01/04/2020 - 11:04

Distance learning in the near term

01/04/2020 - 11:04

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Education Horizons Group chief executive Tim Dawson says schools will need to adapt ahead of term II amid questions over potential closures due to the novel coronavirus.

Tim Dawson says distance learning could jumpstart new ways of learning for students. Photo: EHG

Education Horizons Group chief executive Tim Dawson says schools will need to adapt ahead of term II amid questions over potential closures due to the novel coronavirus.

The federal government has so far refused to give directives for schools to close, despite the US, UK and China making those moves integral to their strategy to combating the pandemic.

Mr Dawson told Business News although he could not comment on how governments may respond in the coming weeks, he saw ‘edtech’ as playing a critical role in allowing schools the choice to either keep their doors open or shift to remote learning.

“I don’t think it’s going to be one-size-fits-all approach, but I think schools can operate well in a distance learning world,” Mr Dawson said.

“We’ve been used to how education’s been evolving in a classroom environment; classrooms have operated with teachers up front and students with their heads down studying, but that’s evolved with edtech.

“Teachers are now working more collaboratively with students in the classroom.

“That to me is a challenge and opportunity as schools look to operate in a world in term II where they’re not all in the same room, they’re in different spaces.”

He said new arrangements in the coming term could cause a shift in how students learned from now on, with the possibilities extending beyond teachers delivering lessons over a webcam.

“That’s part of the old school world,” Mr Dawson said.

“The new world is having families involved in learning, and parents supporting their kids if they’re in this online world, looking through the materials without the teachers.

“As an edtech provider, [we’re asking], ‘What can we do to support the needs of schools to deliver educational outcomes?’

“It’s new for so many people.”

Education Horizons Group is a Melbourne-based holdings company that has owned Western Australian edtech startup SEQTA Software since 2017.

Founded by husband and wife Grant and Sharon Grosser in 2006, SEQTA was the overall winner of the Business News 2015 Rising Star awards.

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