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AARNet Connects Schools to Australia's Top Brains

Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) linked Australia’s top academics and researchers with high school students in classrooms across the country in an inaugural series of two-way video conferences held during National Science Week.
  • 02 September, 2008 13:10

<p>Students participate in live videoconferences with leading Australian academics and researchers during National Science Week</p>
<p>Sydney, AUSTRALIA – 2 September 2008 – Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) linked Australia’s top academics and researchers with high school students in classrooms across the country in an inaugural series of two-way video conferences held during National Science Week.</p>
<p>This innovative project was developed through the initiative of AARNet in partnership with Polycom, Tandberg and the science and schools community. Over 200 students from eight schools across Australia will interact with leading researchers in oceanography, climate change, astronomy, marine science, radio astronomy, weather, genetics, barrier reef monitoring, biology and experimental science.</p>
<p>Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet said, “AARNet enables innovation and education through its high-speed network and we have alleviated logistical and time constraints associated with classroom learning through video conferencing. In the past, academics and researchers would have to travel to schools to engage with students. With AARNet’s high speed network, we have demonstrated how ideas can be exchanged and collaboration can occur from any location in real time.”</p>
<p>“Our involvement in National Science Week is a clear demonstration of how AARNet is working with the Australian research and education community to enable the Digital Education Revolution.”</p>
<p>The video conferences operated on AARNet’s National Video Conferencing Service (NVCS) and linked to Polycom and Tandberg end-points installed in participating schools. Sessions were scheduled on live remote video links from academics and researchers at the CSIRO, University of Western Australia, University of Tasmania, Curtin University, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian National University, Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.</p>
<p>Nick Cross, Manager of Education Outreach at AARNet said, “AARNet provides a critical support infrastructure to help schools realise authentic learning opportunities for their students. Once teachers and students experience this type of high value collaboration, we hope they will begin developing their own programs and partnerships.”</p>
<p>“The ability for students to discuss their own scientific investigations with an expert in the field provides them with a perspective not available elsewhere. There is no replacement for looking another person in the eye and getting to the heart of the matter – and high definition video conferencing respects that face to face interaction.”</p>
<p>AARNet’s NVCS offers standard and high definition video conferencing. The NVCS is a Video over IP Service which provides AARNet members with access to up to two Codian Multi Conferencing Units (MCU) for audio and video conference calls. The MCU supports up to 60 available ports (video conferencing endpoints). Other features include:</p>
<p>• Live streaming video for participants who wish to view the conference from a web browser
• Real time transcoding and rate matching of video conferences from standard to high definition
• ISDN Video conferencing multipoint bridging for mixed ISDN/IP environments
• Content inclusion using H239 standards for PowerPoint or VNC screen sharing sessions
• Recording and archival of video conferences allowing playback of content at a later date</p>
<p>AARNet’s conferencing service enables end users to converse through a phone or video endpoint and it can support up to 60 locations on its network. The NVCS supports web streaming for participants who may want to view a conference through a web browser. These streams can be recorded and transcoded into different bit rates/formats for viewing at a later date. The NVCS also supports new systems such as IP VCRs for the direct recording of video conferences.</p>
<p>- ENDS -</p>
<p>About AARNet
AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the company that operates Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet). It is a not-for-profit company limited by shares. The shareholders are 37 Australian universities and the CSIRO. AARNet provides high-capacity leading edge Internet services for the tertiary education and research sector communities and their research partners. AARNet serves more than one million end users who access the network through local area networks at member institutions. For further information, please visit: www.aarnet.edu.au.</p>
<p>About National Science Week
National Science Week, held from 16 – 24 August celebrates science and innovation in Australia and involves touring displays, hands-on presentations, speeches, forums and a national tour of international science personalities. For further information please visit www.scienceweek.info.au</p>
<p>Media contact:
Gabriel Wong
Max Australia
02 9954 3492
gabriel.wong@maxaustralia.com.au</p>

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