Wherever you are in the world, experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef with a Reef Education Virtual Learning Experience.
The Reef Education team can deliver a range of virtual learning experiences, which all link to the Australian Curriculum. These unique learning opportunities allow participants to interact with our experienced marine educators. They are a fun, engaging and effective way to involve students in learning about the Great Barrier Reef.
Each Virtual Learning Experience is supported by a range of additional digital educational resources for pre, during and post-event student learning and engagement.
Reef Education Virtual Learning Experiences can be delivered nationally and/or internationally.
Through our Zoom meeting room or webinar platforms, we can accommodate up to 500 individual connections in each event.
This means multiple classes can connect to the same session when learning from school or alternatively, students (and their families) can connect individually from their homes.
Telephone: +61 07 4750 0754
Introduction to the Great Barrier Reef
Interact with marine experts from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as they discuss, with the aid of recorded video and images, the Great Barrier Reef and coral reef ecosystems.
Learn about corals as the building blocks of the Reef and the role that various organisms play within the Reef community, from detrital feeders and herbivorous grazers to predators.
Understand the importance of various symbiotic relationships between organisms such as corals and their symbiotic algae and anemones and anemonefish.
Learn about the main threats facing the Great Barrier Reef and explore the simple actions and behaviours that everyone can adopt, regardless of where they live in the world, to help protect the Great Barrier Reef and the animals that call it home.
Gain an understanding of the biology and adaptations of sea turtles, including their life cycles, breeding migrations, and feeding adaptations.
Using case studies from the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium Turtle Hospital, we will examine the impacts of marine debris, how sea turtles are affected by other human threats worldwide, and what actions are being taken to help protect sea turtle populations.
Creatures and their features
Discover a range of iconic, peculiar and commonly found marine animals on the Great Barrier Reef.
Learn how to group these animals using the similarities and differences in their external features, and understand how scales, shells and gills help animals survive in the marine environment.
Find out how different animals in the same group have specialised communication, feeding and defence adaptations.
For example, in some species of crustaceans, the first pairs of walking legs have evolved to become nippers, while in other species, the legs have become clubs or spears!
Life cycles and growing up on the Reef
Learn about the life cycles of a variety of Reef animals, including marine reptiles, mammals and fish. Some Reef animals hatch from eggs, and others are born live.
Using examples from various Reef animals, students will discover that there are different levels of parental care, which influences how many eggs are laid or how many babies are born.
We explain that some offspring look very similar to their adult form, whilst others, which start their life as planktonic larvae, look surprisingly different. Using a crab's life cycle, we show how some Reef animals start their life as plankton and undergo several changes in shape and form as they grow up.
We will also discuss environmental factors that can affect the life cycles of Reef animals.
Introduction to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and how it is managed
The Great Barrier Reef is internationally recognised for its outstanding beauty and biological diversity, which is reflected in its status as a World Heritage Area. Conserving the Reef's biodiversity is not just desirable - it is essential.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority manages the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to ensure it is protected for the future.
During this session, you will appreciate the enormity of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the multiple uses that occur within it, the challenges it is facing and how it is cooperatively managed, making it arguably the best-managed natural resource on planet Earth.
Careers on the Reef
Discover the various career pathways of a selection of staff working at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (the Reef Authority) and the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium.
The Reef Authority is the Australian Government's lead agency responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Great Barrier Reef Aquarium is the Reef Authority's education centre for the Great Barrier Reef.
Gain an understanding of the wide range of employment opportunities within the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium; if you thought it was all about feeding the fish, think again.
We closely examine retail, sales, education, curatorial, water quality and trades, showing what is required to run a successful tourism facility and discussing the work experience and study pathways that may be needed to work in these fields.
Then, through brief recorded interviews with other Reef Authority staff, discover how Reef managers, scientists, legal officers, and digital marketing professionals are all working together to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Classification of animals on the Reef
Discover the diversity of animals found on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.
Understand how taxonomic classification is used for identifying animals and the hierarchical system and scientific conventions for naming species. Using the physical similarities and differences of particular features to group animals, test your knowledge in an interactive activity to identify various Reef organisms.
Reefs at Risk
The Great Barrier Reef is internationally recognised for its outstanding beauty and biological diversity, which is reflected in its status as a World Heritage Area. However, the Reef and its inhabitants are threatened by several human impacts.
- The major threats to the Reef are:
- Climate change
- Coastal development
- Land-use run-off (including marine debris)
- Direct use (illegal fishing and poaching)
Learn about how these threats affect the Reef and the animals and plants that call it home.
Find out what Reef Managers are doing to reduce impacts and keep the Reef healthy and resilient.
Discover how you can help protect the Reef, no matter where you live.
Living things on the Reef
Discover some iconic habitats in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and identify which living things in each habitat are producers, consumers or decomposers.
Learn how habitat complexity provides more places for animals to live and examine what happens to organisms when habitats change.
Predict how various human activities may impact food chains and predator-prey relationships.
Explore interactions between different living things and determine which interactions are competitive and mutually beneficial.
They are living things on the Reef program flyer.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is more than just coral reefs. Join us to discover a variety of ecosystems that are found there.
Develop an understanding of the inter-relationships between the organisms found in different ecosystems, including predator-prey interactions and symbiotic relationships.
Investigate how changes in biotic and abiotic factors from human activities can affect feeding relationships in these ecosystems, including how poor water quality increases algal growth and coral-eating Crown-of-thorns starfish population outbreaks.
