Tag Archives: Hong Kong GeoPark

The worlds’ largest GeoPark learns from the smallest GeoPark

another class shot

Today 27?students from year 8 Humanities and 11 IT and several staffed ?linked up with Boris and TK from the Hong Kong. They work for the GeoPark in Hong Kong. This was the first time Adobe Connect had been used for our classes.

A great slide show with some amazing photos enabled us to compare the Hong Kong City area with the beautiful natural GeoPark areas. One could have been forgiven in thinking that we were on a remote coastal area of Australia. We learnt about the geography, population and geographic features of the Hong Kong City and the Park itself.

As usual with 35 students in the classroom, they were noisy for a start but once logged on with headsets and individual netbook or desktop access, there was silence – absolute silence broken intermittently by the sound of keystrokes as students typed something in the chat.


  • A video was to be played demonstrating the natural features, but our bandwidth was not strong enough to play it
  • The audio cut in and out at times. We took the webcams off, but although my audio was okay, the students complained that theirs was not.
  • Any of my chat went through quickly, but students complained that theirs did not.

What we liked:-

  • the amazing ability to connect in real time with Boris and JK who both speak English well
  • The wonderful photos and beautiful and unusual natural attractions featured
  • the ability to be able to ask questions and interact in the chat
  • learning immediately from other countries and cultures
  • the initiative taken by students. (One girl could not get her laptop to work so two girls shared a desktop with the external volume on but soft!)

laptop screen
Next time:-


Little Big Classroms: When East and West learn together!

Alvin used the whiteboard to draw the following image and asked in the chat “Dear all, please guess what is the animal showing on whiteboard”. The responses quickly fell in and the chat became active at increasingly high speed.  However this was not an ordinary classroom but a foretaste of what education and learning can really be about.

Alvin teaching from the whiteboard

Some of the chat and responses from students

  • Tessa: dragon?, Chloe: dolphin?, Renee 1: turtle?, Lauren: whale, Tessa: seal?
  • Alvin Ng: no it is a kind of animal living in the sea 400Mya
  • Boris from HK Geopark: it’s a fish
  • Boris from HK Geopark: extinct ages ago
  • KM: Placoderm
  • Tessa: oh cool :
  • Boris from HK Geopark: a fish with hard scales covering it’s body.
  • Alvin Ng: fossils of this fish were found in Hong Kong and in Australia
  • KM: Hong Kong and Australia were neighbours 400 millions ago so we have similar fossils
  • margm: i find that fascinating
  • Alvin Ng: we come here and see the fossils in museum
  • Tessa: wow thats really good information
  • Caitlyn: which museum are you going to or gone to
  • Boris from HK Geopark: a small town which is about 300km away from Sydney.
  • Chloe: what does it say on the whiteboard?
  • Lauren: ??
  • Alvin Ng: Geopark Park in Chinese
  • Chloe: oh ok. cool

A little big classroom

Staff, visitors and students in computer lab

The computer lab nearly burst at the seams, with a classroom that  comprised of

  • a mix of year 8 and 11 students (15 in total)
  • five adult guests from Hong Kong
  • two guests from our local GeoPark Kanawinka and
  • 6 school staff, including our Hawkesdale P12  College principal.

Mr Young Ng, from Hong Kong, currently in Sydney Australia, was presenting to this classroom mix. Elluminate was the tool used. The adults in the classroom included Mr Alan Wong, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation of Hong Kong and his associates  of the Hong Kong Geopark.  Joane McKnight, director of our own GeoPark, Kanawinka was also present.

Technical Difficulties

Just as our class was about to begin, the technical difficulties set in. Having just loaded Camtasia Studio onto my laptop, Young’s powerpoint presentation failed to load. Each slide had to be quickly converted to images and uploaded one at a time. Precious time was lost and I became quite anxious, knowing we were wasting Young’s time and that of our guests. Finally some slides were up but due to their large file size, took a long time to upload. Finally Young was able to commence his talk and surprise our guests with his presentation. (Young was one of the initial movers and shakers ensuring that the Hong Kong geopark became a reality.) His presentation was supported by our guests, using the chat and their own mobile phones, with further details about the images being shown.


