Last updated: 21.08.12

Dakota Collegiate investing in virtual learning environments

E-learning is set to become a permanent feature in Dakota Collegiate.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that every grade nine and ten class in Dakota will be provided with a laptop or a similar online learning-enabled device, with this set to continue until every student is affected.

Other institutions in the region are expected to follow this pathway and invest in digital learning in the future.

Schools will be able to control the websites that students can access and will prohibit inappropriate content, as well as social media sites such as Facebook, Louis Riel School Division superintendent Terry Borys told the publication.

The initiative has been called the 21st-Century Learning Project and was first piloted last year, with the superintendent describing this investigation as successful.

It can support youngsters in the responsible, appropriate and ethical use of technology within education, he added, pointing out that using pens and paper to write notes is becoming antiquated.

The educational expert argued a school's electronic learning support can no longer merely consist of a single room with a few computers in it.

Participants in the virtual learning environment will file written assignments and essays over the internet, as well as use the web for research.

Mr Borys said this should help them determine "what is fact - information - and what is blatantly stupid".

Although the online learning scheme will not be rolled out in other educational institutions this year, the superintendent confirmed that administrators are looking into further areas for this initiative to expand in.

The idea was first revealed around 18 months ago and at this time, parental support was mixed, he noted, adding that this has changed recently so the parents of the incoming grade nine students are typically supportive about e-learning.

Other areas in the US are also investigating and investing in online learning courses, such as those in the Tangipahoa parish in Louisiana.