Victoria Minister for Education Martin Dixon
Victoria Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall
New Victorian Government Video Conference Initiative Creates Virtual Classrooms
Victor P Taffa
Student outcomes in rural and regional schools are set to rise through the installation of state of-the-art video-conferencing technology.
As a result of the Victorian Coalition Government’s $3.2 Million Video Conferencing Initiative, students at rural and regional schools will be able to share their classes with students from other schools, including some of the state’s smallest and most remote schools, increasing opportunities to study a breadth of subjects.
Minister for Education Martin Dixon today joined students at Ballarat High School for a virtual lesson in German to announce the roll-out of video-conferencing capabilities to a further 300 rural and regional schools across Victoria.
Today’s lesson was a real-time language class between Ballarat High School, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, Bairnsdale Secondary College and Stawell Secondary College.
Mr. Dixon said the initiative would expand students’ access to a range of subjects and subject experts and was an important part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to improving outcomes, including retention rates, among students in rural and regional schools.
“The Video Conferencing Initiative will ensure more regional and remote schools benefit from the power of video-conferencing by enabling schools to log on and link up with other schools across the state to share classes and provide students with greater subject choice and more educational opportunities.” Mr. Dixon said.
“It will now be possible for smaller rural schools to offer particular VCE classes to just one or two students by linking in with a class hundreds of kilometres away.”
Mr. Dixon said the Video Conferencing Initiative builds on the Grampians Virtual School program – which has been running in the region since 2009.
“The Grampians Virtual School has been providing virtual classes for students in 26 schools in the Grampians region as well as delivering 25 VCE subjects to 200 students in regional schools in other parts of the state.” Mr. Dixon said.
“It has been a great success, with students across the state logging on to share the same class in a variety of subjects, including specialist mathematics and physics.”
The Video Conference Initiative will also support the Government’s commitment to expand the provision of quality languages education to government school students.
Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall said the video conferencing units would also support teacher professional development, with the state-of-the-art units compatible with video-conferencing at the Bastow Institute of Education Leadership.
“Not only will teachers in regional and rural schools be able to use this technology to share teaching practice and ideas with teachers in other schools, they will be able to access professional development programs provided by the Bastow Institute from the convenience of their own school.” Mr. Hall said.