Education technology organisation NetSpot has unveiled a $200,000 fund at Australia’s annual Moodle conference, designed to support eLearning innovations in the higher education sector.
NetSpot provides eLearning technology services to education organisations throughout the Asia Pacific, including technical support and training.
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The Moodle conference is aimed at the users, developers and administrators of the learning management system Moodle.
Moodle has grown to become the world’s most popular open source learning environment, with more than 30 million users in more than 200 countries. Netspot is an official Moodle partner.
At this year’s Australian conference, held in Sydney, NetSpot announced a $200,000 eLearning Innovation Fund, supported by key professional bodies including the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.
The funding will provide a viable distribution and support model for emerging eLearning innovations that are of value within the higher education sector.
According to a NetSpot spokesperson, most funding for eLearning initiatives within the university setting are project-based. But in the majority of cases, innovations are not sustained when funding is removed.
“There are clear benefits to framing these activities within existing systems such as Moodle, which can provide a degree of commercial scaffolding such as product distribution, professional services and ongoing development frameworks,” she says.
The funding will be used to incorporate selected technologies into Moodle through integrations, or within the Moodle core code, with the aim of sustainability via the Moodle ecosystem.
Moodle has already been adopted by more than a third of Australian universities.
NetSpot managing director Allan Christie says it’s the right time for this kind of collaboration between industry and education.
“I am delighted that NetSpot has grown to the point that it is able to support innovations in the higher education setting that will provide sustainable benefits,” he says.
The NetSpot Innovation Fund will provide an annual funding round, with successful applicants selected by a panel consisting of members of key professional bodies and NetSpot.
Technological innovations within the education sector have emerged as a key growth area for entrepreneurs, as seen by the wave of education-based franchises that have entered the market.
Eureka Multimedia, for example, is an education software provider founded by Anthony Alevras, who recognised the need to develop high quality educational software for the Australian market.
Eureka has grown to become a leading developer of multimedia software for children, and also exports its titles to New Zealand, Asia and Europe.