LAKE BOLAC - Lake Bolac College collaborated with other educators on new initiatives to support learning within small schools at a conference in Melbourne.
Principal Gary White, Mark Howard and Margot Donaldson attended the Country Education Project Small Schools Conference, which was designed to bring rural schools together to share innovations and ideas to ensure the schools continue to florourish in a global environment.
Mr White said much of the research presented confirmed to a degree what those at Lake Bolac College already knew - that 'Small Schools are Great Schools' and that they are regarded as being far more effective than larger schools in many, many areas.
"Small schools were noted for teaching the student and creating life-long learners more frequently than larger schools which tended to teach more curriculum content, while smaller schools also tended to be leaders in contemporary learning because of their flexibility," Mr White said.
"There were some down sides for small schools which were access to extra-curricular subjects as well as that broader range of subjects, personal and professional isolation and access to relevant professional learning for teachers. These issues were ultimately the focus of the conference and how innovation and technology might reduce the impact that these issues have in rural settings.
"It would be fair to say that Mark, Margot and I came away with several very similar opinions from the conference:
That as a College we are certainly at the forefront of innovation with our current thinking around potential curriculum structure changes for 2013.
That iPads are a very exciting tool with which to engage students in some amazing learning opportunities.
Technology can break down isolation.
Small schools offer great leadership opportunities to all students at all year levels.
To maximise our flexibility, family engagement in the school and community partnerships.
That the College should offer our older 'Learning Community' members the chance to up-skill through learning at the College.
That we should all teach at stage of learning not age of learning.
And the obvious one, 'Small Schools are Great Schools'."
Mr White said it was inspiring to attend such learning and professional sharing opportunities.
"They are great ways to make contact with other principals and teachers of P-12 schools and to discuss initiatives which have the potential to reduce the feeling of teacher/student isolation and further enhance student social opportunities through things like joint camping programs and social events," he said.