Tech Journalism. 3rd Year UTS Student, previously a writer for the AU Review and Gamers Classified.
Students can see live footage of sharks beamed into the classroom through a new hi-tech program using drones.
The NSW Government program brings marine life directly into the classroom through a live-stream broadcast on YouTube and the use of underwater cameras and drone footage.
The stream features shark scientists and footage of sharks swimming, accompanied by facts about shark ecosystems and behavior.
The program was recently launched by Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair and Education Minister Rob Stokes to connect schools to sea life, to teach students about sharks and to reduce fear.
Mr Blair said shark scientists and drone operators took part in three live to air sessions from Lighthouse Beach in Ballina for schools to livestream across the state.
“We have schools from across NSW and interstate taking part, and incredibly schools and teacher training colleges in Washington State, Montana and even Hawaii have booked in for us to take students on an ocean adventure while teaching them key safety principles when visiting the beach,” Mr Blair said.
“We know sharks are a key species in healthy oceanic and estuarine environments and when people enter open water, they’re entering the shark's domain.
Teaching our children about sharks helps gives younger NSW students key information to enable them to myth-bust these animals and ensure they’re well prepared when they hit our beautiful beaches.”
"Sharks are not the mindless killing machines that people often see in the media and on TV," according to Culum Brown, a behavioral ecologist from Macquarie University.
Mr Brown said the program was a great idea, but the government should go further in improving education about sharks.
"You start with education, and education is the biggest problem - if this government spent more money on education and less money on drum lines and shark nets we'd all be a lot better off because it's really about letting people make informed decisions."
"The risk of being bitten by a shark or killed by a shark is grossly overestimated by the general public and the media and if you actually look at the statistics the probability of being killed by a shark in Australia is extremely low," Mr Brown said.
"We need to change our perceptions of sharks when we enter their environments," he said.
"If you are bitten, don't blame the shark - you know, you're in the water with the shark, it's their home, not yours."