A new portal for digital education resources has been launched, the result of a partnership bringing together arts, science and educational organisations across Australia.

Virtual Excursions Australia (VEA) has been launched at the Interactive Technology in Education Conference in Sydney. VEA will organise videoconferencing events and give Australian teachers access to a range of interactive online content to use in the classroom. Senator Kate Lundy said “The Virtual Excursions web portal is an initiative that will help transform education in Australia and ensure it is an experience that goes far beyond the traditional classroom walls.”

The VEA project aims to help out students in a variety of ways. It will offer subjects to rural students in under-funded areas, allowing them to access the same level of educational content as the rest of the country. It will also allow a new level of collaboration and engagement between schools.

VEA chair Karen Player said its important Australians are able to stay connected; “A high speed broadband connection enables teachers to access a huge choice of interactive online content to engage students and bring the curriculum to life in meaningful ways, without the traditional barrier of the expense and inconvenience of travel. VEA aims to be a portal where educators around Australia can begin their search for local and international resources and connect with content providers.”

The project brings together video-conferencing vendors Cisco, Polycom and Electroboard, as well as arts and science organisations including Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), the Australian Museum, Sydney Opera House, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and several others.

Virtual Excursions Australia’s website is now available.