Oscar winner Lord David Puttnam lectures Australian students from Skibbereen

27 Aug 2012

Pictured: David Puttnam at his home in Cork

Former UK digital advisor Lord David Puttnam has begun the first of 10 lectures to students in Brisbane, Australia, via high speed BT and Cisco links from his home in Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Lord Puttnam, whose films have won 10 Oscars, 25 Baftas and a Palme D’or, is employing a model known as Atticus Education which is due to be rolled out in Asia, the UK and the US later this year.

It is the first stage in a new venture in worldwide online education.

The ten-part seminar series is based on the changing nature of screen production and distribution in the digital era and offers Griffith University Film School students a rare and personal glimpse into his extraordinary career which gave rise to film classics such as The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Bugsy Malone and Midnight Express.

Interestingly as Puttnam’s lectures hurtle through cyberspace in real-time to the Brisbane students from Ireland, it recently emerged that an Irishman Kieran O’Hea has been appointed the new chief digital officer of Brisbane as part of the Australian city’s Economic Development Plan 2012 to 2031.

More imaginative education

“We have been working hard on this model for several years, and I am delighted it has finally come to fruition,” Lord Puttnam said.

“We need the world of education and learning to embrace these technologies in ways that make the present rate of progress look exactly what it is – woefully inadequate.  

“My goal is to develop more imaginative education which leverages the immense power of technology and this collaboration with Griffith University is the first step in achieving this.”

The new education model is facilitated using a Cisco TelePresence high definition video conferencing solution with high speed internet access provided by BT Ireland’s next generation national fibre and Ethernet network.

This allows users to connect face-to-face in high definition while simultaneously being able to access presentations such as PowerPoint, use and send information from a Promethean Whiteboard and view video clips from an external source all while having full internet access.

“BT’s connectivity and our investment in high quality communications network infrastructure have enabled David to connect to students from a small place like Skibbereen on the edge of Europe to the other side of the world,” BT Ireland chief executive Colm O’Neill said.

“BT Ireland is committed to finding innovative ways to enhance learning through technology, not only through this venture but through the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years