Learning together, working together
Visit to Sydney Girls High School
Knowledge Network will be trading in Australia under the trademark KnowNet.
Release date Nov 1999
Plaque presented to Knowledge Network Managing Director
Jil Hrdliczka by
Mrs Margaret Varady, Principal of Sydney Girls High School.
"In appreciation of the generosity you showed by sharing your expertise with us."












Visit to Sydney Girls High School, Sydney Australia
In November 1999, Knowledge Network visited Australia.

Knowledge Network's founder and Managing Director Jil Hrdliczka met with leading educators in Australia and together they have established a knowledge exchange programme for learners and educators in Knowledge Network Partner Schools and leading Australian Schools.

Visits to schools across Australia included the gathering of information on how learners around the world are being equipped with the technology skills they need for life in the information / knowledge age. The information gathered will be presented at an international conference later this year.

Sydney Girls High School in Sydney, Australia, was one of the schools visited.

During the visit to Sydney Girls High School, Principal of the school, Mrs Margaret Varady, educators and learners chatted to Jil Hrdliczka about the school's technology environment, and teacher development programme.

The story ...
Sydney Girls High School, established in 1883, is the oldest state girls high school in New South Wales. The school is selective with a proud history and a long record of outstanding achievements in many fields. The school has a varied ethnic mix and a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Students travel from all parts of Sydney to attend the school.

The special nature of the school allows gifted girls to focus on learning within a caring and challenging environment which leads to a creative and exciting school culture.

Teachers were on strike on the day of Jil's visit to Sydney Girls High Schools. A strike by teachers is not unfamiliar to those in South Africa. In Australia however, this does not happen often, once every three years or so we were told.

Jil's opinion of Sydney Girls High School - "The girls must love their school life at SGHS."

As Jil describes it - the learning environment at SGHS, though calm, has an excitement about it. When you walk through the front entrance, you are almost overpowered by a feeling a history, tradition, and warmth. Antique furniture lines the school's wide and long passages, together with kilometres of concealed computer cabling to service the corporate-like highly sophisticated computing environment. You feel quite at home and want to belong there.

The building and parts of the school were still undergoing renovations after a freak hailstorm in April of 1999. The hailstorm completely smashed the school roof and 7 months later, the final renovations were being completed.

The learners, on the day of the strike, were at work. Some in the library, some in the computer centre working on their projects, and others were working on their own home pages on the Internet.

There was certainly no work stoppage for the learners at SGHS. SGHS has created an environment in which learners take responsibility for their own learning, development and achievement - a completely normal learning environment on a completely abnormal day in the school's calendar.

Later, after the strike, Jil chatted to a few of the educators involved in computer-related studies. Wendy Herbert, an educator at SGHS, said that it took her almost five years to change from being a teacher to being a facilitator in the learning process. Not all teachers are able to change, especially those involved in high school education. The change to an outcomes based approach is especially difficult.

Educators in the school are undergoing training in the use of a computer as a personal productivity, research, communication and learning tool. Full integration of technology in the classroom, cross-curricula is the next step.

About the Principal Mrs Margaret Varady - dynamic, in-tune with the learners, in-tune with the changing needs of educators, in-tune with how to make the system work for you, in-tune with how best to manage resources and computing environments, and in-tune with technology and the role it can play in the life of learners now, and in the future.

Thank you to Mrs Margaret Varady, the educators and the learners of Sydney Girls High School for the warm welcome received, for sharing information, expertise and experiences - Knowledge Network, Nov/Dec 1999


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Date of update: 18 February 2009