Video conferencing in Australian schools

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The Polycom education newsletter has just dropped into my email inbox, and I wondered if you already know about it? The Microsoft partnership with Polycom extends the use of video conferencing and audio conferencing in education across a wide range of scenarios, from remote 1:1 teaching, to professional development and whole-school video conferencing. (And every time I pickup a phone in our office for a Lync call, it’s a Polycom handset that I use)

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The newsletter comes out every few months, and looks at projects underway in education. Polycom have a wide range of partners that deliver sessions via video conferencing for schools, and which includes the National Museum of Canberra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Literature Live. In 2012 they are adding History SA, Opera Australia and Fremantly Press

Some of the highlighted info in this term’s newsletter include:

2012 is the Year of…

Apparently, as well as being the Year of Reading, 2012 is also the Year of Sustainability for All, the Year of the Brothers Grimm and the Year of Languages. And the Polycom team have lined up events to match with these, so that schools can connect their curriculum to activities outside of school. For example, the Year of Reading will include an opportunity to connect with WA authors and illustrators as part of the 3rd Annual Polycom Literary Festival in conjunction with Fremantle Press.

  • World Languages Week – 6/9 March


This is a joint project between the Microsoft Partners in Learning network, Taking It Global, the Centre for Global Education, Polycom and AARNet, with a goal of connection 100,000 students around the world for a series of live global events. The project is initially focusing on the forests of Indonesia, where widespread illegal deforestation has made the country the number three emitter of greenhouse gas in the world. Five schools will get the chance to join live videoconferences with the team in Borneo, whilst other schools can take part in the live streaming.

  • DeforestACTION – 28th March

World Earth Day

There are two scheduled events, with Green Cross Australia leading ‘Sustainability for all’ for upper primary students, and Questacon leading ‘The Science of World Earth Day’ for Middle and Secondary students.

  • World Earth Day – 20 April

The VideoConference School

Abbotsleigh School, in northern Sydney, uses video conferencing for students to take virtual excursions, learn from remote experts, connect with students in other countries, as well as for staff to collaborate on research grants and carry out professional development sessions.

The team at Abbotsleigh run their own blog – The VideoConference School – with examples of how they have used the system in their curriculum.

If you want to join any of these activities, or find out more, the links and contacts are all in the newsletter. You can also find out how to contact their education team who put these programmes together.

Learn More

You can download the Polycom February Education newsletter (PDF) here, and, even better, sign up to get the Polycom Australia Education newsletter directly here

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