Knowledge Network will be trading in Australia under the trademark KnowNet.
Release date 1994
Press Release for the Opening of K-Net  in 1994
Press release written by Freelance writer Shirley Fairall

[866 words]

With press release picture of a kid showing parents how to use the computer at K-Net to tour the Louvre in Paris






Braving the new world
With limited skills yourself, how do you equip your children to cope with the technology driven age they're growing up in?
You and I grew up in a world that wasn't very different from the one our parents grew up in. The same is not true of the generation we're raising. Technology has advanced in quantum leaps in our lifetime and the world our children inhabit is vastly different from the one we know.

Although we may get away with only the most basic technological skills, our children won't. Computer proficiency is already featuring on school curricula. As your children progress through school, university and business, computer skills will take on even more importance.

Jil Hrdliczka, who left her post as director of the Damelin Education Group and principal of the Damelin Computer School to open the K-Net Technology Network understands the demands the brave new world will place on our children.

"Although parents don't always relate to computing, children take to it immediately," says Jil. "At K-Net, kids and teenagers learn how to make computers work for them. Modern day children are exposed to a technological world on so many levels, from helping their parents press the buttons on the ATM to television games. We never dreamt of these things when we were children. There are so many ways in which computers are going to impact on the lives of the next generation."

By the same token, our children can't yet imagine the extent to which computing will have advanced by the time they're adults. "This is why it's so important that we establish a firm grounding from a very young age."

By very young, Jil means as little as three years old. "Knowledge knows no age. Provided that children are not scared off by concepts outside of what's appropriate for their age group, they will love playing with computers."

"We start by showing the little ones how to manipulate a mouse to create pictures of their very own. It's important to let their imaginations run free. Once that little hand can manage the mouse, they're away. Initially it's a fantasy world but it sets them on the road to learning to manipulate very sophisticated computer equipment. It's a road they're going to walk all their lives."

From learning basic computing skills, children progress to sophisticated learning programmes which include graphics, animation, programming, multimedia, building and repair of PCs, creative writing, publishing, and music and digital video.

Jil focuses on practical, project-based exercises which allow children to constantly achieve results. "I firmly believe in letting every child discover computing at his or her own pace. We minimise theoretical input in favour of action and creativity."

Although K-Net is deliberately informal and easy-going, a formal infrastructure is behind everything the children learn. The focus is entirely on their needs. For example, although the customers are kids, K-Net has a fully-fledged customer care manager.

The mentors are all computer industry specialists which ensures that a sound technological basis is provided, but the quality that immediately strikes you about them is their universal rapport with children. Although they command formidable knowledge, they see themselves as educators first, computer specialists second.

Jil has geared K-Net up to complement the efforts made by schools in the field of computer education. "I think that schools are doing a fantastic job with their available budgets and facilities. We're getting to know what facilities each school has and we're inviting them to bring their pupils to see our environment so that we can work together to fill any gaps."

Parents are as enthusiastic about K-Net as their children are. Jil has instituted an office and home computing programme to cater for parents who want to keep up with technology at the same pace as their children. But the role is more pivotal to the K-Net philosophy. Parents are welcomed for their healthy involvement in their children's lives.

No expense has been spared in the equipment used at K-Net. Programmes are run on brand new Pentium computers, 8 MB RAM and Super VGA low resolution monitors. Computers are configured in small circular networks of 6 each, designed to help new children feel quite comfortable.

These small workgroups are linked to a lab equipped with CD-ROM servers, Pentium network servers, sound and video recording equipment, laser and colour printers, scanners and modems for international network connections. Each child has his or her own computer while at K-Net and free access to the lab.

Jil has also initiated a K-Net Club which provides workshops and activities on a monthly basis. Among these services on offer are freeware and shareware, and an electronic mail facility through the Internet.

One of the many practical aspects of K-Net is the talent development and mini business programme. When Jil says she wants kids to know how to make computers work for them, she means it. They learn programming, publishing and building and repair of PC's, skills which the older teens can use to earn extra pocket money.

It is indeed a brave new world but for all the changes technology has given to our children to cope with, it has also provided the means for them to learn how to do so.




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Date of update: 18 February 2009