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Video transcript – Dungog Community of Schools Virtual Classroom

Sarah Jane Hazell, Principal, Paterson Public School and Project Co Leader:
How can we meet the needs of gifted and talented students in rural and remote schools? And what's currently available in our schools to meet the needs of our own gifted and talented students? These are some questions that we were asking ourselves as the Dungog Community of Schools. When the Rural and Remote Curriculum Leadership Grant Applications came out we decided to put together an application that utilised the technology currently available to us, including Adobe Connect and Microsoft 365 in order to best meet the needs of the students in our community, and how can we overcome the tyranny of distance between our schools and give our students every opportunity to thrive and excel? What is currently available in our schools to enable gifted and talented students in rural and remote schools to fulfil their potential?

Graeme Oke, Principal, Vacy Public School:
The result has been a very successful gifted and talented program that connects students with experts through the use of technology. We call it the Dungog Community of Schools Virtual Gifted and Talented Program.

Sarah Jane Hazell, Principal, Paterson Public School and Project Co Leader:
So the program first started when some students from one of our schools was looking at going to another school entirely to join the OC class, and we talked about the issues surrounding that, that they were going to go out of their own community to get the extension opportunities that they were ready for, and at about that time the grant came up in the Rural and Remote Curriculum Leadership Program and we felt that it could really suit what we wanted to do, and we'd run a pilot program so that we can invite students from our learning community to be a part of an enrichment program, and the pilot program was in creative writing, so we had students from a whole range of schools around our area on their own sites, being taught by a teacher at one of our schools, and it was a real success. We then broadened that into a number of other curriculum areas, and with the help of the grant, we were able to source a new lot of technology which helped us do a lot of training for our teachers and our kids and have somebody on board helping us with the technology.

Student 1:
We would like to tell you about our course it was a, like a drawing thing, and there was a famous illustrator.

Graeme Oke, Principal, Vacy Public School:
Our artist was actually one of the parents of one of the students at school, Natalie Jane Parker and she's a well known, well published, children's author and illustrator. It was wonderful to have her on board as part of this project as well. We had one camera that was actually set up either on Natalie or we could turn it down to her work so if a student for example was to ask, "How do I express sadness?" or "How do I express anger in a character?" Natalie would able to actually demonstrate that on camera and show the steps of the processes that she would go through, and it was similar in ways of using the water-colour pencils to show techniques, specialist techniques. She was able to show those visually. For me, I was looking after the Adobe Connect chat room and that's where a lot of the children would write their comments about Natalie's designs, drawings, or how she was showing the technique.

Shayne Taylor, Teacher at Gresford Public School:
Adobe Connect works no troubles with our new CommBox and the kids could even set it up by themselves and email to one of the students, the student went on that link, put in the password, and they were connected up.

Student 2 from Vacy Public School:
Well we used this site on the computer that was called Adobe Connect and we could see the teacher.

Student 3 from Vacy Public School:
They would have a little camera and then they would be speaking and we could hear them.

Student 2 from Vacy Public School:
We had to use this chat room down the bottom of the page, and we typed in with the keyboard questions and answers and that.

Graeme Oke, Principal, Vacy Public School:
And the second one that they were using was Microsoft Office 365, sharing through OneNote.

Student 2 from Vacy Public School:
It had all of the questions and things and they could type in questions and what we had to do and all the different schools had their own little page so we could click onto their site and see what they've done and the photos of what their work has been like.

Shayne Taylor, Teacher at Gresford Public School:
We were lucky enough that the kids in this class use OneNote and Ipads all the time so they could connect up very easily.

Student 4 from Gresford Public School:
This is my first ever drawing that Natalie Jane Parker and got me some good ideas like the eyes how they’re like really big and bright and that's like kind of a happy thing and then with the big smile.

Student 5 from Gresford Public School:
This is my first ever drawing I done with Natalie Jane Parker and she taught me a bit about the outer rim of the drawing I done, to make it a bit darker, the colour.

Sarah Jane Hazell, Principal, Paterson Public School and Project Co Leader:
To date we've run gifted and talent programs in creative writing, science, robotics, and visual arts. The options are endless, and as a Rural and Remote Community of Schools we will push the boundaries to make special learning experiences accessible to all of our students.

Graeme Oke, Principal, Vacy Public School:
Rural remoteness, Distance, isolation, what were once barriers and obstacles to our students are now insignificant. Our virtual gifted and talented classrooms enable our students to have experiences and opportunities that were previously inaccessible but now they can access with ease.

Student 5 from Gresford Public School:
Oh, I thought it was amazing!

End of transcript

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