The Asia ConneXions program uses a variety of digital technologies to connect students in Australian and Asian schools for synchronous activities such as presenting content for discussion and asynchronous activities such as responding to pre-posed questions.
To achieve the necessary synchronous connections when videoconferencing both hardware and software solutions have been utilised. The preferred solution is dedicated videoconferencing equipment but if this is not available then software solutions are considered.
Successful connections to date have made use of Tandbergs for videoconferencing. Asian schools are being welcomed by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training into specially created Meeting Rooms in their videoconference system. This is being encouraged because few government system schools are using videoconferencing with overseas countries. For the face-to-face joint classes, Tandberg videoconferencing systems are linked with electronic whiteboards to show the presentation slides.
Non-government Australian schools are experimenting with videoconferencing connections either directly or through a third-party host such the University of New England videoconferencing bridge. There have been some issues with non-compatibility of systems and with suitability of bandwidth. Each school-to-school connection presents with its own unique challenges and hence requires specialised solutions.
For schools without dedicated videoconferencing equipment, a software solution with webconferencing capabilities has been provided through the BizNuri program for face-to-face classes between Australian and Asian schools. BizNuri is webconferencing software developed by the Korean company CXP. BizNuri has several functions, such as data sharing for presentation slides, split screens, and a chat section. To improve audio qualities while maintaining clear visual images Skype is used for audio while BizNuri is used to transmit video. The qualities and positions of microphones and speakers are critical in order to cancel echoes.
The Australian and Asian students are also involved in online discussion through Moodle. Students receive usernames and passwords to login to the Moodle site, which lists discussion threads relating to the topics presented in face-to-face classes for online discussion between the students. Also, students are encouraged to freely chat asynchronously online and share their photos and pictures with a long-term aim of building friendships between Australian and Asian students.