North Island Distance Education School


Learning to Be Flexible

May 29, 2013

Parents in the Qualicum Beach/Nanaimo area are invited to attend an information session  at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre in the Lions Room from 5-7pm on Tuesday, June 4th. It’s a great time to ask questions, meet some of the staff members, and find out about the benefits of distributed learning.

Many Vancouver Island families are finding the flexibility of learning with Navigate (powered by NIDES) to be a real game changer. With the availability of technology and distributed learning, parents have school choices beyond the catchment area of own neighbourhoods. With the added benefit of iClass, Navigate students can explore options that provide social interaction and shared activities with peer groups.

iClasses have been available in both Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach for several years, allowing students to combine learning from home with optional weekly group sessions in a classroom setting. Students can participate in shared activities, participate in PAC sponsored field trips, or access additional resources such as computer labs, instructors, and tutoring. By integrating programs offered at its Comox Valley location with iClasses in other communities, Navigate has created a unique learning network for students. The iClass in Qualicum Beach is offered each Tuesday for grades 8-12, and on alternate Tuesdays for grades K-7.

Bob Therriault, a Qualicum parent whose son has been enrolled with Navigate since 2006, considers the iClass to be one of the most important benefits to distributed learning. “The option of participating in the iClass has helped to retain some of the important social benefits of classroom learning, such as the development of peer groups, and the sharing of ideas. The function of the iClass is also very flexible and has changed over time as he’s moved up through middle grades to secondary grades. In earlier grades, he was more interested in the hands-on activities or field trips that were offered, whereas now his focus is more likely to be academic. The iClass gives him weekly access to instructors so that he can ask questions, as well as the chance to talk with other students who are working on similar projects. For the rest of the week, he’s able to work at his own pace which works very well for him.”

The Patenaude family in Nanaimo has been schooling with Navigate since 2005 and also appreciates the option of these interactive learning experiences. “When we were looking at alternatives, it was important to us to know that Navigate used the BC Curriculum,” explains Judy Patenaude, a parent with three students currently enrolled with Navigate. “At some point if one of the kids returns to public school, we know that they are in step with the same curriculum content as they would have otherwise learned. The weekly iClass sessions in Nanaimo are held each Friday, with 3 separate areas for grades K-3, 4-7, and 8-12. Each term has introduced the students to new learning activities including art, drama, and robotics. On Thursdays, Secondary Tutorial and student/parent meeting with teachers can be arranged at the Nanaimo Main Library from 10-2pm. “Even though our kids are involved with other activities,” continues Patenaude, “they look forward to the weekly iClass sessions when they can see friends they might not see at other activities. It also gives parents a place to check in with teachers, or for the kids to go for tutoring if they want to.”

If you'd like more information, contact the Navigate office.



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