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Recently The Coalition of Knowledge Building schools conducted a student consultation with the NSW State Library and included students from Ravenswood School for Girls, Kambala School, Monte S’ Angelo Mercy College, Granville Boys High, Santa Sabina College, Ashfield Boys High. The students were asked to respond to the Library’s latest exhibition “Life Interrupted: Personal Diaries from World War 1”, in order for the Library to understand what they found fascinating, interesting and significant in the exhibition and what they would like to learn more about. To undertake this consultation they used mini iPads to make notes and take photos of the parts of the exhibition they found interesting and to produce a key note to present their findings to the whole group.

This outstanding exhibition http://ww1.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/life-interrupted-personal-diaries-world-war-i is a display of hundreds of diaries from World War 1. The diaries are beautifully displayed and demonstrate the diversity of their authors. The exhibition focusses on this concept and builds the story of the experiences of these soldier authors.

The Education Team at the State Library use cutting edge technology to engage students with the rich resources of the Library. They use video conferencing to reach a greater number of students and innovative interactive technologies to work with students who visit their Global Learning Space.

School excursions provided by the Team no longer use “booklets ’ or handouts but rather students are provided with mini iPads with key questions or tasks to lead students through the exhibitions, enabling them to create a response and share the products of their learning with their classmates during and after the event.

 The “Kids consult” process led by Professor Susan Groundwater-Smith is a way for the State Library and other cultural institutions who are members of the Coalition of Knowledge Building Schools to understand how students engage and learn through their exhibitions.

Sharing their reflections of “Life Interrupted” the students commented that reading the personal writing of the soldiers’ diaries demonstrated their diversity as people yet their commonality and shared response to their horrific circumstances. Students were deeply moved by the drawings they found within the diaries and the young age of the soldiers who were in some cases the same age as themselves.

Australian students are privileged to have cultural institutions with such highly experienced and innovative Education Teams who use the latest technologies to engage them in the rich content and expertise housed within their institutions. Many of them provide video conference events, face to face excursions and outstanding digital content through their websites.

To find out more about virtual excursions go to https://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/virtualexcursions.aspx

 and http://www.virtualexcursionsaustralia.com.au/





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