Small Rural Primary Schools Enhance Science Learning through Blended Learning

Approximately 80 upper primary school students are involved in an exciting project aimed at enhancing and improving the provision of science for rural young people through a blended learning approach. Teachers from two rural clusters (involving six schools across education sectors) are working collaboratively together in developing an exciting science program focused on the human body. Using the approach utilised within the highly successful eBiology program that operated a couple of years ago, staff are currently developing a range of learning activities that involve, face to face learning; access to a web based resource and chat forum; and regular online delivery of learning for students across the two clusters. The program is being developed to support the individual needs and desires of students involved in the six schools.

This is an exciting opportunity for our small group of students, not only will they have the opportunity to learn with other students interested in the same things they are, but they will also have access to other teachers who have skills and knowledge that I don’t. While we teachers are being challenged with the effective use of  kid friendly technologies, we are all keen to make it work as we can see the real opportunities that exist for our students.

Science is one of the learning areas that smaller schools find it difficult to provide well, and through this blended learning approach, we are hoping that our students will gain access to a broader learning experience, as well as improve our learning outcomes within the science. area.

The program has been developed with the support of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and is facilitated by Andrew Douch – the guy who facilitated the eBiology project.

The student learning program is expected to begin in Term III, with teachers currently involved in a range of online and face to face professional learning activities to build their capacity in the use of the variety of technologies they would like to use within the program. Getting to know Blackboard Collaborate, Edmodo, podcasting, video production, and the like are all new skills the teachers are developing. Already there have been many online meetings of teachers exploring how they can provide a more engaging science program for their students.

In addition to this exciting program, there are two other blended learning initiatives being supported as part of the state-wide program:

  • an ePhysics VCE program involving for rural schools
  • a second eBiology program involving eight rural schools.

If you would like more information on these exciting program, please contact us.