April 2002
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Technology Taking Off In Glovertown
By Jennifer Kelly, Level III student, Roncalli High, Port Saunders, NF

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The new two-way satellite in Glovertown is literally blasting off! On Friday, April 19, Grade 3's and 4's in Glovertown Academy launched their homemade rockets as students from Roncalli Central High School in Port Saunders watched the class via a two way communication satellite.

Glovertown Academy and Roncalli Central High School are two of the 13 schools chosen to participate in a new multimedia test trial, partnered by Telesat, SchoolNet, and Industry Canada. Thirteen schools are hooked up to a two-way satellite which offers high speed Internet access, interactive video conferencing application sharing, and satellite delivery of high quality educational video programs for local storage and playback on demand. The project also involves distance education and each school having it's own webserver. This technology is being tested in rural schools that would otherwise not have access to such fast, high quality Internet speed.

Students from Glovertown made rocket ships out of reused objects, such as milk containers, drink bottles, unusable cd's, ice-cream containers, and old badminton birdies. Each rocket was brought outside and launched into the sky. The launching pad consisted of a bicycle pump that pumped air into the rocket to create pressure and water was added to the rockets as fuel. Air was pumped into the rockets until there was 40 pounds of pressure. When the pressure reached this point, they pressed the button and the rocket shot towards the sky! Students at Roncalli cheered, oohed and aahed with the students of Glovertown. "It was as if we were part of one big school", said Roncalli teacher Don Tulk, 600kms away. "My senior high students were watching and looking at the project as something cool".

Glovertown Grade 3 and 4 teacher, Mr. Glen Winsor, is really excited about the new satellite for his school. "It's great!" Mr. Winsor says. "It exposes our school. It really opens up the world. You never know what could happen next. This time we were showing Roncalli, Port Saunders Newfoundland what we could do; next time it could be a school in British Columbia. The kids really loved it. They were screaming and counting down each time a rocket was launched."

Glovertown Academy has started to make plans for their new satellite. "Our drama group is planning to do a project with Roncalli's drama group and we're open to any suggestions from other schools," says Mr. Winsor.

If this is any indication of what is to come, the commencement of the count down for the new multimedia trials have already been a success in rural schools. It allows students and teachers to communicate in a way that the walls of education are down and these schools are showing the world what their students can do.

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