Pupils quiz experts on virtual field trip

Kaikorai Valley College pupil Luke Biggs (13) asks a question during an audio-conference with...
Kaikorai Valley College pupil Luke Biggs (13) asks a question during an audio-conference with Meridian Energy hydro maintenance manager Paul Lloyd yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
It is not every day a school class gets to travel to Meridian Energy's Waitaki hydro-electric scheme and speak directly to people working there.

But yesterday was not an ordinary day for a Kaikorai Valley College year 9 science class as it participated in a national audio-conference as part of a Learnz virtual field trip.

Eight Kaikorai Valley College pupils were invited to ask questions while about 45 other schools listened.

Learnz is an online, interactive education programme for New Zealand schools which allows pupils to go to places they normally would not be able to visit.

Each year, four trips featuring Meridian wind and water assets are offered to pupils.

The programme was part of a push in information communication technology-based learning, teacher Claudine Tyrrell said.

"To go on a field trip would cost a lot of money and take a lot of time," she said.

Through the audio-conference and following virtual tour, pupils could see a hydro dam in action first-hand and get answers to questions.

Ashley Wilson (13) had looked forward to the opportunity and said the audio-conference was "easier than using the computer".

The questions pupils put to hydro maintenance manager Paul Lloyd included: "What happens to hydro dams if global warming causes rainfall changes?" and "What is the next stage in hydro development?"

- ellie.constantine@odt.co.nz

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