NBN Co Blog
Thu 05 JULComment
From the dinosaur age to the broadband age
Posted on Thursday 05 July 2012 by Nichola Parker
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth until their historic extinction at the end of the Mesozoic era.
Personally, I'm thrilled I don't share the sidewalk with a Tyrannosaurus Rex but did you know that several species of birds survived the extinction event 65 million years ago, and modern birds today carry on the dinosaur lineage?
This adds a whole new element to the birds that perch on the railing of the NBN Co Discovery Truck, tweeting dangerously as we discuss the science of optical fibre inside.
You might be wondering why I am writing about dinosaurs - it's because I've become aware of some really awesome new ways museums are bringing dinosaurs and palaeontology to life for young students via high-speed broadband.
Palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life, including dinosaurs, and as scientists discover new dinosaur fossils, it offers them insights into how the world - and Australia - has evolved over time.
High-speed broadband services over fibre optic cable can help bring the experience of digging for dinosaur bones out of black and white photos in dusty museums directly to students in the classroom or in their homes - basically anywhere, anytime. Of course, schools will need the right equipment, software and in-premises connection to access these services.
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum (AAOD) is taking a leading role in adopting new technologies using the NBN and looking into ways it can bring dinosaurs and palaeontology from far flung dig sites and international museums straight to Australian school kids.
Recently, AAOD staff presented to St Monica's Primary School kids who excitedly gathered inside the NBN Co Discovery Truck at Parramatta to see the next generation of educational video conferencing hook ups.
Having high-speed broadband available to every school, classroom and home living room, via a combination of fibre, fixed wireless and satellite technology, could mean that children all over Australia will be able to tap into resources and locations in different parts of the world, at any time.
"We're unearthing Australia's dinosaur records at a rate never before seen in the history of this country," says Leith Wavish, NSW Society Director from the Australian Age of Dinosaur Museum.
"The NBN will enable us to share these discoveries with every student in Australia, at any time, in any location. Presentations of this nature have not been possible before and certainly not at this scale," she said.
When I was in primary school I remember clearly sitting in a sandpit "unearthing" some plastic bones and dusting them off with a paintbrush. While I'm lucky enough to have an overactive imagination, just imagine if all these children could experience real dig sites using broadband services over the NBN from the their classroom or home computer on the other side of the country - or world.
"Children know when they are getting the real deal and it makes them want to learn more," says Executive Chairman of AAOD David Elliot. "Real dinosaurs inspire kids and learning about them fires their imagination."
"If kids get to see a two metre long Sauropod rib that has not seen Australian daylight for 98 million years they understand that they are seeing something few people have been lucky enough to see," he said.
Around the globe, other countries are using high-speed broadband to enhance learning opportunities. David has been gathering ideas from natural history museums in the USA and Canada.
"There is a fantastic distance learning program operating out of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada, which is finding its way into classrooms all over America," he says.
"With the rollout of the NBN here, there will be absolutely no reason why the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum cannot do the same thing in Australia."
According to David, access to high speed broadband can give Australian kids the opportunity to get out of the sandpit and be virtually transported to the real digs happening right now across our country.
(On the other hand, if you see me running down the street being chased by seagulls and screaming - don't worry, it's just my overactive imagination about Seagullasaurus Rex!)
If you could be experience any part of the world through video conferencing and virtual reality where would it be and why?If you are interested in learning more about how services provided over the NBN can help open up better learning opportunities for all Australians visit our newly launched education site: www.nbnco.com.au/schools
When we talk about speeds delivered over the National Broadband Network, we are referring to the wholesale speed to telephone and internet service providers. The speed you can achieve, and services you can use, on your individual connection will depend on many factors including the services you subscribe to, the software and communication protocols you use, quality of your equipment and connection to your home/business, the broadband plans offered by your telephone or internet provider and how it designs its network to cater for multiple users.
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