Aurora College students to benefit from having their heads in the cloud

Schoolchildren from rural and remote NSW are now on a more even footing with their city counterparts thanks to the wonders of technology and Office 365.

In an exciting day for children, parents, the State government and Microsoft, Aurora College, a virtual selective secondary school connecting students in remote parts of NSW, today announced it will create a cloud-based teaching and learning environment with Office 365. The announcement was made at Dubbo College South Campus, with Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant and NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli both in attendance.

Aurora is an innovative, unique secondary schooling option for students. Run by the NSW Department of Education and Communities, it connects students of existing government schools while providing the opportunity to study specialist and advanced subjects that would not be possible through normal schooling.

The school also offers students expanded career options through innovative programs and strengthened partnerships between schools, TAFE, universities, business and employers. Mentoring opportunities and master classes will be key features.

Office 365 will be delivered to students via HP devices running Windows 8 that will give them all the tools they need to collaborate with peers and teachers, as well as access to material from the syllabus anytime, anywhere through the cloud. In addition students can access Office 365 on their own computers and mobile devices.  Microsoft has also provided in-depth training and support for facilitators and students to ensure they are maximising the potential benefits of the cloud that Office 365 unlocks.

The cloud is creating brand new opportunities for the State’s gifted regional students to collaborate and learn – whether they are on campus, on the move or at home. Traditional learning methods have been enhanced in this e-learning environment and now more closely represent the world that students will be joining in tertiary education and the workforce.

Aurora’s innovation provides students with the flexibility and mobility that they need to study on their own terms. By building an anytime, anywhere learning environment, Aurora College is helping students in regional NSW to work collaboratively, acquire knowledge and innovate. Those skills are a great springboard for future careers in a digital economy and therefore essential to Australia’s future prosperity.

Mr Piccoli praised the forward-thinking innovation that led to the creation of Aurora College as a way of levelling the playing field.

“Using the latest collaboration technology, we are addressing a major equity issue affecting talented students in regional areas — students who have previously been unable to access the subjects and resources they need,” Mr Piccoli said.

“Students in rural and remote NSW will have access to our most experienced teachers, even if those teachers are based in the city.”

Education has never been a more critical building block to fostering innovation in today’s digital economy. Aurora College are pioneers for virtual secondary schools in regional Australia and Microsoft is looking forward to talking with other institutions on how to continue to inspire our students to innovate and learn.

Fiona Sims, Office 365 Education Marketing Manager, Microsoft Australia

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