- Virtual Excursion
Expanding our reach through virtual excursions
SLM has two popular and interactive video conferences for school students. Both presentations are theatrical and interactive, weaving together historical source material and transporting students back in time to learn about the lives of convicts and bushrangers.
This month we worked with the Distance Education teachers to present a session to Year 6 students from 11 remotely located families across Australia. The students accessed the session via the web from computers in their home. Some shared the session with their parents, siblings, even pets and some participated on their own. The session was extremely well received by all the students and one parent emailed to let us know that ‘the kids had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience’. Distance Education Regional Manager Phil Farmer hopes to continue to offer this service to their families.
Another successful recent SLM videoconferencing event was our Live from the Vault session in December 2015. We joined with Department of Education and Community’s Distance and Rural Technologies (DART) Connections unit to create as special event that gave students the opportunity to see some rare archaeological finds at Hyde Park Barracks and also visit a preserved archaeological dig site.
This virtual excursion for both primary and secondary students was a first for the SLM Learning Team and proved extremely popular. We crossed to 31 schools and over 1000 students live via video conferencing from both the Barracks and Parbury Ruins. Students were able to interact with SLM staff to ask questions or clarify understanding. Participants included students at distance education and rural schools such as Lake Cargelligo Central School, Taree West, Wagga Wagga High School and Euabalong West Public as well as at schools from across Sydney.
Students also got the opportunity to engage with SLM’s curator at Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Dr Fiona Starr. The artefacts that Dr Starr brought out ‘from the vault’ for the students to examine included one of the only surviving convict shirts in Australia, a convict shoe and a rare convict ankle cuff worn to reduce the chafing of leg irons. These artefacts are so fragile they are not displayed in the museum and are seldom seen by any members of the public. The opportunity to discuss and analyse these rare primary sources in the company of an expert helped students build an understanding how they offer insights into the experiences of the convicts who lived at the Barracks.
The event then crossed to Parbury Ruins, an archaeological dig site at Windmill Street in The Rocks area, so the students could learn about how an archaeologist works in the field.. Members of the SLM Learning Team took them through the foundations and other remains of an 1820s cottage conserved beneath a modern apartment building, and discussed the ways in which archaeological artefacts can add to our understanding of a site, and vice versa.