Bet­ter choice

More sub­jects to roll out for re­gional and ru­ral stu­dents

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY GRACE EVANS gevans@ ne­me­

RE­GIONAL stu­dents are about to get a lot more va­ri­ety when it comes to VCE sub­jects, as part of a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of vir­tual learn­ing and a new col­lab­o­ra­tion fund to sup­port schools work­ing to­gether.

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion James Mer­lino an­nounced last week a $22.6 mil­lion in­vest­ment to pro­vide stu­dents in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas a greater choice of sub­jects, through new on­line and face-to-face learn­ing op­tions.

“Se­lect­ing VCE sub­jects is a big de­ci­sion and all stu­dents should be able to choose what’s right for them, re­gard­less of where they live,” Mr Mer­lino said.

The in­vest­ment will in­clude part­ner­ing with Dis­tance Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre Vic­to­ria, the Vic­to­rian Vir­tual Learn­ing Net­work and the Vic­to­rian School of Lan­guages to ex­pand and im­prove vir­tual learn­ing.

The de­liv­ery of new VCE vir­tual sub­jects will start from the first se­mes­ter next year, with all new sub­jects to be pro­gres­sively rolled out by the end of 2021.

Grants will be made avail­able to sup­port and en­able col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween schools, with teach­ers be­ing able to de­liver classes to stu­dents in mul­ti­ple schools at the same time.

This will be done through us­ing tech­nolo­gies such as video con­fer­enc­ing, in­stant mes­sag­ing, chat rooms and vir­tual white­boards.

Euroa Sec­ondary Col­lege al­ready have sev­eral stu­dents en­rolled in vir­tual sub­jects and Prin­ci­pal Harold Che­ung said it tar­gets a very spe­cific group of stu­dents who are highly pas­sion­ate and mo­ti­vated in that field.

“This is just an­other way of in­creas­ing ac­cess, for re­gional stu­dents it’s an­other tool that we can use to ex­tend the op­por­tu­ni­ties for them,” Mr Che­ung said.

“Ideally we would love to run those sub­jects in house, but when there isn’t the num­bers this is a great al­ter­na­tive to be able to do that.”

Spe­cial­ist maths, ge­og­ra­phy and his­tory have been the most pop­u­lar sub­jects done through the pro­gram for Euroa Sec­ondary Col­lege.

Through this in­no­va­tive way of learn­ing, stu­dents can in­ter­act and con­nect in re­al­time with teach­ers and other stu­dents out­side of their school in these vir­tual class­rooms.

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