digitalLEARNING Magazine


E-volution of schools in Sydney

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A 24-hour school with no traditional classrooms and where students use mobile phones and laptops to learn is being built in Sydney.

Designers of the Catholic school for 1700 pupils say it will keep students interested in learning and reduce truancy and behavioural problems. Pupils from kindergarten to year 12 can attend the school – being built at Stanhope Gardens, in Sydney's north-west – between 6am and 10pm. They can also have access to their work and lesson material at any time on the Internet. Staff will provide online tutorials from 8pm to 10pm.

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At a cost of more than $40 million, the school is a significant investment in the community. The traditional classroom concept will disappear, replaced by “learning spaces”. The school will be referred to as a “learning community” and teachers will be known as “learning advisers”. Technology would be a major focus of the school that will boast a “meshed wireless environment”. It will be an e-learning environment using m-learning [mobile technology] tools. This could mean a student might be sitting in the playground carrying out school work via a mobile phone. Laptop computers will be another learning tool. Parents will be encouraged to come in and work with their children and the community will also be able to use the facilities. The traditional lesson timetable, where students might move from maths to science to English class, will be overhauled. There will be integrated lessons where students will still learn according to NSW Board of Studies guidelines, but may be taught in mixed age groups.

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