Retro please call again sign

edna closes today after 16 years on the web

Retro please call again signOne of Australia’s earliest, enduring and influential digital education innovations is retired today.

National online education service Education Network Australia (edna) closes today after 16 years, an eternity in Internet years. edna was one of the first national online education services in the world, starting with a collection of quality web resources for use in Australian education, and broadening in scope to include a portfolio of digital resources and collaborative tools for educators.

Related services OzProjects (for student collaboration) and (a Facebook-like network for teachers) also close today.

Former CEO Gerry White’s forensic review of edna outlines the key phases of development through the lens of how innovations are spread:

  • Initiated through national co-operation (1995 to 1997)
  • Directory of evaluated resources (1996 – 2009)
  • Shared Information (syndicated) Services (1996 – 2004, 2005 -2009)
  • Group collaborative services (2004 – 2009), and
  • Personalised services (2006 – 2009)., edna and ozprojects logos

The edna project pioneered many ICT innovations, including:

  • one of the first database-driven websites (1997)
  • leading standards & interoperability for managing digital online content across disparate systems
  • One of the largest listservs with 100,000+ subscribers
  • Online content and services embedded into State education online services through syndication (2003)
  • Early advocacy and implementation of open source software
  • One of the largest Moodle communities of practice space (2005)
  • Social media platforms for educators (2009)
  • & many more which were subsequently adopted by other education systems and institutions all over Australia not to provide services to students
edna site banner circa 1998
edna site banner circa 1998

In the end, the edna service faced changing user needs, behaviours and service choices, including web behemoths Google (now 13 years old) and Facebook inevitable plateau of <link>

Perhaps edna greatest achievement was to connect thousands of educators across sectors and borders, spawning many subsequent innovations and maturity of the edtech sector in Australia.