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New interactive learning program to benefit regional and remote students

Media release

Curtin University and Cisco will deliver a virtual and interactive education pilot program using Cisco Webex, which is an immersive two-way collaboration technology to ensure school students in remote and regional areas have access to the same opportunities and experiences as metropolitan based students.

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Connected Country has been developed in consultation with the successful Canadian collaborative learning program established by Cisco, Connected North. As part of the new program, students will have access to content that is engaging and innovative, helping to produce better learning outcomes and improve experiences for regional students, particularly those from Indigenous backgrounds.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Jill Downie said the education landscape was constantly evolving, so it was important to identify innovative ways to deliver educational programs to students who are unable to study at facilities in metropolitan centres.

“Connected Country offers a fantastic opportunity for students across WA to gain an insight into what university is like, learn from experienced Professors and innovators, learn more about different cultures and learning experiences from other students and schools, and get virtual tours of popular facilities around Perth, which is something that these students wouldn’t often have access to,” Professor Downie said.

“The new program aims to connect schools together and with industry, provide teachers with appropriate training materials, help students identify career options and pathways, and provide transitional support for regional students moving to Perth to study.

“This program builds on a strong collaboration between industry and education and complements the great work already being done to remove the physical, geographical and equity barriers that remote and regional students face.”

The Connected Country program aligns to Cisco’s new purpose, “Power an Inclusive Future for all” and can address the equity gap in accessing educational experiences.

Reg Johnson, General Manager for Education across Cisco Australia & New Zealand, said the initiative brings together a number of programs that Cisco and Curtin have been leading, together.

“Schools that participate in the Connected Country program, will become members of Cisco’s Digital Schools Network, which helps to connect K12 and university educators and leaders from Australia, Asia and the US,” Mr Johnson said.

“We have an opportunity to create meaningful impact into the lives of people living in regional and remote Australia, and the way education is delivered.”

As part of the program, Schools will also have the opportunity to participate and engage in conferences and events as remote attendees. Yandeyarra Remote Community School, located two hours from Port Hedland, will be the first schoolto pilot the program.

Yandeyarra school teacher Ms Jessica Albers said the new immersive program would help bring the world into the classroom and connect the classroom to the world.

“Students and teachers at Yandeyarra have been working closely with Curtin and Cisco to customise the program to meet students’ learning needs and connect into existing educational experiences they would not have had the opportunity to enjoy otherwise,” Ms Albers said.

Further information on the Connected Country program can be found online here.