Twenty upper primary school students from rural schools within the DEECD Hume region and CEO Sandhurst diocese are involved in an exciting initiative linking talented primary students through the use of online learning. Known as eKids Rural Express, the blended learning initiative links these students from 13 schools in a range of learning activities aimed at extending their knowledge and skills in the science curriculum area. The initiative has also developed a strong partnership with Quantum Victoria who provide valuable expertise and knowledge for the students involved.
The program kicked off with a face to face forum earlier this term, where students were involved in a range of challenging tasks provided by Quantum staff.
As a small school we find it difficult to be able to cater for the needs of some of our higher achieving students. The ekids Rural Express program is a fantastic resource for us to use with these students and it also engages their parents in their child’s learning.
eKids Rural Express involves a number of aspects which include:
- a web based learning community located within the Ultranet
- regular online forums for students on specific learning topics provided through Blackboard Collaborate
- in school support support provided by teachers or parents
- face to face forums to bring the students together and share their learning.
I like ekids because it is fun and entertaining. It is a great way to meet new people and make different experiments. It can give everyone a better education and a headstart for some work we might do at High School. ekids Rural Express is a great thing to do and everyone should get involved with it if they can.
(Rory Quinn – Grade Six)
Students can access a range of learning units – lightening and kitchen chemistry are two. In addition, they are involved in an ongoing learning activity which develops in complexity and breadth over a number of weeks. They access these learning units through the Ultranet and upload their assignments and work onto the community learning space established as part of the program. Student are supported, and challenged by a mentor teacher who supports their learning and provides feedback on their assignments and work.
I am in Ekids rural express and I really like it. It’s fun, I’m learning things and I am being challenged. I am hoping to learn things that will help me in my future like the periodic table and knowing how many electrons are in an atom and things like that. I am going to Ireland in a week and the online learning is really good because I can be half way around the world and I can still learn with the others in the program.
(John, Grade 6 student)
There will be a second program offered in Term III and Term IV this year – so if you have students who would be keen to be involved, please contact Jason Whiteley.
The eKids Rural Express initiative is supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, DEECD, and the Catholic Education Office, Sandhurst Diocese.