Long-distance maths lessons

Colac students from left Belinda Hunter, Josh Robbins, Rebecca Whittaker and Lucy Fitzgerald. Pictured on the screen are Heywood District Secondary College teacher Kathy Hilder, students Corey Davies and Ashleigh Endacott.

COLAC Secondary College students’ maths teacher is in another classroom, 200 kilometres away.

But that doesn’t stop the four Year 12s from studying maths methods.

Heywood District Secondary College’s Kathy Hilder teaches the students via a video link.

Colac student Rebecca Whittaker said two students at Heywood studied the same subject.

“It’s really starting to feel like a real classroom,” she said.

“This is so much better having face-to-face conversations.”

Colac assistant principal Jackie Dullard said the school also had link-ups with Beaufort Secondary College for specialist maths.

“It’s our first year,” she said.

“We’re doing it through the Grampians network, they’ve been doing it a few years.”

Handing in assignments is a little harder for the Colac students, but it doesn’t mean they get an extension on deadlines.

The students fax their assignments to Mrs Hilder at Heywood, who then marks, scans, and emails the assignments back to the students.

“I’m very happy with the way they’re working,” Mrs Hilder said.

“I’m really pleased with the progress of their work.”

Heywood student Ashleigh Endacott said she appreciated having more students in the class.

“It’s good, it’s nice having a larger class, two people can get really boring,” she said.

The Colac students use all the video conference equipment themselves, and can zoom in on whiteboards and work sheets at Heywood.

The students can also see Mrs Hilder’s laptop for demonstrations.

Colac student Belinda Hunter said the class was “very flexible”.

Mrs Dullard said the “virtual learning” system was better than studying a subject via distance education.

“The have direct contact with a teacher they can relate to, while in distance ed you don’t know the teacher,” he said.

“Where with this they have that direct relationship.”

Mrs Dullard said the college hoped to offer more subjects next year using the virtual system, depending on demand.


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