This week is National Science Week in Australia. Many events have been organised and suggested for schools and science classes. Most of these great events occur in Melbourne which is an 8 hour return trip from our school – a near impossibility!
When the opportunity arose for our students to be part of a remote polycom video conferencing linkup to Meet the Scientists , we were quick to take up the opportunity. Cameron Hocking of the Melbourne Museum was keen to reach out to as many rural schools in Victoria and target primarily year 8-10 students, introducing them to some amazing careers and opportunities in Science.
Yesterday, we had the linkup with 5 scientists who have the most amazing careers, unusual opportunities and chances to travel. A backchannel was set up which provided remote students, teachers and classes to be given an opportunity to ask questions of the scientists. This worked really well and many interesting questions came forward. It was gratifying to hear them being answered.
Why it worked well:-
- many hours had been spent in preparation for this event, ensuring the connections, equipment etc all worked as it was a first for Scienceworks and the Melbourne Museum (at least on this scale)
- promotions had gone out through social media
- the scientists were well chosen and strong, engaging speakers sharing wonderful images.
- the backchannel was great and could be used for questions, sharing of knowledge and also to report any audio, video issues etc.
- the careers were adventurous, unusual and of high interest to students
- the bandwidth was sound
- best of all, we could actually attend!
- technology and getting the video displays right
- ensuring all participants muted their microphones
- keeping within 1 hour, as beyond that time, students get restless in the virtual space
- getting all students logged into the backchannel
Who we listened to:
- Dr Stuart Mills, Geologist
- Dr Erich Fitzgerald, Palaeontologist
- Dr Karen Rowe, Ornithologist
- Dr Kevin Rowe, Mammalogist
- Mel Mackenzie, Marine biologist
Britt Gow and her biology students also participated in a Polycom videoconferencing event on Monday for Science Week. Professor Doug Hilton, CEO of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute will be speaking to Secondary students on the topic of “I wish I was a Biology student in 2014”. He spoke about current research in gene technology at the WEHI.
There are so many wonderful opportunites to bring the outside world into our classrooms, why aren’t more teachers/classes taking up these opportunities. Did you celebrate Science Week? If, so how?