Sydney Olympic Park online in 2020

The education team at Sydney Olympic Park authority jumped into online delivery of their programs this year, with great results.

Field Based Virtual Excursions

Virtual Excursions exploring the Badu wetlands at Sydney Olympic Park have enabled students to experience a fieldwork session without leaving the classroom. Having these excursion available as live online sessions has also opened up their audience to schools that haven’t been able to attend onsite due to distance.

During the year 105 kindy to year 12 classes were delivered online, totalling 3150 students.

YES Live Events

In 2020 the Youth Eco Summit (YES) went virtual. The primary school program had a wide range of presenters delivering workshop or large scale shows. This program also involved upskills presenters creating new content providers for the future. The primary and secondary events were a great success and had 1560 students across both events.

MURAMA Youth Event

Murama Indigenous Youth Summit is a resilience-based cultural intervention program which is based on the strengths of Aboriginal culture that aims to heal our communities. The program focuses on belonging, kinship and traditional values as the stepping stones in a right of passage to reweave the cultural connectedness between individuals, families, and the community.

This year the event was delivered differently. 450 students from 15 schools participate in online workshops and 100 students in the the Murama Youth event.

Operation Art

The Operation Art Exhibition was on display in the Armory Gallery at Sydney Olympic Park.

This year they offered virtual art-making lessons to class groups of primary school across NSW. Students were taken on a virtual tour of the exhibition through the eyes of the camera and then participated in an interactive art-making lesson with artist and teacher, Trevor McDonald. 21 classes participated in the online programs reaching 630 students.

Utilising digital technology allowed these wonderful programs to still go ahead in 2020 reaching almost 6000 students. It has been a very challenging year for students, teachers and education organisations and virtual excursions have enable us all to stay connected.

Due to the success of these engaging programs the team at Sydney Olympic Park Authority will continue to offer virtual excursions in 2021.

The Sydney Olympic Park Education team offer their K-12 Geography, Science & History LIVE Virtual Excursion Experiences. These unique K-12 syllabus linked Geography, Science and History Virtual Excursions are hosted live on site in the inter-tidal wetlands and in the Sydney Olympic Park urban centre.

The duration is 2 hours for years 7-12 and 45-60 minutes for K-6 programs. They can also customise a program to suit your students needs. Visit their website to see the full suite of programs on offer at Sydney Olympic Park for 2021.

YES Live 2020 Shows

The Youth Eco Summit is going digital in 2020. Register now for the free YES Live shows for your students on Wednesday 18 November. Australian Wildlife Displays: Marsupials and More at 1.15pm and the Fizzics Education: Liquid Nitrogen Show at 2.15pm.

Australian Wildlife Displays: Marsupials and More

Meet Dozer the wombat and many more furry Australian animals! See Dozer’s furry face and bony bottom up close! Gum-nuts the ringtail possum, Barney the brush-tailed bettong and Alfie the sugar glider. Let’s learn about these Aussie animals, the adaptations that make them special, their life and their plight in Australia.

Fancy a “Face to face” with the icons of Australian mammals? Join Australian Wildlife Displays at 1.15 – 2 pm on Wednesday 18 November.

Register now

Fizzics Education: Liquid Nitrogen Show

Find out how solids, liquids, and gases change when rapidly heated and cooled. Smash a tennis ball! Shrink a balloon instantly! What happens to living things if they are frozen? How does a liquid nitrogen sprinkler work? Watch exploding balloons and more in this super ‘cool’ science show!

Join Fizzics Education at 2.15 – 3pm on Wednesday 18 November.

Register now

YES Live is a perfect end of year event celebrating, showcasing and sharing sustainability in action.

Proudly Supported by NRMA

Brought to you by Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Book Week 2020

The State Library of NSW is hosting free online author talks every day during Book Week 19 October to 23 October 2020. Join some of Australia’s favourite children’s authors as they share the inspiration behind their writing and take your students through activities which will stimulate their imagination. 

Interactive virtual workshops 

These hands-on workshops will have your students busy from start to finish, making books of imaginary beasts, painting watercolour illustrations or using book pages to compose their own poems. Not only will your students learn the skills and techniques used by authors and illustrators, but they will also be inspired to create texts of their own.  

State Library of NSW is also launching a new page of creative writing prompts from the State Library’s collections released in time for Book Week. From penguins to picnics, explore a range of thought-provoking stimuli to inspire children of all ages and stages. Remember to check back each week because new prompts will be added weekly during Term 4. 

Find out more about all the amazing Learning Programs available from the State Library of NSW.

SciFest 2020: the journey so far

We are at the halfway mark of SciFest 2020 and it’s been exciting journey so far. We launched the virtual excursions festival with the Super Science Showcase on Monday 3 August. Sydney Science Education, Little Scientist, OZGrav and Fizzics Education shared their passion of science with students across Australia in class and learning from home.

