More Australian primary and secondary schools will be able to connect straight into the classroom of a South Korean partner school with an expansion of UNE’s Asia ConneXions program.

The program was created in 2011 to particularly enable regional and rural schools to offer students an immersive cross-cultural experience based on real personal connections. It uses high definition videoconferencing to connect Australian classrooms with schools in South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia and India.

Program director and UNE education lecturer Dr Myung-sook Auh says that while it was partly created to fulfil the Asian culture and language component of the Australian school curriculum, it’s much more than this.

“The program is about preparing students to be global citizens,” she said. “It enables students to have global experiences that they may otherwise never have the chance to have.”

“It’s really important school students are exposed to different cultures, particularly the cultures of our Asian neighbours, which is important for work and life and just understanding the world around us.”

And the program works both ways: “It also gives our Asian partner schools an opportunity to develop their English skills through real-time conversation,” Dr Auh said.

More than 160 schools in Australia and Asia participate in the program, with more South Korean schools coming on board in 2019 for the Australia-Korea ConneXion (AKC) part of the program, following the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding in January 2019 at UNE with representatives of the Gimcheon Office of Education, South Korea.

“This program is a really exciting way we’re using our experience in online education to reach out to the world and enrich school students’ learning and their lives,” Dr Auh said.