By VERDEL BISHOP Monday, March 12 2012
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Hop Along characters Hop and Bop....
Many would agree that good teaching is good teaching, whether in a real classroom or a virtual one. However, many are becoming appreciative of a new trend which is growing in popularity in this country. Online learning or e-learning is rapidly growing and many children are experiencing the benefits of visually appealing and interactive lessons which accommodates multiple learning styles.
The online classroom, hopalonglearning.com targets preschoolers and primary school children up to Standard Three. The online learning programme, according to its creator, Lorraine Powell-Cadette, is the first educational website, which follows the local primary school curriculum and has a membership of over 3,000 children. The programme is endorsed by the Ministry of Education.
Powell-Cadette, who has taught in the locally primary school system for 13 years, said the website offers concepts in maths, language, science, social studies, reading and creative writing . She described the programme as “primary school at your fingertips.”
“What is unique with ‘hopalong’ is that it is the only website of its kind locally which does not only give children online practise with quizzes but teaches them various concepts with over 400 videos in different subject areas,” Powell-Cadette said.
She continued, “We are currently working with the Ministry of Education on a project to assist various primary schools. The Ministry recognises that hopalong is a programme which is beneficial to students and have given the programme their approval.” She noted that eventually the programme will be implemented in other schools.
“Students and teachers have full membership with the programme. Before the website a lot of
people thought the internet was something that children will need only in secondary school so parents and teachers are beginning to see how beneficial the internet is at the primary school level,” Powell-Cadette said.
She said teachers have lauded the value of the website and are benefitting from various resources which are often times difficult to source. The website also offers a special section for teachers which guides them along in their professional development as well as a section for parents which facilitates resources they can use to further help in their children’s development.
“Very often teachers will tell you it’s hard to find material for our children within a local context.
Teachers now have an actual resource centre that they can turn to. Teachers know what resources they want and its easy for them to get the resources on the website; some teachers are also using the website in the class room, Powell-Cadette said.
She assured that, “We are constantly adding material so for example when you join hopalong today, within months you are going to see 20 more quizzes and other materials
and you don’t have to pay anything for all the new material; our members have the convenience of emailing us at anytime to make request for materials.”
Powell-Cadette said the programme is a great revision tool and is also perfect for the child who wants to learn more. She explained that more advanced children who often times become bored in the classroom, don’t have to wait for their teacher to start a new topic; instead they can log on to hopalong and learn according to their pace.
The Hopalong Readers Programme includes 24 short storybooks that cover the 200 most common words from the Dolch list of sight words and important phonics skills; flashcards for each book; musical CDs that introduce phonics through catchy songs for corresponding reading books; reading journal that allows for students to respond to what they read; teacher’s Assessment Book that allows for genuine assessment of each student by the use of unseen passages and a reading progress book to monitor each student’s progress.
There is an annual membership fee which subscribers can pay online with a credit card or at various payment centres including Charran’s Book Stores, The Next Generation Limited in Rio Claro and Nelson’s Book Store in Tobago.