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Web-based learning for 2001

King's College Re-Defines Computer Use As Education Tool

Auckland's King's College is redefining the use of the computer in education as students become more reliant on hands-on computer use at home and boarding study rather than in the classroom.

Ten years after leading the way with laptops in senior classrooms - an innovation since followed by other New Zealand schools - King's is moving to website-based teaching and learning in 2001.

The last five years in particular have proved that the laptop has primarily become a tool for word processing and research, both more easily carried out in a student's own time.

Student surveys show that 80% of their most effective computer use is now outside the classroom, and that portability, while still preferable, has not been such a crucial need.

This trend coincides with recent developments in web-enabled technology spurring possibilities in web-based learning similar to that being used at tertiary level to support lecture programmes through subject-specific websites.

"The ease of access via the Internet means students no longer need a laptop to download subject material from the college's local area network. This can now be done far more readily from home or boarding study through the Internet, either on a laptop or a desktop computer," says King's headmaster John Taylor.

The introduction of the new compulsory computer, but voluntary laptop, programme next year means that if parents of new 6th formers already have a desktop or laptop at home, with a modem for web access, they can save greatly on the compulsory purchase of a laptop for 6th and 7th form use. Students taking Art Design, Media Studies or Computer Studies will still require a laptop to maximise course benefits.

"We're putting more, rather than less emphasis on information technology. It means we can increase traditional face-to-face interactive teaching in the classroom and combine it with high-powered individual access to the largest and most up-to-date library in the world - the Internet."

Next year senior school students will have access to 40 secure subject-specific websites. Teachers will continue to use computers and digital projectors in the classroom to give demonstrations on what's available on the College's departmental sites and the Internet.

King's own website, www.kingscollege.school.nz has been constantly updated to keep students, parents and the wider community abreast of its developments as well as other college activities.

All departmental websites will be developed to contain essential course information, backup material and links to Internet sites that enhance a particular study. Students will not require a laptop in class, except for certain subjects.

"The effect will be to optimise computers in education and better prepare King's students in the way computers are now being used at tertiary level and in the workplace," adds Mr Taylor.

"Students can focus on new learning and research skills through the immense potential of IT-based applications - a real benefit in days when so many careers now expect a high level of experience and initiative in IT."

a.. King's will also launch the King's Institute next year, offering online Economics courses accessible to other schools and overseas students. The Institute's eLearning programme will also offer Maths Online to students throughout New Zealand at all levels covering the whole of the NZ secondary school maths curriculum. End

For further information contact: John Taylor, Headmaster: 09 276 0613.


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