On Wednesday TVNZ One News broadcast the story of students from three schools from disaster hit areas - Christchurch, Brisbane and Fukushima - using video conferencing to connect their schools together, share experiences and extend their learning.
The connection was arranged by Polycom (Microsoft’s Unified Communications Innovation Partner of the Year for 2011), who are more used to connecting students with outside experts for curriculum projects (this winter they connected schools with NASA to talk with Astronaut Hans Schlegel, CSIRO for National Science Week and Dr Jane Goodall for World Environment Day). These special events connected 3,883 participants together across seven countries this year.
Polycom have been chosen by Victoria to provide classroom video conference systems for 600 of their schools, so there will be a big new group of schools able to connect next term in the projects scheduled for International Math Day, World Foreign Languages Week and International Women’s Day. Lynette at Polycom is responsible for making all of these days successful and relevant to the curriculum - you can follow her on Twitter to find out about new projects, and keep in touch with their projects through their education newsletter - October’s is online here, which has much more information on the news story.