Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Home-based computer program to bridge technology divide

    10/10/2000 9:00 AM

    Computers will be installed in the homes of almost 100 Balga Senior High School students as part of an innovative learning project designed to boost academic performance and foster better communication between parents and the school.

    Students will be connected to the high school’s website with controlled access to Internet-based materials relevant to the school’s curriculum program, as well as the Western Australian Government’s Online WA site.

    The school, Education Department of WA and Contract and Management Services are currently working on the Schools@Home Project.

    The project is being run as a one-off trial, with Internet-capable low cost or second hand computers being installed in the homes of Year 8 students.

    Works and Services Minister Rob Johnson said both parents and students would be encouraged to participate in the school’s online learning programs.

    “When fully developed, parents will be able to obtain information on school business such as excursion details and dates, homework requirements and the due dates for assignments,” he said.

    “Parents would also be able to email questions to the school and read responses outside normal school hours.”

    The school hopes to have the first stage of the project up and running within the next two months.

    “A significant by-product of the program will be that both students and their parents will develop and enhance essential computer literacy skills in a non-threatening environment - their home,” Mr Johnson said.

    “This in turn will enhance the employment opportunities of students once they complete their schooling.”

    Mr Johnson said he was pleased that CAMS - working with the Education Department and computer giant Microsoft - was contributing expertise, physical resources and funding of $266,000 to the Schools@Home Project.

    He said the trial would allow the Government to assess the project’s effectiveness in influencing academic outcomes and improving parent-student relationships with the school.

    Issues associated with training students and parents to use, and look after, the computer equipment would also need to be assessed.

    “This project is all about tackling the divide between technology haves and have-nots in our community,” Mr Johnson said.

    “The Government wants to have all homes in Western Australia online within five years, regardless of location or financial circumstances.

    “The Schools@Home Project is a significant step in that direction.”

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9215 4800