Virtual learning to be explored

Teacher Gord Holden to lead discussion Tuesday in Courtenay

Imagine learning math, English or science in world like the one in the movie Avatar.

Local teacher Gord Holden has surrounded himself in the world of virtual learning, and while the computer programs he uses may not be exactly like in Avatar, students are immersed in a virtual world for their studies.

The long-time Valley teacher is now teaching through Kelowna-based Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS) using programs like Quest Atlantis, Active Worlds and Thinking Worlds. He will speak at a meeting, hosted by HCOS, and provide information on this style of learning at the Salvation Army Community Church, at 1580 Fitzgerald Ave. on Tuesday. Various workshops and presentations about what the online school offers will happen from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and childcare will be available.

Holden said this style of learning is a prime example of 21st century learning, and although traditional learning through books is important, virtual learning can teach in ways text cannot.

“The virtual world can be and should be used to do things in ways that cannot be done through text,” said Holden. “Text will always be around and will always be necessary but if we can do experiential learning then the retention rates are going to be much higher.”

One example Holden gave was teaching students about wildlife management by allowing them to become virtual wolves in Yellowstone National Park where they hunted, scavenged, found mates and raised litters as they learned the facts.

Learning French by participating in a virtual French-Canadian community was another example Holden provided. Students learn the language by being immersed in French culture as they shop for household needs, meet for dinner, go to French movies with friends, ski, race cars, scuba dive in the town aquarium, visit art galleries, and a whole slew of other activities.

While Holden said HCOS has “values-based curriculum” and there may be some underlying Christian ideas, not all students who enrol are Christian — and in the examples of student work Holden demonstrated, one student did a project about Islam.

“It’s not like it’s a focus on Christianity; the focus is on the math and the reading and writing and all the rest of it,” said Holden. But, “definitely, I think that if people were against Christianity this probably isn’t for them.”

According to Holden, HCOS is popular with home-schooled students, but it is gaining interest for some public school students who may not be able to take a certain course at their school. Students can take everything they need to graduate, or as little as one course that they’re interested in.

In addition to working with over 8,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students across B.C., HCOS also has the largest program for students with special needs in the province.

 

For more information, e-mail Gord Holden at gholden@onlineschool.ca or call 250-334-3676. Check out www.immersivetechnology4learning.ning.com to see what some of the virtual worlds look like, or visit HOCS’s website at www.onlineschool.ca for more information on the school.

 

 

Just Posted

Greenwood Trunk sewer line construction continues

Work on Ryan Road portion of project Monday

Police presence at Anna Place in Courtenay

Situation resolved peacefully

Summer seasonal farmers’ markets now open in the Comox Valley

Downtown Courtenay and Cumberland hosting outdoor markets

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Most Read