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AARNET BACKBONE ALLOWS AUSTRALIAN STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN WORLD’S LARGEST VIDEOCONFERENCE

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) today announced details of the tenth anniversary of the world’s largest video conference, Megaconference X, being delivered to schools and universities across Australia via the high-speed AARNet3 backbone on 6-7 November 2008 AEDT.
  • 06 November, 2008 10:09

<p>10th annual Megaconference to be held on 6-7 November 2008 with approximately 400 participants globally</p>
<p>SYDNEY, Australia – 6 November, 2008 – Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) today announced details of the tenth anniversary of the world’s largest video conference, Megaconference X, being delivered to schools and universities across Australia via the high-speed AARNet3 backbone on 6-7 November 2008 AEDT.</p>
<p>The thirteen-hour Megaconference X begins on 6 November at 11:00pm AEDT and finishes at midday on 7 November.</p>
<p>Megaconference is an annual global event designed to connect people everywhere on Earth, to further the use of videoconferencing in education and research and promote advances in videoconferencing technology.</p>
<p>Australian schools and universities participating in the Megaconference will connect via video conferencing hubs provisioned by AARNet known as Multipoint Control Units (MCUs). These MCUs are cascaded into the Ohio Supercomputing Center (OSC) across high bandwidth international fibre links which provide participants with access to two-way, high-definition video and real time web streaming facilities for the Australian education and research sector.</p>
<p>AARNet is one of 10 organisations around the world supplying access to Megaconference participants and viewers. Countries participating in the Megaconference include Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Finland, India, Netherlands, Pakistan, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. This year, Megaconference is also being simulcast into SecondLife for the first time.</p>
<p>Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet, said, “The annual Megaconference is an excellent opportunity for Australian research and educational bodies to participate in a global event and showcase their talents, learnings and research to the world. AARNet is providing access to high definition connections for schools and universities that want to be involved, which means users will be able to access the Megaconference via anything from a desktop PC, right up to broadcasting it throughout a lecture theatre in high definition.”</p>
<p>Locally, two AARNet connected educational institutions will be presenting Megaconference ‘interactions’ via videoconference and many more will be viewing the conference.</p>
<p>Participants include The University of Queensland and The Australian National University, which will play host to the students of Giralang Primary School.</p>
<p>The two 15-minute presentations from Australia will cover the following:</p>
<p>• 10:00am AEDT on 7 November: “The Challenges of Space Liveability”: Dr John Cokley from the University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication, will present on preparing a media policy for future space communities as a way to improving the liveability and viability of those communities.</p>
<p>• 10:30am AEDT on 7 November: “An Experience in Australian Indigenous Culture”: A presentation by the students of Giralang Primary School in Canberra, showing what they have learned while studying Australia's indigenous culture. Led by renowned indigenous artist and performer Duncan Smith, the students will present an engaging cultural experience including music, dance, art and story.</p>
<p>Journalism researcher, Dr John Cokley, said, “Research so far has shown that space communities such as the 2020 moon base or the 2037 Mars colony would end up looking like the ugly – and ultimately unviable – mining towns of the 19th century Australian and American frontiers unless space agencies concentrated more on ‘liveability’ instead of merely work and ‘survivability’.</p>
<p>“The first explorers might be content to live and work rough, but I’m sure the Richard Bransons of this world are hoping for a more enjoyable and desirable space experience for their space tourist customers. If space stations and planetary bases are going to be long-term ventures, then people like you and I, our families and businesses, are going to have to want to go there and stay.</p>
<p>“One thing which helps this kind of environment grow is the residents’ ability to ‘stay in touch with home’ … exactly the function of journalism and the news media. That’s why I’m involved in this research,” Dr Cokley said.</p>
<p>For further information on Megaconference X or to find out how to connect, visit: www.megaconference.org.</p>
<p>ENDS</p>
<p>About AARNet
AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the company that operates Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet). It is a not-for-profit company limited by shares. The shareholders are 37 Australian universities and the CSIRO. AARNet provides high-capacity leading edge Internet services for the tertiary education and research sector communities and their research partners. AARNet serves more than one million end users who access the network through local area networks at member institutions. For further information, please visit: www.aarnet.edu.au.</p>
<p>Media contact:
Rachel York
Max Australia
02 9954 3492
rachel.york@maxaustralia.com.au</p>

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