Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Schools play to virtual orchestra


The Southbank Sinfonia in Bedale Primary School hold a workshop via video link with pupils 12 miles away in Richmond Primary School. The video was compiled from footage supplied by technology developer ANS Group.

Pupils in North Yorkshire have jammed with one of the UK's leading orchestras, thanks to high-speed broadband lines.

The video-linked music workshop over 10Mbps (megabits per second) connections provided sessions with the Southbank Sinfonia.

The project was organised by NYnet, which has set up high-speed broadband in the area.

It demonstrates what could be achieved using video conferencing.

The Southbank Sinfonia hold a workshop over a video link
The Southbank Sinfonia have held workshops over high quality video links

David Cullen, chief executive of NYnet, said: "This level of connectivity enables both unique experiences such as this, and plays an ongoing role in day-to-day learning that can truly enhance the educational offering in the region."

Superfast broadband is transforming public services in other countries, allowing people to work from home and access medical and educational services remotely.

While the majority of UK schools now have broadband, relatively few have the kind of speeds needed for this type of video conferencing.

In total, more than 150 children from seven schools took part in the initiative which culminated in a final performance at the National Railway Museum.

Rural projects

Other projects around the UK have enabled specialist teachers to teach classes in schools which would take several hours to travel to.

Children in Richmond Primary school playing violins
Music classes have benefited from tuition via video links

Music lessons take place every day in one such project on the Scottish borders, following the introduction of 100 Mbps data links across the region.

Distance from urban areas provides one of the biggest challenges for high speed broadband providers.

Old telephone lines are unable to carry large amounts of data quickly and laying high speed cables over large distances costs much more per customer than in towns and cities.

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