Second Annual Megaconference Jr. Global Event

On Thursday, 19th May 2005, students and educators from Malta had the opportunity to participate in the second annual Megaconference Jr. global event.

Megaconference Jr. is a project designed to give students in elementary/primary and secondary schools around the world the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and contribute to each other's learning in real time, using advanced multi-point video conferencing technology. Presenters have themselves designed and conducted videoconference-based presentations and activities focused on academic and cultural issues. Participants had the opportunity to address questions to presenters and share experiences with geographically diverse peers in collaborative learning activities, thus building international cultural awareness. Detailed information about the event including the days schedule of presentation is available at: www.megaconferencejr.org

Students from the school Margaret Mortimer Girls' Junior Lyceum Sta Lucia, their educators, and members from the Department of Technology in Education at the Education Division participated in this event.

The Megaconference Jr. 2005 event has brought together participants from approximately 200 schools and from over 10 countries around the world. Sites anywhere in the world were also encouraged to watch the live stream, chat with other viewers, and ask questions to the presenters. The event ran over a 12-hour period making it possible for schools from many time zones to participate during their regular school hours.

The University of Malta, with the support of its Computing Services Centre (CSC), served as the local host site for the event using a dedicated videoconferencing facility that is available on campus. The videoconference took place over the GÉANT and Abilene networks which are the European and U.S. research and education backbones and which are interconnected together with a 12Gbps connection. GÉANT serves over 3,500 research and education institutions in 33 European countries through 29 national and regional research and education networks. The Maltese research and education network connection to GÉANT is coordinated by the CSC.

In order to secure good connectivity for the videoconference, the CSC made use of advanced Premium IP reservation facilities that are currently being deployed over such research networks. Premium IP provides guarantees on bandwidth, network delays and packet loss. These guarantees are important for applications which have real time constraints, such as videoconferencing.