  1. It was only when the lesson had finished that I realised what had happened whilst I was anxiously trying to upload the images. Alvin, one of our Asian guests, decided to make a teachable moment, drawing images and Chinese characters on the whiteboard, asking students questions in the chat and then responding to them via the chat. Our other visitors also got involved in the discussions.
  2. As Young was sharing photos of the Hong Kong GeoPark, KM was simultaneously sharing his photos/videos on his phone with one of the year 8 students.
  3. Students were all given toys that represent some aspect of rock formations in the Hong Kong GeoPark. They loved this aspect!
  4. Read skippy’s impressions of the meetup in her blog post Special Visitors from Hong Kong.


  1. Our visitors from Hong Kong were able to experience and witness first hand the power of webinars and blended classrooms. They are extremely keen to continue using such a platform for further educational activities.
  2. Joane commented after the session that she enjoyed Young’s formal presentation but whilst this was happening, all this other activity was happening on the side! (The back channel or chat!)
  3. Students were so excited about this classroom that many of them brought it up when they came with their parents to our parent/teacher interviews.


Both parties are keen to explore the notion of continued communication and connection for learning between the two countries, schools and GeoParks


From Boris, Director of Hong Kong GeoPark:-

We were very much impressed by the elluminate connection section you conducted and are very interested to develop something from it.  As mentioned during our short visit, we have just launched a school programme called “Earth Members” in Hong Kong.  We are glad that your school is interested to join this programme.  Another idea came up from the elluminate connection is a “global geopark E-classroom”.  We can arrange speakers from each side to speak to students of our counterparts through elluminate connections.  Students can then interact with each others including the speakers on a global level through the internet.

From Young Ng

(Elluminate) use such effective tool to share knowledge and feelings.

Personal reflections – What I would do differently next time!

  1. If I would have known how ‘down to earth’, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to share our guests were, elluminate  would have been used for a longer period of time, allowing our guests to introduce themselves, their lifestyles and their work, allowing the back channel of chat/questions etc to further enrich the learning in a classroom where everyone has a ‘voice’. There would be many teachers and many learners!
  2. Save the files as a wbd file  prior to a significant webinar using my personal vRoom

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Earth Science Week:- School/Community Partnerships – Geoparks


Hong Kong - the metropolis

Two exciting sessions were held this week as part of Earth Science Week. Teaching in a school that is in the ‘heart of the hinterland’ and in the centre of Kanawinka, Australia’s only, and the world’s largest GeoPark, it is fitting that Hawkesdale P12 College could be actively involved in these sessions and continue to form a partnership with the Kanawinka GeoPark community. Here is a summary of the two sessions hosted.
Establishing a geopark in a metropolis: the Hong Kong Geopark
Few people would know that the bustling, heavily populated city of Hong Kong actually features a GeoPark. Young Ng, our expert presenter, has an impressive biography including:-Designer, proposer and advocator of Hong Kong Geopark; Member, Hong Kong Geopark Taskforce, HK Government; Member, Hong Kong Country and Marine Parks Board, Hong Kong Government and is an advisory member on many global GeoPark advisory boards.
Young introduced the interesting and stunning geological features of Hong Kong GeoPark and told us why a geopark is needed in such a small and densely populated international city. He discussed the problems encountered during the process of designing and advocating his urban geopark idea and highlighted the principles and characteristics of the Hong Kong Geopark. They have indeed made the impossible, possible. It was great to learn how earth scientists can work together with community and government in protecting our natural environment.
Fittingly, there was a global audience for his presentation. How fascinating, that students and classes can join in a virtual classroom with other experts and interested parties around the world. How much richer is such a learning environment! Students of course, were fascinated with some of the stunning geological formations that Young’s images showed and the innovative approaches by restaurants in presenting food on their menus, to represent the geological formations eg golden hexagonal rock columns (fried tofu), layered sedimentary pudding etc

Listen to the recording

Caves and Volcanoes- Australia’s Kanawinka GeoPark

Ian Lewis who gives his bio as such:-  I was born on the side of a volcano! The Mount Gambier volcano has four large craters, one with the beautiful Blue Lake in it, and is surrounded by a huge large area of limestone plains, full of caves and sinkholes. Some sinkholes have very deep clear water in them which flows slowly underground from the Blue Lake. A bunch of us are scuba divers who dive in the deep sinkholes for exploration and the Blue Lake for research into water quality and freshwater aquatic life. There are over 400 volcanoes and 1000 caves across our region here in southern Australia. They are all part of the Kanawinka Global GeoPark, one of 60 GeoParks around the world, all recognised by UNESCO. I am a limestone and groundwater geologist, helping to run the Kanawinka GeoPark. I also count and record bats in all our caves and will show you photos of all the beaut stuff we do here.

