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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Background

 Image courtesy of: http://dartconnections.org.au/​ 

The role of ISDCN (formerly TtEDSC) in regards to Virtual Excursion/Expert Lesson provision has changed since the cessation of federal funding in 2016. We can no longer pay for the excursions themselves but will facilitate a process for independent schools nationally to access excursion providers in a similar fashion to how the DART service provides services for NSW state schools. 

One of the recent advantages of converged Video Conferencing services such as "ZOOM" is that schools can now experience excursions without the need for a H.323/SIP protocol encoder device.  These devices including encoder box, high-end camera and sound peripherals are quite expensive and beyond the reach of some schools. ISDCN excursions are offered on the ZOOM platform and this means as a participant school you can join from a desktop computer (with multimedia) or from an encoder device. While a VC encoder will give a superior experience to a classroom, a good desktop connected to a projection system in a room can also supply a very passable experience for the students concerned. This technology has allowed the project to open up these excursions to all member schools and not just those with dedicated VC equipment.

Difference between an Excursion and Expert Lesson

In some ​cases there would seem little difference between what might be classed a Virtual Excursion or an Expert ​​Lesson. For our purposes we will describe a Virtual Excursion as having some or all of following characteristics:

  • Attempts to virtually portray an actual visit to the institution

  • Offered by a recognized​ provider (3rd Party - business, state or federally run institution)

  • Is a one-off experience

Expert Lessons tend to be more focused on a particular skill set, involve more activity from an instructor and are often  in a series.

Service Overview

This service aims to provide a process for Australian independent schools to engage with 3rd party providers of virtual excursions and virtual expert lessons. It provides the following to member schools:

  • ​A software platform to connect to providers - we use the ZOOM conferencing service. A big advantage for schools is that schools can connect either through a desktop computer or a dedicated encoder (codec) device. Desktop access allows most schools with reasonable Internet service to engage with these types of experiences.
  • Hosting and support by ISDCN media staff
  • A process that allows schools to pick when they would like to run a particular excursion with the hope that it correlates more closely with relevant academic programs and school calendars
  • a single point of accounting. Schools will not have to deal with providers directly instead being invoiced through AISNSW.

How it works​


The following process will be offered:

  • Educators can see the list of available suppliers, read about their offerings and elect to take a particular excursions at the advertised fee
  • schools will then use the online booking form to:
    • select a provider
    • select an excursion or lesson
    • nominate three possible date/times ​
  • ISDCN sets up the event and adds to event calendar. Schools can choose whether to allow other schools access to the same booking. Cost of the excursion is shared in there cases.​
  • ISDCN media staff provide an orientation session​ to establish connectivity and peripherals are adequate
  • ISDCN​ hosts your excursion
  • Schools are invoiced by AISNSW ​​

Please access the "Virtual Excursion Service" tab for process links and provider and excursion details.