementation. it is available to all government schools in the state, both primary and secondary, and in most non-government schools, as well a number of interstate schools. Participants in the schools may interact live-to-air by telephone and also in a delayed form by telephone or fax with the studio, during or after the program.

The research explored the implementation and development of SOFnet as an educational technology, especially from the schools' perspectives, during the first eighteen months of its life. Case-study approaches were used to obtain these perspectives and see them in operation in the social contexts of the three schools. The findings are reported in terms of the schools', teachers' and children's experiences with SOFNet. They are analysed in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of this politically-motivated, broad-scale, implementation of educational technology.