Information for Teachers working with DART CONNECTIONS

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Connections videoconferences are available to NSW Department of Education and Training sites/schools/TAFE/Non NSW DEC Schools where the appropriate videoconferencing and internet connectivity exists. Schools external to the DEC must have H.323 compliant video conferencing equipment.  We do not support Jabber, Skype or other SIP based software.

We have many institutes and professionals that provide us with curriculum enriching video conferencing excursions. A list of our Providers can be viewed here.

Here are some helpful short videos to get you started:

You must be a registered member of our site to book an excursion. 
Both DEC and Non-DEC NSW schools can participate.
NB: Some excursions are not open to Non-Dec schools

Our large open excursions are usually one off events with a special guest speaker.  For example, Premier’s Reading Challenge often have guest authors and illustrators.  Western Plains Cultural Centre have had The Archibald Prize.  These open excursions are usually made available to as many schools as possible and there is usually no cost.  It is more of an information sessions and not as interactive and personalised as the Module Sessions. They are usually listed under “Free Events”.

A Module session is usually one Provider and one school.  There is a lot of interactivity and there is often pre or post activities included.  The school chooses a day they would like to do their excursion and then selects a module from that Provider.

Some Providers offer scheduled modules and varying dates throughout the year. eg. Australian Museum have Museum in a Box video conferences throughout the year but constrain the number of schools to 6 due to the limitations on the availability of the boxes. There is usually a nominal fee associated with these excursions.
This will be indicated in the Module Session details. Most sessions have a limit of 50 students, some sessions have a limit of 30 students.  It is important for the students to have a quality experience:
  • group size affects level of interactivity
  • students are seen by the presenter
  • more personalised access for students to the expert presenter
Generally, video conferencing Module Session excursions are not recorded. They are a unique live experience for a class of students. If for any reason you would like to record your Module session, you can find instructions on recording your conference here.

No.  We are restricted by difference in time zones and scheduling of international presenters to work outside of their normal working hours.

If you would like a date that is not listed, you can contact the international provider directly and ask for a specific date.

All sessions are advertised in Australian Eastern Standard time and NSW Eastern Summer Time (daylight saving).
Yes. Open free events are recorded and stored on the NSW DEC IPVCR.  They can only be viewed by NSW DEC schools and sites and are only available for 2 weeks after the event.  Instructions on viewing or downloading recordings can be found here.

Yes, always.  There must be a supervising teacher in the room with participating students.  Presenters often call on the classroom teacher to help facilitate questions and interactivity.
Content providers and presenters are security screened. The students are being filmed/photographed and written permission must be given. Provision can be made for students who are not given permission to be filmed/photographed to be in the room, but off camera.
Where an Open Event or Module Session may present contentious issues, notification will be made in the Excursion/Event details.  It is then left to the school principal’s discretion.

For more information regarding parental permission please visit the Departments media services page

Connections staff regularly present at:
  • professional learning days
  • education network days
  • DEC Directorate Regional and State conferences
We will happily organise an example of a live excursion for your conference delegates. You can request a Connections presentation on line.
No. Connections do not provide training for using your video conferencing equipment but we can point you in the right direction.
For NSW DEC Schools
All Connections events are monitored and provisioned with live support during your conference. The video conferencing system within NSW DET is very reliable. If you have difficulties with connecting or quality of your experience during your conference, please call the live support line straight away 1800 824 737.
For Non NSW DEC Schools
Before registering for a session, Non NSW DEC schools must do a test conference, as live support is not possible outside the DEC network.  Establishing a connection to a virtual meeting room is as much support as we can offer to non NSW DEC schools.
It is very rare for our excursions to be cancelled. However, sessions have been cancelled due to:
  • hurricanes
  • major internet outages
  • power failures at schools
  • presenter illness
Where possible, both Open Events and Module Sessions are rescheduled. 
Late cancellations and no shows will incur the full cost of the session is applicable. Content Providers may have their own cancellation policy they enforce.

You need to contact the content provider who is presenting the excursion you have booked.  A list of our content providers and their contact details can be found here Find out more about our Providers.

Each provider has their own booking conditions when it comes to cancelling or changing a confirmed date.
We are happy to help where we can and here are a few hints
  • Set your camera presets before joining the conference
  • If there are windows in the room, close any drapes or blinds. Daylight is a variable light source and can conflict with interior room lighting.
  • When adjusting your camera, try to fill the screen as much as possible with people rather than with the table, chairs, walls, lights, or the floor
  • For microphones not fixed, ensure they are at least 1 metre away from the video conference camera/endpoint and not near any other electronic equipment otherwise audio will be severely affected
  • Keep microphones muted until invited to speak by the presenter.  Mute your microphone directly after speaking. There is always peripheral noise at schools and the microphones pick up everything.  This is a big distraction to the presenter and other participating schools.
  • During open events, there can be large numbers of participating schools. It is helpful for you to have your questions ready before the Q&A section of the presentation.  If you think of a question, and it is not an appropriate time to ask, please write the question down so you don’t forget!
Schools are not able to connect directly to a camera external to the DEC network, instead they must use a VMR to bridge the call. Before contacting Connections you need to be able to provide the following information:
  • A technical contact for the external site (name, position, email address, phone number)
  • The Public/External IP address of the external sites videoconference camera  

Information about event dates, KLA objectives, target groups and registration procedures for forthcoming Connections presentations can be viewed under our upcoming excursions. You can also Search For Excursions, here is a short video to assist you. 

Events are advertised regularly to school principals and in school coordinators through InPrincipal and Side-by-Side. If you would like to ensure you hear as soon as events are listed, please subscribe to our newsletter/Facebook/Yammer/Twitter/RSS Feed.

If it is an excursion that you would like to offer to other schools and you would like to see it promoted on the connections website please contact the connections team.

View our help videos for further assistance

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