Thursday, 20 December 2012 08:46

PRSD moving forward to achieve ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning goals

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Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) in the southeast corner of Alberta is partnering with two other school divisions to create an open learning consortium.
“We’ve had tremendous interest talking about possible partnerships and increased student learning opportunities,” Superintendent Doug Nicholls, told trustees at the Dec. 11 regular board meeting.

To that end, PRSD is working with Prairie Land School Division, which it shares a border with to the north and Livingstone Range School Division, which covers a large area in the southwest corner of the province. Classes will be offered in all three divisions using video conferencing technology.
“We’ve put together some general goals and objectives of the project,” said Nicholls.
Those goals include providing all students with equitable access to quality programs of choice; establish and maintain high quality program delivery; enable the sharing of quality programs, teacher expertise and resources; build teacher capacity in video conference teaching; better utilize existing resources and teacher expertise and develop a video conference shared service model that works for remote rural Alberta and may have relevance for many school jurisdictions across the province.
Officials also want to find some schools that can be “twinned” from outside the division. This means schools with many similarities, including size would be paired to work together.
“We want to look at how we deliver (education) to multi-grade classrooms and what video conferencing looks like,” says Nicholls.
Moving forward as a pilot project, starting Feb. 1, students in Granum School will be able to receive their social studies lesson through video conference with Prairie Rose.
A teacher from I.F. Cox school in Redcliff who currently teaches Social to his students as well as Jenner and New Brigden schools through video conferencing, will also be teaching the Granum students.
“They have similar demographics to New Brigden (School),” said Nicholls, about the school in Granum. “What the three divisions are trying to do is we’re trying to find efficiencies and what is best for the students.”
He said a lot of time has been spent on developing the goals and outcomes of an open learning consortium.
“At the end of the day, I believe it will benefit students,” added Nicholls. “When you get together a group of teachers with similar interests (and similar goals) ... doors get opened for students.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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