Today also marks the launch of National Science Week and the Sydney Science Trail. These events provide more opportunity for you to connect with some amazing scientists. Researchers, scientists, community science groups, and art and science institutions all come together to celebrate Australian science.

Don’t worry if you have missed the program so far, there are still some amazing events still to come.

Surviving Antarctica from the State Library

Deep dive into the oceans and ice-scapes of Antarctica. In this interactive online excursion, students will explore the library’s world-famous Antarctica collection to discover what the Antarctic environment is like.

19 August at 2pm and 20 August at 10am.

Pippa And Dronie Virtual Launch Party

Join in the adventure as Pippa and Dronie travel around Australia, finding out just how useful a drone can be! Be part of the FREE Virtual Launch Party during National Science Week.

9.30am AEST 17 – 21 Aug

UNSW Centre for Ideas

The UNSW Centre for Ideas has a range of nightly talks at 6.30pm between 17 – 20 August. There is something for everyone.

Super Science Showcase

SciFest  in 2020 will wrap up with another Super Science Showcase. Join some of Australia’s best science presenters for this dynamic science showcase.

Friday 28 August at 2pm

My Journey Beneath the Waves

I will share some of my favourite diving stories with you and highlight the amazing animals that live in Sydney Rocky Reefs.

Tuesday 18 August at 2pm

Continue the journey with us and get involved in these events to discover the awesome power of science.

National Science Week 2020

National Science Week 2020 is finally here, explore Virtual tours, online events, DIY science and more all across Australia between 15 – 23 August.

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. Running each year in August, it features more than 1000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, research institutions, libraries, museums and science centres. These events attract a wide audience from children to adults, and science amateurs to professionals. Over one million people participate in science events across the nation.

Virtual Excursions Australia SciFest 2020 3 – 28 August, once again links up with National Science week. SciFest is a video conferencing festival promoting science and technology. SciFest and is held in August and aims to be the biggest video conferencing festival in Australia .

This year it is important to recognise the work done on our behalf by scientists, medical researchers, and health professionals, as well as the meteorologists, bushfire propagation mathematicians and others who helped the fire fighting authorities to combat the recent devastating bushfires.

Live events will be held online, and many activities will be able to be done at home by adults, children and family groups. Find an event near you.

There is also a range of DIY Science activities for you to try at home. Especially if you can’t get out this Science Week, try out these activities at home or in a nearby park.

Sydney Science Trail

The Sydney Science Trail is an online science adventure for National Science Week 2020 and beyond. The Trail is brought to you by the Royal Botanic Garden and the Australian Museum. Researchers, scientists, community science groups, and art and science institutions all come together to celebrate Australian science.

15 August to 15 September

A range of curriculum related content produced in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, Macquarie University, UTS and ANSTO. Exploring the theme of ‘Adaptation’, it features theatre shows, live panels, science shows, workshops and many activities for your classes. 

Explore the Sydney Science Trail to spark your inner scientist and discover how science can help our planet.

Open for one month only
15th August – 15th September 2020

You and your students will be inspired to explore activities, digital exhibitions, live streamed talks and demonstrations from world-class scientists, researchers and curators.

Check out the full program of events.

What’s on: School Holidays July 2020

There are some amazing online programs available for the July School holidays. Find a programs that suits your needs with these great organisations.

Australian Museum

Discover our fun and informative online resources for teaching curious kids about science, nature and culture this school holidays. Virtual storytime Join Adria from the Australian Museum Research Library as she reads from a selection of children’s books.

Image may contain: 1 person

Fizzics Education

Fizzics Education is bringing their exciting, engaging and hands-on school holiday programs ONLINE via our partner Skills and Thrills. 3-hour holiday workshops appropriate for all primary school-aged children

State Library of NSW

The State Library of NSW is one of the great libraries of the world, with a history dating back to 1826. Check out the great kids programs for the July 2020 school holidays

Sydney Science Education

Sydney Science Education has range of new Online programs for the upcoming school holidays. 29 June – 17 July. Specialising in Earth and Environmental Science, Science Made Easy are hands on, interactive workshops designed to inspire your students about the natural world.

Easy steps to deliver Virtual Excursions

Learn from Australian experts in online engagement on how to deliver Virtual Excursions. Find out how to set up your space and use the right technology for your programs. Create professional, successful, engaging session for your audience.

Worried about being on video?

More people than ever before are doing live videos and things don’t always work out perfectly. No one expects perfection. Being relatable and real is more likely to help endear your audience to you. Practice makes perfect – try it out on your friends, family or colleagues and be open to feedback.

Find out about the importance of audio, video and lighting with Stephen Bancroft from RVR Media.

Where to start?

