is "an innovative web-based educational environment that
provides primary and secondary schools with powerful tools enabling
collaborative learning over the internet."
Two pilot projects
start this year. The first pilot will involve principals - 2,400
over four years. in 2002 600 principals will receive a new pc,
software, internet connection and access to the Think.com environment.
The Ministry will work with Ultralab to help customise the New
Zealand implementation, with frameworks for lesson plans and
The second pilot
starts with 23 ICT PD school clusters including 6000 students,
enabling students and teachers to develop, and share, highly
personalised, learner-driven ‘communities of learners’ in a
secure environment which provides teachers with an easy-to-use,
unobtrusive way of guiding and shaping students’ online work,
but leaving ownership and control in the hands of the students.
is an alliance between the Ministry of Education and Oracle
Oracle will host
the Think.com environment at no charge. The Ministry will manage
the content, the implementation in schools, and Think.com training
for teachers. The Ministry will also work closely with Prof.
Stephen Heppell and Ultralab to customise the design for NZ
principals and teachers and ensure that the content is 100%
What exactly is
began in UK when Tony Blair proclaimed in 1998 that all students
would have an email account by the millennium. Oracle decided
to develop something with far greater educational potential.
Think.com is a password-protected site - an educational environment
for both students and teachers. Because it is a secure site,
and every user is identifiable, many of the concerns of online
safety are allayed.
Students have their
own ‘file cabinet’ and can, with ease, create their own web
pages, post questions, comment with ‘stickies’, participate
in discussions and debates and email people in their approved
address book from the site. It is an ideal environment for working
on shared research projects with member schools (and even in
different countries). ‘Teacher Tools’ allow regular monitoring
of student use and easy management of the site. Students can
be assigned privileges from reading, to publishing and editing.
Teachers can use
Think.com in a number of ways. They can design online
multi-media lessons with instructions and embedded research
links, areas for team collaboration and a showcase for completed
projects. They can develop issues-driven forums to encourage
students to develop critical thinking skills and interact with
other students, other schools and students in other countries.
They can integrate a range of curriculum content, and the ‘hotseat’
for homework help. The software integrates well with many of
the processes currently used to encourage students to share
ideas and knowledge (for example, brainstorming), and the teacher
can become another participant in the discussion, adding questions
which invite students to probe a bit further, look a bit wider,
without being the ‘sage on the stage’.
is accessible from a standard web browser on any computer, so
students and teachers can connect from their classrooms, from
the library, or from home. Its ease of use, user-friendly interfaces
and flexibility make it an ideal tool for enhancing learning.
Good Teacher will keep you posted as the project evolves...