Wednesday, 18 July 2007

VC Extending the Possibilities

Today i visited Coastal Taranaki Area School to catch up on the ICT & learning happenings out there and to promote TaraNet & the uptake of VC distance learning for their students. Coastal Taranaki School has seen huge changes in the last couple of years with the closing of local schools and the amalgamation into the one area school. Physical changes to the school campus are now complete and the school is looking great. School staffing has settled down a lot, though as yet complete, from the early upheavals and things seem to be ticking along ok now.
I managed to catch up with Erin, one of our 'model' VC students, as she was finishing her weekly video conference. Erin is an enthusiastic proponent of VC distance learning. Here is some of what she has to say about the difference VC learning has made for her:

"I am in year 13 at coastal Taranaki School and I study Equine via video conferencing. I have been interested in horses since a young age, started riding when I was 8 years old and brought my first pony at 13.
Our school does not have an equine programme; however Video conferencing has opened up a whole new door for me. I began the course last year, studying through both WINTEC in Hamilton and Telford Rural Polytechnic in Balclutha, which is near Dunedin......

I have continued this year to do the second year equine course with Telford......
Video Conferencing is such a valuable resource for our school; it has helped me combine my passion for horses with practical learning which will help me towards my dream of working with horses. It has also taught me good time management skills as I have to make sure I keep up with my work and send assignments away on time. My tutor is always available to answer questions and give advice on all things to do with horses, we keep in contact via email and I never feel as though I have nobody to help me.
Some people may compare VC with correspondence work but having done both myself I say Video Conferencing is a lot better. I have a tutor who I can speak to face to face on the VC televisions once a week and is always available to help me, it allows the tutor to show diagrams, pictures and graphs etc and explain them, rather than with correspondence where they send you the information and you have to try and understand it by yourself.

It is great for our school to be able to offer not only equine but almost any subject not available here via VC where professional and experienced tutors are able to teach Coastal Taranaki students to the same level in which you can learn in the classroom. I would highly recommend Video Conferencing to anyone who wishes to take a course not offered at the school, its’ a great chance to learn new things, meet new people with similar interests to you and gain credits for NCEA and even University Entrance."
It was great to have this sort of positive feedback from Erin - knowing that what we do in supporting access to distance learning is really making a difference to the learning & career opportunities of our students.

Erin's horse Shaman

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