at work at K-Net. Facilities are designed to
be comfortable, functional and fun. (Georgia
Louridas and Janet Pavey in the foreground.)
brings computers to kids
Education has never
been this much fun before. Kids attending sessions
at K-Net learn how to make computers work for them
in a their everyday needs. Kathy Gibson looks at the
facility, which has passed its first three months as
a resounding success.
Kids can have fun
while they're learning. That's the overwhelming
conclusion from the first batch of kids to pass
through K-Net, a newly-formed technology network for
kids from ages four to 17.
K-Net, the first
facility of it's kind in SA, is the brainchild of
Jil Hrdliczka, previously principal of the Damelin
"K-Net is a
technology network for school-going kids and
teenagers," says Hrdliczka.
"The kids learn
how to make computers work for them. We teach them
to use a computer as a tool to help in what they are
doing - and have fun." While the emphasis may
be on fun, there is a sound educational philosophy
behind the K-Net programmes. "The kids work in
an open environment, they are motivated and their
ideas are their own," says Hrdliczka.
"Best of all, nothing they create using
computers is ever wrong."
K-Net is staffed by
educationists and computer industry specialists who
have had many years experience working with children
in recreational, teaching, leadership, computer, and
Programmes at K-Net
are project-based, with kids grouped according to
interest and experience rather than age, in keeping
with the K-Net philosophy that knowledge knows no
About 60 kids
recently attended K-Net's Christmas holiday
programme. According to Hrdliczka, the K-Net debut
was even more successful than the organisers could
Kids learnt how to
use technology to achieve a variety of fun,
educational and even pretty advanced goals - getting
more out of the computers than many adults have even
Using both online and
printed reference and graphics sources, the kids put
together a project. These were stunningly-presented,
full of facts, colourful and easy to read.
They also learnt how
to manipulate graphics - again either from clipart,
printed matter or self-generated.
consciously "learning", the kids not only
gleaned facts and figures about their project
topics, but learnt to find information on-line; scan
reference books; input data; find, scan and generate
graphics; work with a number of software programs -
including conversions from one to another; and put
it all together in a professional format.
kids also created a video during the holiday
programme. They created a series of graphics to run
together for the animation, recorded sound and
synchronised the two to make a short video clip -
again producing output of a quality that would put
many adults to shame.
K-Net runs holiday
and after-school programmes. It also runs a K-Net
Club, which allows kids to make use of K-Net
facilities at anytime after school and on weekends.