ASIA LITERATE AUSTRALIA: ONLINE EDUCATORS VITAL
‘All students will have access to at least one priority Asian language’ is a main objective of Julia Gillard’s white paper, released yesterday. Language learning takes plenty of time on task – beyond what schools can practically provide. There is also the added challenge of providing students in remote areas access to language teachers. Online educators will be able to help bridge these gaps by being in the students’ home or their classroom through the rise of video conferencing technologies.
“Students are coming to us to help them get through their HSC” says Tom Shugg, CEO and Co-founder of online education service MY CHINESE TUTOR, “we’ve found students really enjoy the online learning experience once they’ve tried it, however the challenge lies in getting students to take that initial step.”
Anyone who has become fluent in a second language knows the amount of time invested in becoming proficient. Being able to spend time speaking and listening to native speakers is a fundamental component of the learning process.
The amount of time truly required for proficiency extends well beyond what is practical for a school to provide in a classroom setting. Teacher supply is also likely to be weak for language learning in remote and rural parts of Australia.
Providing equal and adequate education opportunities in languages will require new forms of education.
The rollout of the National Broadband Network combined with the rise of peer-to-peer video conferencing technologies will be an essential new form of education.
“It’s a brave new world where students from anywhere in the world can receive a one-on-one tutoring service from a teacher based anywhere else in the world” says Tom Shugg, “it will be an essential technology in regions with teacher shortages and for students seeking additional tuition beyond the classroom.”