Virtual classroom initiative takes off in CQ
WILLIAM Cho is collaborating with twelve other students to solve the problem of water wastage... but there's only one other person present in the room with him.
The Year 8 student is taking part in his second iSee virtual classroom, which links students around the state with each other as well as University researchers and lecturers involved in science and technology.
Rockhampton State High School is the host site for the CQ division of Queensland's Virtual STEM Academy, which offers authentic, problem-solving challenges to students regardless their location.
William 'meets' with students from Winton, Alpha, Moura and Gladstone between 11.40am and 12.50pm every Tuesday, for ten weeks at a time.
Students can see each other via video and talk over their headsets as they tackle online challenges which are designed by content experts around the state.
With academies based in Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane and now Rockhampton, the growing range of challenge topics range from tilapia fish to tropical architecture.
William was part of the inaugural, food-themed challenge last term of last year, which has already reported great results and enrolments.
"We have nearly 100 students in 34 schools taking part in this region with another two principals expressing an interest,” said project coordinator Breeha Sinnamon.
"It's a magical opportunity for CQ students, especially those in rural and remote schools, to tap into a much broader expertise than might ordinarily be on offer.”
William said it was awkward at first but now it's "pretty amazing” to feel closer to his virtual classmates.
"I'm learning about water at the moment with students in Townsville who've just gone through a massive flood,” he said.
"It makes the lesson more interesting to think about it from other people's perspectives.
"I think it's easier to solve problems as a group rather than on your own.”
Rockhampton State High School has invested in 360-degree video camera to make their next, online adventures even more interactive.