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AARNet partners with the NSW Department of Education and Training and the Australian Museum to enhance collaborative learning

Digital Outreach Program delivers interactive learning to regional schools

Sydney, Australia – 2 November 2011 – AARNet, Australia’s Academic and Research Network, is bringing the curriculum to life, enabling students to view Tasmanian Devils, meet leading researchers and talk to Dinosaurs without leaving their classrooms.

AARNet has partnered with the NSW Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) and the Australian Museum to deliver interactive video content via the Clickfest program. Clickfest is designed to connect regional schools throughout Australia with specialists in various fields of study using high definition videoconferencing. This immersive technology enables students to learn from experts across Australia as if they were in the same room.

To mark the official launch of Clickfest, AARNet this week hosted a national videoconferencing session which engaged students in sessions involving explosive science experiments, talking to Dinosaurs and contributing to a discussion with researchers on the problem of the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The interactive lesson was streamed simultaneously to remote schools throughout the country. The launch event signifies the inaugural collaboration of the first four schools connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Running throughout November, the Clickfest videoconferencing program is an initiative from Distance and Rural Technologies Connections (DART Connections), a division of NSW DET dedicated to delivering programs that enrich the learning curriculum. AARNet utilised its national research and education collaboration infrastructure to deliver interactive sessions to schools in remote areas, utilising its high capacity network and National Video Conferencing Service to connect students to a wealth of learning experiences from high profile organisations such as the Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum and the Historic Houses Trust.

Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet said, “This is an excellent example of how high capacity broadband services can revolutionise the learning experience. Clickfest will connect students in regional communities to iconic Australian institutions as part of their daily classroom activities. The regular use of real time video collaboration on this scale is the bright future of school education, enabling students to learn from Australia’s top talent without leaving the classroom.”

The Clickfest launch was attended by regional schools located throughout Australia including some already connected to the AARNet network via the National Broadband Network (NBN) including Presbyterian Ladies College (Armidale, NSW), The Cathedral School (Townsville, QLD), Willunga High School (SA), Circular Head Christian School (Smithtown, TAS) and Bees Creek Primary School (NT).

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About AARNet
AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the company that operates Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet). It is a not-for-profit company limited by shares. The shareholders are 37 Australian universities and the CSIRO. AARNet provides high-capacity leading edge Internet services for the tertiary education and research sector communities and their research partners. AARNet serves more than one million end users who access the network through local area networks at member institutions. For further information, please visit: www.aarnet.edu.au.

For further information, please contact:

Almira Anthony Max Australia
+61 2 9954 3492