K-12 Schools

Global Learning in the classroom

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Real-time video conferencing enhances classroom learning

AARNet’s National Video Conferencing Service delivers a broad range of rich educational content to AARNet -connected schools. The team has a track record for providing a high level of assistance and support for educators, facilitiating real time video collaboration and immersive educational experiences so that schools leverage the capacity and global reach of Australia’s high speed research and education network.

Real-time communication enhances the curriculum

The Abbotsleigh School, one of the first schools in Australia to connect to AARNet, has been a pioneer in harnessing the potential of video conferencing as an educational tool. AARNet’s National Video Conferencing Service has provided the opportunity for teachers and students at the school to participate in a range of international collaboration activities that have enhanced the authenticity of the core curriculum.

In the realm of the performing arts, for example, Abbotsleigh has developed a relationship with the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio, USA), engaging Dr Keith Fitch to teach music composition and mentor the brightest music students. Dr Fitch says he is thrilled to be working with these young composers, teaching them in real time via AARNet’s National Video Conferencing Service. “The commitment they showed to their music and their own personal musical improvement is perhaps the most inspiring part of the experience…,” he said.

Video conferencing has been so successful for Abbotsleigh, it is now embedded within the curriculum strategy of the school as a value service for staff and students. As well as music lessons, video conferencing experiences delivered over AARNet include interacting with researchers in Antarctica and Holocaust victims in New York, and for four year olds in the Early Learning Centre, a cultural exchange with children in China, among others.

Global connections for AARNet’s community of K-12 schools

AARNet has long been actively involved in facilitating international collaboration events that provide unique learning opportunities for K-12 students. We pursue a collegiate spirit of community engagement, partnering with specialist vendors and content providers to bring high quality progressive educational projects to our community of schools.

Video Conferencing Highlights for schools during 2012 include:

  • An introduction to the Jazz ensemble live from the Manhattan School of Music, made available to schools in Victoria.
  • ‘Two countries, One future powered by clean energy’ a celebration of World Environment Day hosted at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre and bringing together primary school children from Australia and the United States. A panel discussion engaged eight to thirteen year olds to imagine how the planet can be powered in the future using energy sources that are renewable and non-polluting. The panel also included the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, Green Cross Australia CEO, Mara Bun, and filmmaker and director of the Future Makers, UWS academic Maryella Hatfield.
  • Participation in World Languages Week, bringing programs to schools including; a presentation by German language consultant Andrew Ferguson ‘Grimm Kinder und Hausmärchen 400’, a celebration of 400 years of Grimm Fairy Tales, a German speaking program aimed at students in Years 5 & 6. From Japan Shoko Ishihara presented a live Japanese language speaking presentation on ‘Origami and Japanese Culture’ also aimed at students in years 5 & 6.
  • DeforestACTION learning event online via interactive video conference and live streaming. AARNet worked with Polycom and DeforestACTION consortium partners, including the Centre for Global Education and Microsoft Partners in Learning, to manage the technical requirements for the Asia Pacific region. DeforestACTION is a global movement empowering youth and schools to take action to stop deforestation, and create a permanent habitat for orang-utans and other species that depend on forest ecosystems.

A growing number of schools participate in virtual cultural exchanges

During 2012, AARNet experienced a 51% growth in the number of schools connected to the network. AARNet encourages virtual cultural exchange, enabling Australian K-12 students to share ideas with their peers around the world and develop an understanding of global issues. Our National Video Conferencing Service ensures the delivery of an authentic, real-time and up-to-date educational experience across geographical boundaries that engages students in learning and enhances the curriculum.

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