In 2012 we moved to full hour digital lessons in 7 Studios, in an endeavour to deliver the national curriculum directly while reducing the load on the isolated Home Tutor. More frequently these days teachers and students communicate using the Education Queensland eLearn website and log onto Blackboard for lessons and support. Classes of children are taught and assessed the National Curriculum, to ensure parity of standards across our broad geographical context. In Prep to Year 6 students access –
- Daily subject lesson x 1 hour (Studio based)
- Weekly Personal Learning Time – 30 minutes (on specific to learning needs or curriculum concepts) (Teaching space base)
- Weekly Reading Lesson – 30 minutes (Teaching space base)
Students in our Year 7-10 area, are part of a Western Alliance with Charleville School of Distance Education and Longreach School of Distance Education. This association was launched in 2013 with the endeavour to ensure subject based secondary teachers in classrooms rich with discussion and learning for all those experiencing education in isolated contexts. Our student base has expanded from 60 – 120 over the last six years and has become an exciting option for students who would otherwise have to leave home to attend boarding school for this part of their schooling.
The phone system still runs parallel to the digital classroom to ensure connectivity should one of the mediums of connection fail. However, some students are also accessing Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) which runs directly through the digital classroom platform, and others using satellite connections. The various modes of access provide a complexity, that the skilled distance education teacher becomes a master of over time. Within the digital classroom, students can have their own private space to complete work with the teacher or with peers. As students are producing work in 'real time' evidence of learning is collected and constantly monitored by the teacher to enact the next step in each student's learning journey. The digital classroom allows students to share work within the digital classroom, or via cloudbased applications where they are working in real time to offer synchronous learning.
When you look into a studio the components you can see are:
- A computer screens, Smart Screen and keyboards
- Audio monitor loudspeaker
- Headset / microphone (two provided, one for visiting student use)
- the teacher uses a computer to access the phone bridge and allll students that have dialled in are displayed
- The teacher connects their computer to access the digital teaching platform
- The teacher can join a conference or class group (and leave) as lesson times dictate.
- The teacher can speak to the class group via the headset and is able to play music or vidoes as the lesson requires
- For visitors in the studio the audio monitor can be turned up for them to listen to the conference in the studio without using a headset