Student teachers are using online technologies to tutor children from primary schools in Australia and Asia.
Eight schools from Melbourne, Malaysia, India and Nepal are taking part in the unique RMIT University program.
Through the use of blogs, chat, messages and posts, the eTutor program gives RMIT students the opportunity to interact with primary school students, and learn about each other's lives and their cultures.
The tutoring by student teachers undertaking Education programs at RMIT revolves around projects that include themes such as the environment, celebrations and festivals, sports and games.
Dr Nicky Carr, lecturer in the Education, said RMIT was the only Australian university providing such a collaborative online teaching and learning environment for its students.
"The eTutor program is a safe, supportive and inclusive online space," she said.
"It enables our students to work closely with a range of children from a range of cultures and backgrounds, while giving the children personalised assistance and attention.
"The program supports the efforts of the children's classroom teachers, in helping them build a strong love of learning, so vital for their success in the years ahead."
The eTutor program, which has been running with international schools since 2011, last year received funding support from the Federal Government's Office of Learning and Teaching enabling it to expand to Australian schools.
Through the program, RMIT tutors engage school students in ongoing conversations and set tasks through group messages and wall posts, similar to that used on Facebook.
Live chat sessions and feedback enabled communication between tutors and students, providing opportunities for students to improve their English language skills outside the classroom.
One of the local schools participating in the eTutor program is Broadmeadows Primary School, located in one of Victoria's most socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
At the end of last year, 40 students from the school were invited to the RMIT Bundoora campus to meet their eTutors face to face, after about 14 weeks of online exchanges.
The students had the chance to engage in a range of activities, including experiments in a microbiology lab, playing games in the gym and visiting the Library.
The eTutor program will run again this year, with hopes to expand the program to two additional schools.
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