Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Closing date for this current Grant Round is 31.08.2017 View Grant Dates

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Case Study: Country Education Project

ProjecteKids: Digital Blended Learning for Rural School Students

Amount$220,000 (total)

Date2007, 2009 & 2012

ProgramRegional Resilience (past program)

TRUST OBJECTIVES PROJECT OBJECTIVES
These grants were approved under our previous grants policy
Rural and regional Victoria Support rural schools to provide improved subject choices, particularly in challenging areas such as VCE subjects, languages and science.
Building organisational capacity Build rural educators’ capacity and skills in using blended learning to improve educational opportunities and outcomes.
Extending opportunity Enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for rural students through a new digital learning framework.
Collaboration and partnership Build partnerships between rural education organisations, Country Eduction Project, Catholic Education Office, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and key stakeholders.

New educational challenges quickly add up for eKids

Online classrooms blend digital learning and face-to-face delivery, enabling talented rural students to access extension learning initiatives while helping teachers build their skills.

Image Regional primary school students engage with eKids

  • Involving more than 600 rural and remote students and 70 teachers, the eKids program is widely recognised as an exemplar of blended learning. Funded by HMSTrust over six years, eKids has contributed to the development of a statewide digital learning framework for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
  •  eKids was launched to overcome learning disadvantages in rural, remote locations where smaller schools result in students lacking the learning initiatives readily available in metropolitan and regional schools.
  • An online classroom (including online forums and web based resources) provides challenging activities and discussion topics in maths, science and languages through a secure online chat room. By supporting teachers to build their own abilities in this technology, curriculum options and learning opportunities have significantly improved.
  • A key program strength is the team teaching approach. For example, all teachers across the schools planned and delivered the programs, sharing delivery of lessons and providing a range of expertise. Students gained deeper knowledge of the topics, discussing them with their peers from other schools.
  • Teachers’ growing confidence in this medium has led them to explore other learning areas they can develop across their rural clusters, expanding the program beyond its original subject content.

Website: www.cep.org.au

“…I was involved in studying biology through the blended learning approach and was able to do my studies with the support of staff and students from other schools…the discussions and knowledge I gained gave me a greater depth of knowledge and different perspectives on biology.” Blended Learning Year 12 student.