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Just uttering the word ‘Ultranet’ around teachers is enough to stir emotion. Its fair to say I’ve heard more than mixed reviews of the conroversial Victorian government anitiative. For those that are not aware,  the Ultranet is state wide secure site for students, teachers and parents to collaborate within.

As a graduate techer I am yet to be ‘burned’ by the Ultranet and am open to giving it a go, however as I write this I feel I am beginning to feel the heat of an impending burn, mostly at this stage due to the frustration of a steep learning curve.

My initial thoughts and discussions with a fellow teacher has lead me to believe this amazing, inovative and ground breaking tool that will lead our students into a new stratesphere of learning may be well and truely over sold.

I must say that I do like some of the features, like the learning tasks section. I like being able to set a task, take notes on the students work, mark it, and link the task to a specific VELS standard. However there are a few reasons Facebook took over and crushed Myspace, one was it was simple to use! No longer did I have to mess around with HTML to personalise my page, connecting with others was a click of a button, everything I wanted to see was in one place, and everything was called and did exactly what it was supposed to do. My first impressions of the Ultranet have me comparing it to an even more complicated Myspace, which has lead me to explore ulternatives namely the much better marketed ‘Edmodo’ which styles its self as a Facebook for education.

From what I can tell so far I haven’t seen anything new on the Ultranet or anything that someone or something on the internet isn’t already doing better, e.g. Edublogs, Wiki’s, Edmodo, Pinterest, Twitter…etc.

I will continue to explore the Ultranet and educate myself on its uses. From what I’ve heard it is still a work in progress and is continually being improved with an eye to a possible relaunch in October (please correct me if im wrong or you have more info).

*Currently the Australian Education Union have impossed sanctions on the use of the Ultranet as part of industrial action over the current EBA*

What are your experiences of the Ultranet?

How do you use it in the classroom?

@Mick_Sweeney