Birth, life and death of the Victorian Education Ultranet

Abstract

This article examines the development and ultimate demise of the Ultranet, a major ICT infrastructure project in the education system of the Australian State of Victoria. The case is interesting as it was a very large project, intended for 1500 schools and funded to $180 m (Au). The study traces the design and implementation of the project as a socio-technical innovation in education. Although there are examples of how this project worked very well, its uptake was less than anticipated. The study found that potential benefits from a very large project like this can be nullified by a number of factors including: change in sponsorship of the project, an over emphasis on security concerns, failure to enrol crucial stakeholders and a naive assumption by technologists that technology with potential benefits will always be accepted. The study also found that technology projects must be delivered where a need exists and one that, most importantly, is recognised by the stakeholders. This will also be the case in other education systems around the world. If resources are not to be wasted the problem must be clearly identified and its need accepted before a solution is proposed. The Victorian Government finally abandoned the Ultranet in June 2013.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The Auditor-General is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament, appointed to examine the management of resources within the public sector on behalf of Parliament and Victorians (Australian PolicyOnline 2016).

  2. 2.

    The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate the decisions and actions of Victorian government bodies. The Ombudsman is independent and impartial and provides a free service. The Ombudsman also tables reports in Parliament, produces a range of fact sheets and delivers community education (Victorian Ombudsman’s Office 2016).

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Tatnall, A., Davey, B. Birth, life and death of the Victorian Education Ultranet. Educ Inf Technol 23, 1585–1605 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-017-9679-x

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Keywords

  • Socio-technical studies
  • Information technology
  • People
  • Education
  • Schools
  • eGovernment
  • Project management
  • Adoption
  • Actor-network theory
  • Innovation translation
  • Ultranet
  • Extranet
  • Intranet
  • Online learning
  • Reporting to parents
  • Sharing curriculum materials
  • Benefits
  • Problems