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 A useful tool to learn life skills
ęSunday Times
Kids get top marks
with K-Net
November 20 1994









"K-Net has changed my life."
Paul Clark 1995

TOP MARKS - Jil Hrdliczka with
Paul Clark and top-scoring project


Kids get top marks with K-Net

A useful tool to learn life skills

by Greg Gordon

SCHOOLBOY Paul Clark did not mind being used as a guinea pig - in fact, it earned him top marks in a school project.

Eleven year-old Paul, a Std 3 pupil at Marian College, Linmeyer, scored 92 percent for a school project about diamonds which he put together using a computer.

And that's the concept behind a new learning facility for kids that opens on December 1.

Headed by Mrs Jil Hrdliczka, K-Net will teach children how to use PCs as a tool in their everyday lives. Mrs Hrdliczka was the principal of the Damelin Computer School for 10 years before embarking on her latest project.

"We used people like Paul to establish whether it would be viable to start a technology network for young people. "The facility will take youngsters beyond basic PC literacy.

"It will show them how they can use technology to broaden their general knowledge, to learn life skills and perform powerful research functions."

"The emphasis is that learning can be fun and that research comes alive on PCs.

"Books are all very well, but by using educational software, children can cut and paste information and pictures into their projects, making them more colourful and informative.

"We're targeting school-going kids between the ages of seven and 17.

"They'll be able to use the facility after school or over weekends. "We'll also be running a holiday programme in which children and their parents can attend.

"They'll be exposed to all sorts of technology, from the Internet to CD-ROM and digital video, and learn about other computer-related issues like computer viruses," says Mrs Hrdliczka. K-Net will have 24 486 workstations for students networked to a file server, CD-ROM server, scanners and colour printers.

A lot of the software will be shareware and freeware, the sort of packages found on many home-based PCs.

"In February next year we'll be launching sessions for children aged between four and seven. "It's never too early for kids to learn about technology and there's plenty of, multimedia software designed specially for this age group," she says.

Mrs Hrdliczka says the children will be treated like adults at the centre and will be encouraged to share ideas. "People will work in teams and will be motivated to be creative.

"We won't instruct them, the process will be more subtle.

"They'll be guided rather than taught. "Often computers are seen as a means to an end, something to be used only in the workplace.

"We're saying forget the future, computers can be used to assist kids with what they want to achieve now.

"By acquiring useful skills at a young age, children gain confidence and are able to produce something that they enjoy and can be proud of, "she says.

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Date of update: 18 February 2009