The new centre will join TVO/TFO applying tech-based learning to the work already being
carried out in this area by district school boards and the Ministry of Education and
Classroom teachers across the province have already seen how some of these new
technologies can enrich their students learning and change teachers practice.
VClass, or the Virtual Classroom, was launched as a pilot last spring in 22 Ontario
schools. Television, satellite, and two-way audio handsets take students on "field
trips" to the Science Centre in Toronto, the National Gallery in Ottawa and
bear-watching expeditions in Algonquin Park.
Programs are beamed by satellite from TVO studios to schools. Students discuss what
they are watching on a monitor with others linked to VClass around the province. They ask
questions of the in-studio teacher, making interaction between teacher and learner the
unique and valuable aspect of this project.
Last year, VClass hosted eight courses at various grade levels in mathematics, science,
and chemistry. A Shakespeare series was also part of the program. The VClass schedule is
set to expand across the curriculum. For example, an OAC chemistry course is offered to
schools with insufficient enrolment.
In the realm of learning technologies, Galaxy Classroom is also moving learning
technologies forward. Using video, fax and Internet technologies, the Galaxy Classroom
makes participation and interaction by students a necessity. A set of activities is
expected to be completed before the start of the next program, including messages sent by
fax or e-mail to other classrooms and students across the country.
Launched three years ago, Galaxy Classroom has grown steadily. This fall will see the
launch of a new Galaxy program, C2 . Grade 6 students join hosts Scott and Louise for this
inquiry-based science and technology program. Galaxy programs SNOOPS, Fixer Uppers and The
House also continue this fall. Anticipated enrolment in the Galaxy Classroom is close to
1,000 classrooms across Canada. And a plus for Ontario its programming is fully
compliant with the new curricula.
ON-LINE GROUP DELIVERS
INFORMAL EDUCATION, TOO
TVOntarios Great Canadian Challenge (www.tvontario.org/canada)
is the provincial broadcasters most recent multimedia resource. Developed by the
On-line Group at TVO, the site allows intermediate and higher levels students to get to
know their country. Students explore an interactive map of Canada and answer questions
about history, geography and pop culture. Ontario students create their own web page and
explain what it means, for them, to be Canadian. A dialogue is then initiated with youth
around the world.
Internet surfers aged 10 to 12 have access to Kewl Skewl (kewlskewl.tvo.org). Children use their intuition to
uncover the secrets of astronomy, astrology and cryptography. At the end of the adventure,
they have solved enigmas, decoded secret messages and rotated 3D illustrations in a bold
attempt to discover the true nature of the universe.
NEW RESOURCES AT TFO
French-language TFO has more than 2,000 educational programs, serving some 400 schools
in Ontario. Starting this fall, tfos web site ( www.tfo.org
) will boast a searchable database with access to TFO resources related to specific
content of new Ministry of Education and Training programs.
Liaison, a network of 400 teachers, makes it possible for a continuing exchange among
schools and enriches TFOs educational programming. Last year alone, a team of eight
educators offered 84 free workshops on audio-visual and multimedia training to more than
2,000 French-language educators.
Aimed at four- to 11-year-olds, Méga tfo vignettes are amusing learning breaks that
are broadcast between shows on tfo. The vignettes can be about anything acquiring
new vocabulary, colloquialisms, or developing social values and critical sense. The
vignettes model the new elementary French curriculum and can be integrated with other
tfos most ambitious project yet, Campus Internet, is an innovation that serves as
the place for interactive learning. It will be linked with French teaching resources
around the world. The site will offer an elementary school, secondary school, college,
university, and arts centre. For parents, an interactive portion of the site will also be
PD ALIVE AND WELL AT TVO
Initiatives like VClass, the Galaxy Classroom and Liaison go beyond programming for
students theres plenty here for teachers.
Last year, VClass hosted sessions for teachers on the new science and technology
curriculum. Just-in-time, on-site training like this, saves time and money. Teachers were
supplied with information about new curriculum documents, new ministry policies and new
software without the need to travel.
Some of this years technology-driven initiatives include:
- a new professional development web site
- lesson plans correlated to the new elementary school curriculum
- a fax-back system for those who dont have ready, easy access to the Internet
- VClass sessions on conflict resolution, professional journal writing, practical
curriculum tips and technology strategies.
For more information about TVO VClass, call Ray Beyers, (416)484-2600, ext. 2069; TVO
Galaxy Classroom, Heather Friesen, (416) 484-2600, ext. 5079; TVO professional
development, call Helen Coltrinari, (416) 484-2600, ext. 2775; tfos Secteur Enfance,
scolaire et formation, call Annette Lalonde, (416)484-2600, ext. 2407; On-line Group, call
Brian Elston (TVO), (416)484-2600, ext. 2443, or Renaud Joubert (tfo), (416)484-2600,
Helen Coltrinari, TVOs manager of professional development and accreditation,
is a former teacher with the North York Board and a member of the College of Teachers.
André Champagne is the director of programming, youth, education and training, at tfo. He
was an educational designer for the Collège des Grands Lacs.