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Online French learning coming to New West

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A student demonstrates the Voila Learning software that features a virtual campus where students can go for help after school. 
Submitted

A student demonstrates the Voila Learning software that features a virtual campus where students can go for help after school. Submitted

New Westminster is among several B.C. school districts signing on to an online French learning platform that allows students to use their computers to explore a virtual campus — with live tutors helping with homework.

It’s called Voila Learning, and according to company director of strategy Hosni Zaouali, the service allows students to present their homework assignments, textbooks and more to an experienced teacher for help they might not otherwise receive at home.

“The platform has been developed by a team at Stanford University, it includes all the 21st century education tools — one-on-one chatting, one-on-one video, screen sharing and document sharing,” he said.

That means a student could potentially take a photo of their homework assignment and share it with the online campus.

New Westminster and Conseil Scolaire Francophone in Richmond have signed up.

Zaouali said senior government subsidies mean school districts only have to pay $1 per student enrolled in French immersion.

Belinda Scott, district vice-principal in New West, said they haven’t figured out yet how useful the software will be. The program is intended for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

“It sounds pretty neat. You get greeted when you come in and if there’s no tutor available at the time, they’ll say ‘what are you here for?’ If you’re here for math you can walk over to the math centre ... and when the tutor is ready they actually speak to your students,” she said.

“We’re trying to figure out what would it be best for and who would it best support.”

An information session has been set up for Jan. 14 at Ecole Glenbrook Middle School, at 7:30 p.m.