Asia ConneXions

A School of Eucation seminar presented on May 9th, 2018 by Dr Myung-sook Auh (Presenter) and Professor John Pegg

The Asia ConneXions (AC) program started with the Australian Government’s fund support of $558,000 through the Broadband-Enabled Education and Skills Services (BEESS) program in 2013 by building on pilot projects in 2011 and 2012. The aim of the AC project was to deploy high definition (HD) video links for 30 Australian schools by connecting them with schools in South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, and India for global learning, cultural learning, and second language learning. In 2014, 1,672 students and 95 teachers from 37 Australian schools and 1,980 students and 92 teachers from 32 Asian schools engaged with each other. Thus, the Asia ConneXions project successfully established HD video links between 37 pairs of Australian and Asian schools, and reported both educational outcomes and social, cultural, and financial outcomes for each of Australia and the Asian countries (Auh, 2015).

The most significant learning outcome was increased motivation for both Australian and Asian students wanting to learn more about each other’s culture and language. The video link confirmed the Asian saying, ‘Seeing once is better than hearing one hundred times.’ Also, the evidence of the impact of the video links on students and teachers was seen from both Australian and Asian students enjoying the video links, who tell their teachers and parents about their experiences, and from the teachers who continue the video links the next year because their students want it. In 2017, the AC program connected 63 Australian and Asian school pairs (thus, 126 schools in total); in 2016, 60 school pairs (120 schools); and in 2015, 58 school pairs (116 schools). Rural and regional schools in Australia appreciate the opportunities to link with South Korea. Australian teachers in those areas say, “Our kids are not likely to have such opportunities without the Asia ConneXions program. Our kids will hardly have a chance to visit big cities until they grow up.”

The Asia ConneXions project was completed in June, 2015. But the most difficult task remained – how to sustain the project beyond the grant period. We (Auh & Pegg) commercialized the AC program adopting the QuickSmart model, and secured Korean industry partner’s annual cash contribution. Using the annual income, UNE set up a 5-year fund program for the Asia ConneXions 2016 - 2020 to sustain it until 2020 with a possibility of further continuation.