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Clever kids linked up

Monday, 8th April, 2013

Gifted students from BH Public School: Lewis Jones (front) with (from left) Jaidelyn Ortega-Minear, Joshua Deacon, Laylaa Goss, Kelsie Mitchell, Denzelle Jones and Angus Walker. Gifted students from BH Public School: Lewis Jones (front) with (from left) Jaidelyn Ortega-Minear, Joshua Deacon, Laylaa Goss, Kelsie Mitchell, Denzelle Jones and Angus Walker.

By Emily Roberts

Some of Broken Hill's cleverest schoolchildren have had their first video conference with other bright students from across the State.

They are part of a program called "i.Xtend" for gifted and talented students.

Broken Hill Public School's learning and support teacher for the program, Airlie Wood, helps the students use video conferencing technology.

The schools that took part included Burke Ward, BH High School, North, Morgan Street and Central, along with schools in Dubbo, Bathurst,
Orange, Dunedoo, Cobar and Nyngan.

Ms Wood said the program was very "labour intensive" and last year students spent more than 20 hours a week on the program.

"I got the students for one hour a week and then they had to do about 20 hours of work a week at home," she said.

"The program is for students who excelled. Teachers nominate students, then the nominated students completed an online test as the end of last year.

"It's a selective program based on critical thinking and writing skills."

The students work through a chosen topic written by a panel of experts including teachers, principals and educational leaders.

"It is an extensive beyond the curriculum. The theme this year is the 'Mathematics of Plant Earth'. The students will complete four tasks which build up to a larger task," she said.

"It will all end in an Expo Day where students get to present their work."

There are a 144 student enrolled in i.Xtend this year from over 280 nominations.

Students from last year's course were just accepted automatically, Ms Wood said.

They are from years 5 to 9.

"It taught lots of organisation, self-management and to think outside the box," Ms Wood said.

"Students can find it very confronting. They have to do a lot by themselves - it is a constant challenge."

BH Public's Lewis Jones said last year's course was very hard.

"It was annoying. I didn't like any of it. I am a book learner," said Lewis.

"This year is better than last year. I will enjoy some of the book learning."

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