Meeting the needs of gifted and talented students through technology supported distance teaching
AbstractIn 1997 an initiative by the Education Department of Western Australia extended the use of audiographic conferencing to provide for talented and gifted students in rural Western Australia. In addition to increasing the access and participation of rural and isolated students to a special curriculum designed to extend and enrich their learning, the initiative also aimed to extend and develop the applications of technology for gifted students. For these students, the goal of higher order thinking was sought as a learning outcome. Based on observations and research on the actual classrooms where audiographic conferencing was used to mediate learning, this paper suggests that higher order thinking among students can be fostered by utilising audiographic conferencing to create a classroom milieu of peer discourse, investigation and visual display of ideas. Teachers were encouraged to support the skills of negotiation, verbal elaboration and peer revision of ideas and to utilise the two-way audio and video elements of the technology to maximise learning. The initial evaluation of the project for gifted and talented students indicated that the interactive features of the technology provided the possibilities for task-related collaboration and gave students the opportunity to interpret, discuss and evaluate concepts, thereby leading to higher order thinking.
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