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Carter Observatory - Off-site Teachers Take Off

Carter Observatory
The National Observatory of New Zealand

(Date 2006 April 11. For immediate release)

Off-site Teachers Take Off

Six classes in secondary schools throughout New Zealand (over 180 students) are being taught on the internet by specialist astronomy teachers.

This was made possible this year by a Class Access scheme established by Carter Observatory, the National Observatory of New Zealand.

Now all schools can offer astronomy to classes of year 11 students for NCEA.

The new class access scheme has “taken off” said Observatory spokesperson Robert Shaw

“This is a great scheme because the schools’ science teachers and the Observatory work in close partnership to support the students as they learn on the internet.”

“Many students seek to extend the number of NCEA credits they obtain, and schools can help them to do this without having to employ a further staff member. The students are taught by specialists based in Wellington.”

Mr Shaw said some schools view the scheme as a way of strengthening their science departments, and others as a novel way to motivate students.

“Schools can log into our website and see how their students are doing, and offer encouragement and support as is appropriate. We provide the resources and the assessment, but the school helps to motivate students. Whilst there are always enthusiastic students, we want to reach out to those who struggle” Mr Shaw said.

“Schools are now moving to include the Observatory’s courses in their prospectus for students and thus increase the range of subjects they can offer.”

“Many students love this way of learning because they can study at home whenever they wish and increase the number of NCEA credits they obtain. It is possible for them to add 12 credits to their level 1 total by learning astronomy. A student needs 80 credits to obtain NCEA but many aspire to a much higher total”

Schools participating in the new scheme are: Taihape Area School, Logan Park High School, Wellington Diocesan (Ngatawa school), Reporoa College, Cashmere High School (Christchurch), Te Kura Maori O Porirua.


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