The Confucius Institute assists Chinese students take a virtual dive into the Great Barrier Reef

Using its first-ever video link to students in China, Reef HQ Aquarium will showcase the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef to the world’s most populous nation.

The Reef videoconference will bring together three schools — one from China and two from Victoria — on Wednesday 26 November.

As the national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef, Reef HQ Aquarium will give Beijing Academy students the opportunity to learn about one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, while simultaneously interacting with students from Orbost Secondary College and Korumburra Secondary College in Victoria.

Reef HQ Aquarium director Fred Nucifora said the award-winning videoconferencing program aimed to break down geographical boundaries to provide students from around the world with rich, interactive and visual learning experiences.

“We’re very excited about our first ever videoconference with China, and hope it’s the first of many,” said Mr Nucifora.

“We’ve taken the Reef to nearly every corner of the globe with this technology, however China was one country where we had yet to visit.

“The beauty of videoconferencing is that it acts as a virtual field trip for students, bringing the Reef directly into the classroom.

“It means the tyranny of distance is a thing of the past, because we can enhance student’s knowledge of the Reef by extending the outreach of our education efforts.

“There are many stories to tell about this underwater world and its remarkable marine life, but being able to show people visually, no matter where they are, makes the experience much richer for all involved, particularly as it allows participants to ask the scuba-diver questions in real-time.”

During the videoconference, a scuba diver will take students on a journey to see the aquarium’s living coral reef ecosystem and the creatures that call it home.

“I also hope this experience may prompt many Chinese families to come and see the Reef first-hand, so they further understand why it’s so important to protect one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth,” Mr Nucifora said.

Reef HQ Aquarium has used its videoconferencing technology to reach 700 locations over the past five years, directly engaging with more than 60,000 participants.

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