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St. Dominic initiates blended learning

St. Dominic Catholic High School students in Rocky Mountain House will receive online instruction through an innovative three-year pilot project.

The blended learning project will allow students to benefit from the guidance and support of experienced, highly-motivated teachers and interactions with other students.

The complementary online activities with St. Gabriel Online School enhance student learning even further.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools district spokeswoman Jeanne Davis said she believes the learning model is unique to Central Alberta.

The teacher no longer stands up in front of the classroom to instruct. Rather, the teacher starts the class by saying what will be done and should be achieved by the end of the lesson that day.

“And then they’ll say, ‘We’re going to go online and some of you may want to watch the video, some of you may want to work on hands-on problems,’ ” said Davis.

The teacher is there to help with any questions. There may be a couple of teachers, in fact, in case the students are working on different modules, said Davis.

The whole idea is the student is learning at their own pace and the teacher is overseeing the learning, she added.

“But the teacher is not delivering the course content face-to-face,” said Davis.

“The teacher will actually evaluate students and be way more able to assess comprehension now.

“They don’t feel they have to go forward because there’s so much to cover and leave other students behind.”

Davis predicted this will happen eventually in every school. Some institutions, including University of Lethbridge, are already using this blended learning model.

The board of trustees gave its support to the program that was launched at the Grade 9 to 12 St. Dominic Catholic High School, which has almost 200 students. Students in Grade 10 to 12 will participate.

Board chair Adriana La Grange said the board believes this high-quality teaching method with cutting-edge technology will better address the needs of each student.

“We see this as a unique opportunity to leverage technology in our school and personalize learning for each student,” said school principal Pat Hughes. “Students receive immediate feedback, which helps them drive their own learning and ultimately acquire the skills they need to be college and career ready.”

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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