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SMART CLASSROOMS: Online Literature Festival a success

November 2009

The power and versatility of online communication was on show during this year's Online Literature Festival.

Thousands of students participated in the four-week event which was run by the Learning Place and supported by the Brisbane Writers' Festival and the State Library of Queensland.

Learning Place manager Jim D'Castro said the popular event was enhanced this year thanks to iConnect, the Department of Education and Training's (DET) new web conferencing tool which enables live interactions between students and authors.

'The web conference sessions were a highlight as they ensured the online interaction with more than 30 authors was live and "real",' Mr D'Castro said.

'Being able to speak to the students enabled the authors to really convey the passion and enthusiasm they have for their work - the expression communicated through the author's body language told a story of its own.'

One Brisbane primary school teacher said her students gained a lot from a 'virtual' discussion with author Jackie French.

'It was an absolute pleasure to be able to join Jackie's web conference,' she said.

'She did a great job in motivating our whole class to read books and we look forward to many more great books from her in the future.'

The free festival which ran from August 24 to September 18 boasted 83 online activities including the Online Reader's Cup, text-based chats, blogs, web conference sessions and book raps for school students of all ages.

Students and teachers can view recordings of the web conferences by visiting the Learning Place website.