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Students use Virtual Classroom to take on the world

19 August 2011

Students use Virtual Classroom to take on the world

Three Mirani State High School students are taking on the world of engineering, and doing it all online through their virtual classroom.

Competing in the worldwide engineering competition 'F1 in Schools Australia,' the students have been collaborating with a team of Auckland Grammar School boys to get their project ready for the September deadline.

Mirani State High School teacher Kirschty Birt said it was fantastic that students from a small community like Mirani were undertaking such a big journey.

'The virtual classroom has been so important to their success on this project,' said Ms Birt.

'Their ability to network with the Auckland students using tools like web conferencing has helped them immensely with this project.'

Run through Engineering Australia, the competition requires teams to design a car propelled by soda bulbs. When complete, the car cannot be smaller than 17cm or larger than 21cm.

To help with this project, the Mirani State High School students have been using CATIA, a sophisticated design program used by the world's biggest engineering companies, including Boeing.

The winners of the competition will receive a $300, 000 scholarship to Cambridge University.

And while the Mirani and Auckland students are working on the entry together, the team won't actually meet face to face until they arrive in Kuala Lumpur in September.

'The way the students are working on this project really demonstrates the power and potential of the virtual classroom,' said Ms Birt.

'It really is amazing how they can get so much done just by chatting together online.'

To help boost the students' knowledge of engineering and their chances, engineers from the nearby mine have been helping the students understand some of the finer points of engineering.

'The whole competition is very real in terms of an industry-standard and professionalism.

'The students will even get to meet the engineers that work on Mark Webber's Formula One car.'