All public schools and Community Access Centres (CACs) located in public schools throughout New Brunswick now have high-speed Internet capability, thanks to an investment by the governments of Canada and New Brunswick.
This broadband access allows the creation of a virtual learning community that increases research opportunities; maximizes efficiency in the development and implementation of online learning; increases access to government services at CACs; and helps public schools and CACs become active community-based learning centres.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) has invested $4,830,000 in this project, and the Province of New Brunswick is contributing an additional $2,170,000. This funding is provided through the Canada/New Brunswick Regional Economic Development Agreement (REDA).
“This investment in infrastructure to bring New Brunswick’s schools up to high-speed broadband capacity is critical to ensuring that our students develop the skills necessary to participate fully in the 21st century economy,” Minister of State for Infrastructure Andy Scott said. “With the support of the Government of Canada, New Brunswick students will be able to expand their horizons and take a wider range of courses than may have previously been available to them in the traditional school setting.”
“As a result of this partnership, we have been able to double our investment in the area of e-learning in schools,” Education Minister Madeleine DubÃ© said. “This has allowed us to speed along the development of distance education courses, so that we now have more than 35 online courses for students and teacher. It has also allowed us to increase our investment in the Mentor Teacher program, which allows our best teachers to provide support to classroom teachers who are using Information and Communications Technology to enhance classroom learning.”
This project brings to 338 the number of schools with high-speed access, and there are plans to have 60 online courses available by the 2005-2006 school year. This capability also allows for access to learning resources by teachers and students, in-school professional development for teachers, the sharing of best practices by teachers, videoconferencing capabilities, consolidation of existing resources such as servers and applications, and remote desktop support.