Ecosystems and Reef Relationships
Yes, we can connect with you on Tuesday to Friday weekdays, between 8 am to 4 pm Australia/Brisbane time (AEST/Brisbane). To convert these times to your time zone, use the time zone converter.
Depending on your time zone, you may need to conduct a virtual learning experience with us after your school hours.
For example, many schools in the USA have hosted a family or open night at their school in order to connect after hours. More recently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, students and families have connected to us individually from their homes.
To discuss options on booking times outside of our regular hours, please email us to discuss your needs for scheduling to see if we can accommodate your request.
We will invoice your school or organisation upon the completion of the session. When you make a booking, please include your accounts/finance department email address for billing purposes.
- Options for payment are:
- Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard), online via BPOINT
- Direct Deposit into the GBRMPA bank account
Zoom meetings are ideal for hosting interactive sessions where the audience is able to participate and interact with our hosts and other participants.
Zoom webinars are like a virtual lecture. Attendees are not able to interact with one another and they have limited interaction with the hosts, however they can still ask questions of the host and any panellists through the Q&A and chat functions.
The Reef Education team are happy to discuss your requirements with you.
- Can you tailor a virtual learning experience to match my curriculum needs?
- Yes! You can chat to one of the Reef Education team to help tailor a Reef-themed virtual learning experience program that meets your curriculum requirements, subject, and grade. Regardless of if you are teaching lower, middle, upper school or tertiary, our experienced team members will deliver a program to suit the age, year level and learning abilities of your students.
- How long does a virtual learning experience go for and how much does it cost?
- Most virtual learning experiences run for one hour, however the length of the session can be adjusted upon request. Sessions are available on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday (Australia time). The cost per virtual learning experience is:
- Virtual learning experience presentation (60 minutes): AUD $155.00 (includes GST)
- Teacher Professional Development: Negotiable
- What equipment and platforms do I need to do a virtual learning experience with you?
- Our preferred delivery platform is via Zoom. If you are not able to connect via Zoom please contact the Reef Education team to discuss other options.
- To undertake a virtual learning experience you will need to have access to a good, reliable internet connection with suitable bandwidth. You will also need access to a monitor, speakers, a web cam and microphone. We suggest that you first speak with the information technology staff at your school or organisation to see what equipment is available for you to use.
- We can organise a test call/connection with you to make sure that your equipment is compatible prior to finalising your booking.
- How many students can participate in a virtual learning experience?
- We suggest smaller group sizes (e.g., one to two classes) as this allows for the most interaction with the presenter and provides the best opportunity for your students to have their questions answered. However, we can also cater for large group sizes, for example multiple classes or a whole school viewing from one location such as in an auditorium. In addition, we can also accommodate multiple connections, for example students (and their families) connecting individually from their homes, or multiple classes connecting from different classrooms.
- We can have up to 500 connections via either a Zoom meeting or webinar.
How do I get more information?
‘The Reef HQ hook-up was a huge success and the Year 10 students loved it. We also had several staff that popped in as a result of me mentioning it at staff briefing. The staff and students were very impressed with the quality of the presentation and the technology. Craig and Julie, you guys were great and I really appreciate how you included lots of commentary about Ningaloo. Already looking forward to the next time Hale School connects with Reef HQ Aquarium'. Rob Barugh, Head of Education Technology, Hale School, Western Australia.
- Our renowned Introduction to the Great Barrier Reef program has won multiple international awards:
- 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Berrien RESA - Teachers' Favourite Award.
- 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (Honourable mention), 2018, 2019, 2020 Pinnacle Award from the "Centre for Interactive Learning Collaborations" - Vote by teachers from across the USA.
- In 2020 the program was recognised with an inaugural CILC (Centre for Interactive Learning and Collaboration USA) Hall of Fame award for having received a Pinnacle Award or an Honourable Mention for at least 10 years. The Hall of Fame awards recognised fifteen international organisations, and we were the only organisation from Australia.
In partnership with researchers from Deakin University, Reef Education staff co-authored a paper profiling the long term successes of a virtual Great Barrier Reef education program published in the Journal of STEM Outreach.
The paper explores over ten years of participant trends for the Reef Videoconferencing program to assess whether the program is a mechanism for increasing community education outreach. You can view the paper by clicking here.
Reef Beat education series
The Reef Beat education series is a popular resource for teaching primary school students. Each series focuses on a different topic and includes posters, an activity book and, in some cases, videos.
The education series covers a range of topics, including climate change, sea country connection, sustainability, wetlands, threats to the Reef, biodiversity and more.
Resources for each year level
These are curriculum-linked teaching materials specifically developed to be integrated in school learning as science focused units.
There are units for each year level – from early learning to grade 12 – making it an easy resource for teachers to utilise.
Explore resources by theme
Teachers can explore all resources by topic, including coastal ecosystems, endangered species, extreme weather, the Great Barrier Reef, Indigenous use, marine debris, responsible reef practices, climate change, tourism and water quality.
CILC Pinnacle Award
The Reef Authority and Great Barrier Reef Aquarium (formerly Reef HQ) are delighted to be recognised for the 2022-2023 Pinnacle Award. Virtual connections to schools in the US and Canada are coordinated through the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC). Each year, CILC awards Pinnacle Awards for “Programs of Distinction” determined by evaluations from those who have participated in the live virtual experiences.
Providers receiving this award are recognised as having programs with high educational value that actively involve learners at their level and are professionally delivered via videoconferencing technologies.
The first Pinnacle Awards were given in 2008 and have continued as a CILC tradition for 14 years. The Education team have been recognised every year and strives hard to maintain this high standard of content and delivery.