Mt Rouse, Penshurst

Ian, with his  experience in teaching, led us through some wonderful images that showed the richness of the Kanawinka park. The virtual audience consisted of interested global adults, classes of students and many students individually logged onto their netbooks. This kept the chat lively, with many comments published with feedback and then questions, especially when it got to the photos of the bats.  It is hoped that Ian will return and finish his presentation as we did not get to cover the sinkholes around the Portland area and the wildlife that exists there.

Indeed it is hoped that both presenters will continue to partner with us. Thank you, Young and Ian!

Link to the recording of the Kanawinka session

Tech Talk Tuesday, eT@lking and GeoParks

This week’s events for Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking are as follows. Please note the time on this post and it will match the time on the clock which is featured on the side bar (widgets) We are now in daylight saving mode which has pulled our clocks forward an hour, but we hope all event calendars have been updated. So, apologies for any confusion.

Tech Talk Tuesdays – Tuesday, October 12th 3:45-4:45pm Melbourne Australia time.

Topic: The Changing ICT Landscape with guest presenter, Roland Gesthuzien

Synopsis:– Have you noticed a recent change of winds blowing across the ICT landscape? Things are getting interesting as we cry out for a means of sharing information, between people and across time, space and networks. Those close at the fringes of the digital frontier are charting a different course with ICT rich classes and mLearning spaces whilst developing our personal learning networks. This presentation will consider the impact of these technologies by the presenter classroom that spans a decade of teaching. This presentation will help participants to dig about for an open future in their classrooms with portable tools such as iPads, higher order thinking by programming with Scratch and even engage senior VCE students with burning issues using glove puppets.
About the Presenter: Roland Gesthuzien
Roland is a leading educator and wordsmith who enjoys the teaching of Information Technology to his students. He is a GLOBE trained teacher who is interested in a range of environmental, science and technology issues. Roland regularly blogs his work and has an active research interest in the development of sustainable online learning communities and viable personal learning networks.
Roland is currently working at Westall Secondary College, Victoria, Australia, to support Learning Technologies, leading a team of highly motivated and talented computer support staff. He is in charge of a student computer game club and leads a range of online and extra curricular college activities such as webcasting the annual college Concert, organising online meetings and activities with the sister school in Japan, exploring the frontiers of teaching ICT using hand puppets and drama. He won an EPA environment award, an ACEC 2009 national award and more recently a Science-Drama award.
Roland enjoys working with subject associations and is often seen lurking behind a camera or laptop computer at national conferences. In an earlier life, he was a Research Scientist with ICI Australia explosives division, project coordinator with Rotaract and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Lake Mountain Ski Patroller and Officer with St John Ambulance Australia. All this pales into insignificance when he tries to fly a kite or plays Lego with his kids.
Here is the link to the session

eT@lking: Creative text responses

Wednesday 13th October, 8-9pm

Presenter: Judith Way

Synopsis: Judith Way will share examples of how students can use social media to respond creatively to texts. The social media discussed, will include:-

Book trailers

About our presenter, Judith Way:

Judith Way is a teacher librarian at Preston Girls’ Secondary College in Melbourne, Australia. She is on leave this term to develop a Personal Learning Network program for the State Library of Victoria and the School Library Association of Victoria. Connect with Judith on Twitter, @BrightIdeasBlog. Judith writes the Edublogs award winning Bright Ideas blog on behalf of the School Library Association of Victoria

Here is the link to the session.

Earth Science Week

There are two exciting sessions organised for Earth Science Week. They are

Establishing a geopark in a metropolis: the Hong Kong Geopark with Ng Young C.Y., from Hong Kong. Wednesday 10am-10:45am  (Melbourne, Australia time) Free webinar live in elluminate suitable for students and educators.

Here is the link to the session.

Further details can be found here.

Caves and Volcanoes- Australia’s Kanawinka GeoPark – Thursday 14th Oct, 11:30-11:45am with Ian Lewis. This session is geared at students, classes, educators and other interested community members.

Here is the link to the session.

Further details on both exciting sessions can be found here.