Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Chris Harte, lead teacher for personalised learning at John Monash Science School (JMSS). Chris was a key member of the team that implemented Google Apps for Education for the school’s Emerging Sciences Victoria (ESV) initiative. ESV brings advanced science courses to students across the state of Victoria.

Emerging Sciences Victoria (ESV) is a virtual school that offers advanced science classes to students in Victoria, Australia. We developed our curriculum to include courses on astrophysics, quantum physics, biotechnology and nanotechnology in order to get students excited about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While ESV is based out of the John Monash Science School (JMSS) on the Monash University campus in Melbourne, our students are distributed throughout the state.

When we launched the program in 2014, we had the teachers, the technological know-how and the webcasting studio we needed to get started. What we still needed to figure out was how to deliver virtual lessons to students across Victoria, and how to coordinate with teachers operating on multiple devices and in schools with limited resources.

Google Apps for Education offered a number of benefits: a suite of products made for easy collaboration, unlimited free storage and an attractive price—$0! We knew we wanted collaboration and communication to be at the heart of ESV, and Google Apps gave us the incredible opportunity not only to connect students to expert teachers and working scientists, but also to each other.

Today, our ESV students can participate in live webcast lessons or view videos after the fact in a private-access YouTube account. They can then work with fellow students on experiments and reports using Google Apps, which allows them to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations, wherever they are and in real time. Teachers can review their work and give personalised, live feedback.
In one experiment, students modeled the decay of radioactive atoms by using M&M's® to explore the concept of half-life. They entered data in shared Google Sheets simultaneously, did homework in Google Docs, discussed findings via Gmail and Google Chat, and created and shared presentations in Google Slides.

We already have 156 Year 10 students at over 30 schools in our program, and we can easily expand our capacity to accommodate up to 250 students per semester. We’re extremely proud of ESV, but the best part about the program is how replicable it is. We believe the future of education lies in connecting students, teachers and experts together online, and we’d love to see other states and even other countries do what we’re doing so that more students can benefit from connected learning.

You can read full the full case study on ESV here.