School of the Air Gets SMART
The SMART project was delighted to perform one of their dynamic live science shows to students in some of the remotest parts of Australia through a visit to the School of the Air last week.
This unusual event was part of a wider tour to the public schools of Alice Springs, and the SMART presenters Karlie Noon (2nd year Maths and Physics student) and Jade Fisser (2nd year Primary Teaching Student) were delighted to be able to include this virtual show in their itinerary.
The SMART project, part of the University of Newcastle's Equity and Diversity Unit's AIM High program, mainly performs for its partner schools in the University's footprint but through a joint venture with Engineers Australia and funding from Shell Australia they are biannually touring the Northern Territory. As well as stops in Alice Springs, Darwin, the SMART team are performing in remote communities out of Katherine and in Arnhem Land.
The School of the Air show was a resounding hit, with 35 students logging in online and seven joining the SMART team in the studio (very handy when volunteers were needed to help with experiments). Students logged on from as far as 1600km away in Borraloola and islands north of Darwin.
As well as watching the show via webcam, the audience was able to ask and answer questions via a text chat box, and the presenters were surprised by how instantly the responses came in. SMART presenter Karlie Noon commented, "It was amazing just how normal the experience was. When the kids called in on the webcam, it was just like having the kids there in the room."
SMART continues its current tour of the Northern Territory with a trip to Arnhem Land next week.