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Digital Learning and Video Conferencing, an “art form” not just a digital lecture

Sydney Opera House Broadband Enabled Education Project

‘From Bennelong Point to the Nation’

As educators we strive to provide our students with the richest learning experiences, with real world connections. But we don’t have the time, the money or the contacts to make it happen. There is an alternative.

Many of you may have already experienced elements of the ‘Sydney Opera House Digital Creative Learning Program’ and this program continues well in to 2015 connecting students with artists from the Australian Ballet, Bell Shakespeare and more. The Sydney Opera House Broadband Enabled Education Project went a step further aiming to analyse experiences and interactions to assist in providing an insights in to the effective deployment of this digital medium.

I was fortunate enough to attend the conclusion of this project , and believe it has many lessons for those flipping the classroom or engaging in digital learning initiatives.

What were the Conclusions?

  • Planning is key to a successful video conference experience
    1. Minute by minute plan
    2. Plan to engage your audience and get them active
    3. Have a backup (every good teacher does)
  • You need to consider what they have termed the 5th space of digital artistry combining:
    1. The space where the Video Conference is being transmitted (Where the artists are)
    2. The space where the technical team reside (May not exist for some)
    3. The space where the recipients are (Students / Teachers)
    4. The screen where the content is projected on to in the recipients space (Whiteboard or TV)
  • Important to develop a connection with your audience
    1. Send out pre and post materials (Some groups including the awesome Listies used smell cards, creating smellyvision!)
    2. Ask the participants to perform for you and each other, we all love to create, innovate and invent
      • Dance
      • Wave
      • Read a poem
    3. Utilise personal objects to create a connection
      • School Mascot
      • Something personal to students (Show and tell)
  • You audience is not static
    1. Use your audience
    2. Get them up and active and contributing
    3. Treat it as a virtual classroom not a television broadcast
  • Technology is an enabler
    1. Make sure it works
    2. Get creative and try alternatives
    3. Strategise with state and territory bodies to ensure success

Where to from here?

There are so many organisations and experts willing to give their time to students, schools and teachers across Australia yet these opportunities to connect remain underutilised. As a group of connected educators we need to:

  1. Just do it
  2. Spread the connections and opportunities

Organisations need to consider:

  1. How to get the word out to more teachers and schools
  2. How technology companies and content providers can work together to make delivery in the 5th dimension of digital artistry more effective

Why is Intel interested?

At Intel we are focusing on inspiring the next generation of innovators, creators and entrepreneurs, and the promotion of STEAM. STEAM? You’re thinking I mean STEM, well no, STEAM adds Art to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or as ! like to say the ‘X’ factor to the core skills of our next generation of innovators. It inspires solutions that are not just logical, but creative, innovative and connected. The infographic below spells out what I like to call the X factor.


So next time you are embarking upon a cross curricular project, take a look at Intel’s Innovation Toolbox for some awesome inspiration and ideas.

The Project:

Sydney Opera House Digital Creative Learning: