Case Study NSW Department of Education’s stem.T4L Learning Library: Valo Easily Customised For Online STEM Education

The NSW Department of Education needed to create an easy-to-use, online community to support teachers and students to get the most out of their limited STEM educational resources. Valo’s highly extensible Modern Intranet was the answer.

  • Industry: Education
  • Country: Australia
  • Company Size: > 320,000

Starting Point:
In 2018, the New South Wales Department of Education identified a need for students all across the state to have better access to emerging technologies.

At the time, STEM educational resources (integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) had to be organised, booked and delivered to each school as ‘learning kits’ for a short period of time before they were redistributed to another school.

To ensure the students got the most out of their short time with each STEM education kit, a flexible community of practice needed to be built to improve knowledge and collaboration between teachers.

Solution:
So the stem.T4L online Learning Library, essentially a NSW public educational STEM community of practice, was developed (watch them reveal their development process here).

The project enables each teacher to properly share, engage and collate cutting edge educational resources that caters to all their students, at all levels, at the click of a button. That’s why Valo’s Modern Intranet model, with its highly customisable one click page and site templates, advanced analytics, mega menu and universal webparts, was chosen.

The stem.T4L Learning Library is an educational resource that students and teachers in NSW can log in to and start STEM learning, exploring, teaching and sharing knowledge and learning resources entirely online.

Benefits:

  • Custom Search Tool on the home page to help for learning, teaching and exploring
  • You can automatically extract metadata to assist in content creation
  • Every teacher in the state can pin resources or create their own individual ‘board’ on their profile
  • Teachers can share their boards with other teachers and students.
  • Students can’t create or modify boards
  • Students can either be sent a link or QR code to their teachers’ boards, or can explore on their own
  • Very detailed analytics
  • Can also track / remove any unauthorised language violations (using AI)

 

The stem.T4L STEM education project is driving results!

The stem.T4L project is an online STEM learning library where teachers can create ‘boards’ of pinned resources as well as access high-quality learning challenges. Then students can access those learning challenges and receive STEM education from anywhere – even from home.

Since going live in early 2019, stem.T4L has been accessed by the majority of the over 70,000 teachers and many of the 250,000 students spread out across New South Wales. No matter where they are located, they can get together every day on a highly customised platform that makes searching, exploring and accessing cutting edge, approved learning modules so easy, it is literally child’s play!

This project has also caught the attention of other learning institutions because it exemplifies such a smooth and extreme customisation of Valo’s unique features. That’s why it won the Valo Customization of the Year 2019 award and more recently, Step Two’s Intranet and Digital Workplace of the Year Gold Award for 2020.

stem.T4L STEM learning intranet

Students can access those learning challenges and receive STEM education from anywhere – even from home.

Built on Valo Modern Intranet

The stem.T4L platform is a highly customised and integrated model, designed and built on Valo’s extremely user-friendly Modern Intranet. It also employs multiple other Valo features, such as Valo’s Mega Menu for easy searching at the top, Valo’s Universal Web Part, Valo Site and Page Templates, and a hybrid of Valo’s unique analytical tools.

This brings us to one of the reasons this case study is particularly significant: the stem.T4L Learning Library is a prime example of how Valo’s products can be extended to suit the users’ needs. Valo’s Premium Partners in Sydney, SharePoint Gurus, along with the NSW Department of Education’s Learning Designers, Pip Cleaves and Rob McTaggart, were able to integrate the ready built Valo parts and features and even custom tailor them into a highly interactive, award winning educational intranet system.

 

stem.T4L STEM online learning

The stem.T4L online Learning Library is a prime example of how Valo’s products can be extended to suit the users’ needs.

Why Choose Valo For a STEM learning platform?

So why was Valo so crucial to creating this unique, educational project?

Because, as Rob McTaggart elaborates, the list of requirements for a public, state-wide STEM online Learning Library were both extensive and specific. For example, “we didn’t want to moderate the teachers’ material” Rob explains, “We want them to be working more on creating their own resources rather than just consuming.” They needed a platform that enabled them to avoid creating a ‘top down control format’ and that enabled a more complicated, “social media-style ‘share what you’ve got’ format.”

So Janniek Starren, Practice Manager & Solution Architect at SharePoint Gurus, recommended Valo. Not only because Valo provides “demonstrable savings” on multiple levels but also because Valo’s customisable site and page templates enable teachers and learning designers to:

Create a new learning challenge literally with one click of a button and it will automatically be added to the system with the right templates and the right pages and the right webparts and the right layouts. So that’s a very powerful feature as well.

Easy Access To A Wealth Of Knowledge

The NSW Department of Education’s stem.T4L online Learning Library may be an award-winning platform, but it’s also been a huge success for over 320,000 students and teachers as well: it has afforded them easy access to a wealth of fun, enjoyable and cutting-edge knowledge and information from anywhere: even from home. As Rob McTaggart says, “when they (students and teachers) start using it they really enjoy it and start using it more and more.”

 

Plus, the design of the stem.T4L online educational platform may have been a long and well-planned journey, but as Janniek points out, to scale and adapt the included Valo elements to the needs of other learning institutions would practically be “a click of a button to get an intranet built for other schools.”

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Do you want to see how Valo intranet in-a-box can be customised to fit your needs? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how!
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