Innovation in teaching and learning at North Geelong Secondary College was on display during Open Day on Wednesday 23 March 2016. Students participated in interactive fly-through tours of the Universe, a virtual visit to Canberra’s National Museum of Australia guided by a robot and an educator, and a live cross to Geelong’s new library for a skills development class.
These activities are examples of the kinds of progressive online education opportunities made possible by the College’s connection to Australia’s national high-speed research and education network – AARNet.
During the Open Day event, Year 7 students participated in a virtual class hosted by the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre’s children’s and youth services librarian (pictured above) who introduced students to the library’s resources and activities such as robotics, code club and fiction reading, as well as the research skills they need to succeed in their studies.
At the same time, students in another class joined an interactive real-time virtual tour of the National Museum of Australia’s Landmarks gallery via their desktop computers, guided by the award-winning Museum Robot (pictured left). Each student independently explored exhibits such as the famous racehorse Pharlap’s heart, the design of the Sydney Opera House and Mathew Flinders’ expedition around Australia, zooming in on objects that interested them and talking with a museum educator.
Elsewhere on campus groups of students took fly-through tours of the known Universe inside AARNet’s IGLEw, a mobile inflatable 3D theatre (pictured right). The IGLEw combines gaming technologies and visualisation tools with access to high-resolution imagery and real-time data from the world’s research organisations to engage students in new and exciting interactive learning experiences.
Why connect to AARNet?
Nick Adamou, Principal North Geelong Secondary College says providing students, teachers and the wider community with access to the digital tools and resources they need to thrive in the digital age is a priority for the College.
“Connecting to AARNet is one of the best things I have implemented at the school. It has resolved the access issue we were facing in the past and we are now able to take full benefit of the network’s high bandwidth to exploit the potential of the digital world and build on more innovative digital learning opportunities for our students, staff and the wider community… Having close to 1000 student and staff devices on the ground, mainly iPads, laptops, smart boards and smart TVs in every teaching and learning space meant that the only way to improve Internet access to digital learning and Cloud-based resources was through AARNet,” said Adamou.
“The library corporation is committed to building digital literacy and digital inclusion throughout the community. We understand the vital importance of digital tools to education and to accessing information throughout one’s life. It is something that everyone needs access to – regardless of their age or economic status. We regard it as a fundamental entitlement,” says Cr Andy Richards, Chair of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation.
The College is the first government school in the G21 region (Colac Otway, Golden Plains, Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe and Surf Coast) to connect to AARNet. This Open Day showcase demonstrated a range of progressive online teaching and learning opportunities being pioneered at North Geelong Secondary College and in the region as part of the Geelong Secondary Schools and Community (GSSC) Digital Learning Hub project, the focus of which is building an inclusive innovation platform that empowers students and enables the community to develop the skills for Geelong’s workforce of the future.
The Geelong Regional Library Corporation, Deakin University and The Gordon TAFE also connected to AARNet, along with a growing number of Independent, Catholic and government schools.
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