Making connections by utilising HD videoconferencing
Program Director: Dr Myung-sook Auh
The Asia ConneXions program connects schools in Australia with those in Asia, specifically Korea, Japan, Hong Kong China and Indonesia, through high definition (HD) videoconferencing for cultural exchanges and development of global thinking among students.
Under the Australia-Korea ConneXion (AKC), 13 Australian schools are videoconferencing with 13 Korean schools. The sessions have been occurring weekly (primary) or fortnightly (secondary) during school hours in Social Studies subjects.
In the sessions, Australian students teach Australian culture to Korean students while they learn about Korean culture from their Korean peers. In some schools, the class content goes beyond cultural topics; their collaborative learning also extends to mathematics and science, computer studies and physical education.
The Asia ConneXions program has recently been awarded a large grant from the Australian Government through the NBN-Enabled Education and Skills Services (NBN-EESS) grant scheme. The aim of Asia ConneXions is to develop Australian and Asian students' interest in, and motivation towards learning about each other's people and culture through videoconferencing, e-pals and school exchange visits.
The project takes advantage of the NBN's high-speed, reliable bandwidth for HD videoconferencing with Asia by trialling NBN connections in selected public, private and Catholic schools, and deploying the Asia ConneXions program in the selected schools in 2013-2014. It is funded by the DEEWR and the Australia-Korea Foundation of the Australian Department of Affairs and Trade.
Samyang Data Systems in Korea is the official industry partner. The University of New England, Cisco Australia in Sydney and the NSW Department of Education and Communities — Distance and Rural Education Technologies provide in-kind contributions with their expertise in videoconferencing.
Research has been conducted, via student questionnaires, teacher interviews and analysis of videoconference recordings, to collect evidence about the Australia-Korea Connexion. Key findings are as follows:
Student outcomes: Australian students have become more interested in Korean culture and they have looked forward to videoconferencing with their Korean peers. The Australian students had more questions to ask about the Korean students and their culture after the videoconferencing sessions. The Australian students have reported that they now read more about Korea in magazines and on the Internet, and they watch TV documentaries about Korea with great interest. Many of the students said they want to visit Korea in the future. Australian students have developed public speaking skills by presenting topics on Australian culture to their Korean peers.
Teacher outcomes: In addition to developing knowledge and understanding about Korean people and culture, Australian teachers have developed pedagogical skills and strategies for teaching using videoconferencing facilities. The teachers have collected authentic teaching resources such as Microsoft PowerPoint slides created by Korean students with their Korean teachers' guidance.
Technology outcomes: Teachers have developed skills with using and knowledge about videoconferencing. Students with a specific interest in Information Communication Technology have volunteered to assist their teachers with the technology and consequently their skills have improved while learning how to use the videoconferencing equipment. The students have developed PowerPoint skills by making slides for their presentations.
Inquiries: Dr Myung-sook Auh