Choose a web software platform that works for your audience. Think about your own capacity to manage and host people online, and how you want to manage your audience interaction.

Check that your chosen application or software connects with your A/V technology and won’t be blocked by internet security or firewalls.

Use easy timezone conversion tools, consider when people will most likely participate and put date and time information together for example: Monday 5 June, 16:00 AEDT.

Cameras: Will you have more than one? Ensure your video system connects with a good audio system. At least have a good quality USB camera with a built-in decent microphone and consider a light. Consider a versatile videoconferencing camera with pan tilt and zoom. A lot of the great camera work is about good set up – making sure the camera can focus, and setting your room up with interesting props that you can use as an alternative to ‘talking heads’.

Audio: If you’re doing a webinar, the audio may be good enough on a new laptop. Next level up: a headset microphone or a good Bluetooth microphone. Reduce echo where possible, for example with soft furnishings.

Check your network and internet: Make sure your internet is fast and reliable. An ethernet cable connected to a computer is always better than WiFi. Reduce the amount of internet being used during the conference by turning off Netflix, YouTube or other similar high-bandwidth heavy applications during your session.

Type ‘speed test’ into Google to run an internet speed test that will identify any site issues. If you have a video conferencing system, their diagnostics will allow you to look deeper into the speed of the data and as well as data loss.

Do technical checks on everything days before. If you’re using video conferencing, use a Videoconferencing Test Site service. On the day, log on early to test everything. Have a backup if everything fails for example an email or social media post drafted ready to send. Ensure speakers are aware of the backup plan.

Discover what you can do to create a great space for delivering virtual excursion with Karen Player from Australian Environmental Education

Online delivery essentials

Use this as your checklist to help deliver engaging Virtual Excursions.

Have a clear strategy: Know who you are talking to, what they might enjoy (you can always test and adapt), and what you are trying to achieve.

Develop an effective content and delivery plan: What are you going to present? How will you make and keep it interesting, at the right comprehension level?

Check your visuals: Everything from the speaker and their background to what you want to show your audience.

Check your audio: ensure you have good quality voice amplification, any external audio set up, and avoid annoying background noise.

Set up safe, reliable online environment: This is about ensuring that the technology works and that you establish good practice.

Record your event: Even if you don’t share publicly, by reviewing your work you’ll get better. And if you do share it out you’ll have bonus data on your audience.

Make sure you have a plan, you have tested your equipment and done a practice session and remember it is OK to make a mistake.

This content originates from Web Conferencing 101 Essentials training. The Virtual Excursions training package was coordinated for national delivery by Inspiring Australia NSW. It was produced and delivered by Fizzics EducationSydney Science Education and Refraction Media with support from the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist & Engineer and state Inspiring Australia programs in NSW, ACT, QLD, WA and SA.

SciFest 2020

The SciFest 2020 Virtual Excursion festival occurs each year in August and provides a great link to National Science Week. SciFest is a great opportunity to engage your students in a variety of Live Streamed and on demand science workshops and events.

There will be a variety of activities for students and teachers in school and at home. There will be something to interest every student including:

  • Speaking to scientist and experts
  • Investigating animals and their adaptations
  • Exploring the natural world
  • Uncovering the earths secrets
  • Delving into DNA

SciFest 2020 provides opportunities for your students to connect with exciting science, experts and experiments without leaving your classroom. SciFest topics, dates and times will vary throughout August to provide variety and flexibility for your students.

Bookings and topics are available at DART connections. Simply search SciFest to see all the exciting events from organisations across Australia.

SciFest event is proudly supported by Virtual Excursions Australia.

Virtual Excursion with Sydney Living Museums

Sydney Living Museums has been running Virtual Excursions for many years. They have some great program to support your students learning in 2020.


During this virtual program students connect live with a museum educator and explore how food was grown, stored and cooked in the past, in the 1820s kitchen at historic Vaucluse House. During the early years of the New South Wales colony, this grand house was the home of the Wentworth family and their many servants.

Vegetables and fruit on kitchen table.

Students are introduced to the Wentworth family and their ten children. They think about how the way we grow, store, prepare and eat our food today is similar or different to the way this was done in the past. They will see what’s growing the kitchen garden; investigate how technologies for preparing food have changed from the 19th century to today in the kitchen and dairy; and learn how to make butter, so they can make their own and find out how good it tastes on a piece of bread.


In this new virtual excursion, your Stage 2 class will connect live with a museum educator and learn about how convicts lived and worked at the Hyde Park Barracks in the early 19th century. 

Students will examine a range of historical sources, including the World Heritage-listed building, and investigate some of the work done by the male convicts who lived at the Hyde Park Barracks. Students will see how the bricks from which the Barracks was built were made by hand; and find clues left behind by convict brick makers. 

Two men leaning against a sandstone wall.

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