Developed in consultation with educators and students, Power Pack is an aid in teaching science, technology and applied studies and consists of a kit of four manuals and small electrical components.
Recommended for ages eight through thirteen years, Powerpack simplifies learning about electricity, a fundamental energy source.
The concept, design and hands-on activities were developed for Pacific Power by Sydney company 'Studio of Arts And Sciences (SAAS), in collaboration with The Board of Studies in Melbourne and New South Wales Department of School Education
Power Pack covers all facets of electricity from magnetism to alternative energy sources and energy conservation. It also provides a practical guide on how to build working electrical models such as "Pacers", miniature electric vehicles contructed using paddle pop sticks, drink cans, coat hangers and a small electric motor.
One feature of the lauch day activities was a race between Pacers. After thrilling the gathering with a practical demonstration of Power Pack, triumph eventually went to St Georges Basin Primaryi school, who won a Macintosh computer, modem and Powernet Software for their school.
Virginia Chadwick declared that all participants were winners in their education. Earlier, commenting on the strong partnerships being established between industry and education, Minister Chadwick acknowledged the support provided by Pacific Power. She congratulated Pacific Power on the initiative behind Power Pack and PowerNet, noting that "children's education would certainly be enhanced."
Best described as a sophisticated computer network, PowerNet is a 'world first' computerised interactive education resource centre and database.
As well as linking schools accroos the state, It provides New South Wales schools with links to resources available via the international Academic Research Network (resources previously only available to international tertiary and research institutions)
Using Pacific Power's own communications resources, PowerNet puts "learning power" in the hands of students at virtually no cost - letting them use telecommunications as part of their everyday classroom study
PowerNet features national and international conferencing facilities, full colour graphics, access to other educational software and CD ROM libraries and educational projects and games. There is also a focus on learning about community energy options and environment issues. Students are able to increase their computer literacy while seeking knowledge in areas such as maths, science and geography.
Calrossy year 12 student Megan has been using PowerNet since March as part of a "pilot run" involving her school. Displaying the capabilities of the network, Megan pointed out the benefits to students such as herself.
"I can send and receive messages world-wide. This really helps with assignments as we can request information from a variety of sources and it's fun and easy to use", she said
Inviting Mr Fahey to officially start PowerNet, General Manager Ross Bunyon declared the education innovation had "grown from the public's demand for information". Ross also expressed hope that Pacific Power would "remain at the forefront of young people's vocational planning".
With many students remarking on the value of their excursion to Mt Piper, the success of the launch can be attributed to efforts by Public Affairs team members Phil Farrell and Helen Phillips.
Both had been involved with the program for more than two years, their contributions ranging from research, computer system development and liason with the Studio of Arts And Sciences to the planning of the launch day.
"It was all worthwhile" said Helen.
"I had a number of teachers comment on the knowledge and skills their students had gained about electricity and electrical cicuittry, but what really impressed me was the students enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment about using their resources"
How it works
A free Power Pack is available to each school in New South WAles. Additional packs are available at a cost of $40.00 each
PowerNet connectivity is available to schools in New South Wales at no cost (NOTE: Connecting to PowerNet will incur a local call cost when dialling in via Telstra).
About Studio of Applied Arts & Sciences
SAAS is a leading provider of standards-based information and communications integration solutions.