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Video Conferencing - Obesity project at Rosmini College

"Over the Back Fence"

A Rosmini College health teacher used video conferencing to connect his students initially with a school 'over the back fence' and then eventually to Massey University, then America and all over the world.

The precis below tells you a little bit about that journey, and the files (attached) show you who was involved (marketing pdf) and a project description, including results, setbacks, and decisions made.

The Idea:

13 Health Students Face the Experts


Recognising that today and tomorrow’s students no longer reside and work within a cozy insular
neighbourhoods, city or country, Year 13 students in Mr. Wood’s Health classes
are expected to learn from and share with a worldwide audience. 

The students are working alongside seventy odd university students in the United States who are likewise examining the issue of overweightness and physical inactivity from both a
global and local perspective. Utilizing a website (InterPacific Forum),
developed with the help of our IT director Mr. Basel, Mr. Wood has created a
digital space where these and other health related issues can be
discussed.  For the current project, students research one of seven identified factors that contribute to obesity: individual physiology, individual psychology, individual physical activity, the
physical activity environment, social psychology, food consumption and food
production. Abstracts are posted and students and professionals worldwide are
now responding to these abstract findings.

To further assist students to gain an understanding of the multiplicity of factors that interplay within the obesity challenge, Face to Face with the Expert
videoconferences have been taking place. Professors Erica Austin and Robert
Peavy at Washington State University have shared their expertise respectively
on how the media influences children’s food choices and the impact of Type 2
diabetes. Dr’s Elaine Rush and Grant Schofield at the Auckland University of Technology
have discussed their ongoing research with the Waikato DHB/Sport Waikato
Project Energise, and how the physical environment impacts the quantity and
quality of physical activity. Dr Ali, Massey University, recently showed how
the human body breaks down nutrients into energy and explained how individual
differences cause some people to use the available energy more efficiently than

Whilst engaged in this project, students are also learning to use a number of search engines including “Google Scholar”, “Google Squared”. The students connected with the American
students in May and again in September to discuss their respective findings on
a live videoconference.  Parents and other students are welcome to visit the website: www.interpacificforum.org.

the Back Fence:

St Joseph School – Rosmini College Partnership


Year 12 Health students are continuing to build on a successful partnership begun in 2009 with classrooms at St Joseph School:  Across the Back Fence. Begun with just
one class of thirty students interacting with sixteen Rosmini students, this
project now involves about 240 primary children under the tutelage of almost
150 Rosmini students throughout the year.

During first term 2011 Year 12 Health classes met with the primary students weekly to provide a
weekend physical fitness and skills development activity. In the second term,
Mr. Fordham’s Academic Physical Education Year 12 and 13 students organised and
facilitated a more intense skill development activity. For term 3, the health
classes will be back with the students to continue the physical activities and
they also provide each class, in arranged teams, a daily message, blogs and a
weekly video conference on health/wellness related issues, such as road safety,
healthy snack choices, importance of aerobic exercise, etc.


The health and academic physical education students may receive
academic credits for their work on competition of the required tasks.

Conferencing: Rosmini to the world

While some Rosmini College students have had the opportunity to
participate in now seven international video conferences with students in the
United States, that opportunity served only a few senior students who were
transported to Massey University each time to make the connection.

That is about to change as the College has gained access to
video-conferencing equipment, thanks to a loan by NEAL—Northern Education
Access Loop. Using a ultrahigh speed fibre network, Rosmini students and
teachers will be able to connect with students and colleagues throughout New
Zealand and across the rest of the globe.

High speed, multi-site video conferencing is not new to Rosmini
students. They pioneered the first Access-Grid link back in 2003 with students
from Christ College, Christchurch; Wellington Girls College; and Victoria
University. The bi-annual links with the American universities has been running
since 2006, with Rosmini College students sharing their research projects and
discussing issues (currently obesity and physical inactivity). Several SKYPE
face-to-face conferences have also 
proven successful. This medium is being used almost daily between Mr.
Wood’s classroom and three classrooms at St. Joseph School. 


The use of this means of communication has required the learning of
special skills, and confidence.  When the big screen lights up and shows a collective of 200 students sitting in a university lecture theatre, there has been a evident deep breath at both ends.
Our students are learning to step outside the normal classroom environment and
face the world… accepting that this means of communication is now accepted in
education, business and community.