Monday, July 2, 2012

Technology takes author to the bush & animals to the classroom

About Aleesah Darlison

Aleesah Darlison has written picture books and novels for children and is also a book reviewer for the Sun Herald newspaper. Aleesah loves animals! In her words, "animals have always been a part of my life, which is why they feature in so many of my stories". She travels around Australia and internationally, delivering author talks and workshops for children and adults on creative writing and marketing.

Her latest project is to offer exciting author and illustrator 'visits' to children in remote areas. This has been made possible by a partnership with Education Officers at Sydney's famous Taronga Zoo and the availability of the NSW Department of Education and Training's 'Connected Classrooms' initiative. This has provided video conferencing technology to public schools across the state, even in the most remote regions.

‘Books and Animals’ sessions with Aleesah Darlison

It’s rare that small or isolated schools have the opportunity for children’s authors or illustrators to visit. Not only are there time and distance limitations involved in travelling to outlying regions, there are also cost factors that mean country schools often miss out. Thanks to video conferencing technology, students everywhere can now benefit from having an author visit at minimal cost.

To help celebrate 2012 Book Week, children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, has developed amazing ‘Books and Animals’ video sessions in conjunction with Taronga Zoo. On Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 August, Aleesah will be joining Kristy Robberts at Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo) to run two sessions: ‘Echidnas and Aussie Animals’ and ‘Bats and Nocturnal Animals’. The sessions can then be broadcast anywhere.

The sessions focus on Aleesah’s picture books, 'Puggle’s Problem' (listed on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge) and 'Warambi' (shortlisted for the 2012 CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Non-Fiction and the 2012 Wilderness Society’s Environmental Award for Children’s Literature).

Several sessions are scheduled throughout each of the two days and run for 45 minutes each. The sessions are suitable for K – Year 3 and include an author talk and book reading by Aleesah plus factual information about the Aussie animals featured by Kristy Robberts. Animals at the zoo will make special guest appearances so students can see them up close and ask questions about them.

The sessions fit well within the NSW Curriculum and are supported by Puggle Packs and Bat Packs, which include Teacher’s Notes for both books. For more information, visit Aleesah’s website at: or email her at

NSW teachers can also make bookings at DART Connections:

Photo courtesy 'Screen Central'

 Teacher Feedback from past video conferences:

"My class and I loved participating in the VC last week. It was very engaging for the students, and they really enjoyed the experience. Love the echolocation song!"

"Today's conference went very well and the kids couldn't stop talking about Puggles and echidnas afterwards!"

"Thank you for such a fabulous video conference. It was our first video conference and the children and staff thoroughly enjoyed it. The children were talking about it all day!"


Visionair said...

very superb :) photography

Thanks for sharing


Gemma Watson said...

Hi Trevor,
Gemma here from Ford Street publishing.

So good to read about people like Aleesah Darlison and projects like this! It's great that we encourage kids to read and find ways of doing this without the limitations of distance and lack of funds. So heartening! Everyone should have the joy of books in their life!

Prue said...

I've nominated you for an Illuminating Blogger Award Trevor. See my blog for details:

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Prue, thanks for nominating me and for being a faithful reader of this blog.