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A case study in developing online learning and other IT support for high school students

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Author(s): Walter Russell

Journal: ITALICS
ISSN 1473-7507

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 64;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: engagement in learning | developing independent research skills | collaborative learning | interactive teaching

ABSTRACT
The idea of having a learning space which is beyond the confines of the classroom was proposed by Jean Piaget early in the 20th century. This paper discusses the evolution of such a learning space on the internet. How it evolved and what its consequences were on both teacher and students. The aim behind the construction of the online classroom was to support students in developing individual social research projects. Implicit in this was the need for students to take control of their own learning and become independent constructive learners. The teacher too needed to move from” sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”. Consequently a complete cultural shift was involved in the process. The paper will outline the methods, processes and problems encountered in incorporating elearning for High School students as an adjunct to the conventional classroom.The process evolved over a period of three years and is still being constantly upgraded.Academic results and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest that the online environment has significantly improved student engagement and University entrance scores. The subject, Society and Culture had an enrolment of 9 students in 2001. The 2007 school year will include 73 students as well as significant number who were unable to gain a place in a class.
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