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Rural school teachers get extra numeracy help

Rural school teachers get extra numeracy help

An innovative on-line learning programme in numeracy is being extended to teachers in 80 to 100 remote and rural schools next year, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

“This web-based learning course for teachers is being extended after a successful two-year development and pilot programme which showed it was helping teachers in isolated areas,” Trevor Mallard announced at the NZEI annual conference today.

“The aim is to support teachers in remote and rural schools who found getting to the face-to-face workshops in main centres difficult.

“One of our government’s key education priorities is to make sure that children are not disadvantaged educationally because of their background and where they live – this project will help achieve this goal.

“The government is spending more than $11 million a year on Numeracy Professional Development Projects. About 3500 new teachers each year are involved, from around 600 schools.

“Twenty teachers, including two from Stewart Island, and one from Mangonui in the Far North, took part in this year’s trial. The teachers go through workshops supplied in CDROM format with support online from an experienced numeracy facilitator. Extensive curriculum support is provided through the site by way of animations, booklets, material masters, student results and lesson planning assistance. “The pilot has confirmed this web-based development – with its six workshops, CDROM with video clips of children being taught, the online journal and online facilitator – is a successful approach to teacher learning.

“Next year we propose to have seven online facilitators each with a cluster of teachers. As well, lead teachers in each of the 600 odd schools that are taking part in the numeracy professional development project will receive further training in the use of this online material. It will also be made available to all pre-service lecturers and teachers in training.

“A Mäori version is being considered for 2005 to support teachers in Mäori medium settings. The Ministry of Education and Maths Technology are also currently investigating marketing the on-line facilitation internationally after requests for access from teachers in the USA,“ Trevor Mallard said.

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