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.
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.
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:
The following process will be offered:
Please access the "Virtual Excursion Service" tab for process links and provider and excursion details.