Melbourne’s Monash University today announced the setting up of the NBN Virtual School of Emerging Sciences (NBN VSES), a partnership between Monash, the John Monash Science School (JMSS) and Pearson Australia, which will facilitate year 10 school students from around Australia connecting with leading experts from Monash and allowing them to undertake open-ended experiments and work collaboratively with peers around the country.
The initiative, which is part of the federal government's NBN-Enabled Education and Skills Services Program, will be opened up to regional areas as the NBN is expanded.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) of Monash University, Professor Adam Shoemaker said that by utilising the newest technology, the NBN VSES would allow high school students to actively apply their curiosity about science.
"We will give students the tools to investigate real-world problems with the help of experts and resources that they would not normally have access to in the school environment."
The Principal of the John Monash Science School (JMSS), Peter Corkill, said the school‘s innovative science curriculum would excite and spark the curiosity of young people and assist in the professional development of participating high school teachers.
"JMSS has engaged other schools and their students in highly successful collaborative science education programs, an experience that will prove invaluable in establishing the NBN VSES."
Global educational publishing and resource company, Pearson, Australian CEO, David Barnett, said the company would work with NBN VSES partners to develop the virtual, collaborative learning spaces necessary for the program to be effective.
Barnett said the NBN VSES initiative “breaks new ground in terms of science teaching in Australia” and was a “great example of how technology can enhance and personalise the student learning experience."
The NBN VSES received $2 million in Federal Government funding, with a further $2 million in funds and in-kind provided by partner organisations, including the Australian Science and Mathematics School, Gungahlin College, Tasmanian eSchool, Willunga High School and Cisco Systems Australia.