By RICHARD WOOD
Parents at a new Japanese-funded Auckland secondary school will be able to view their children via the internet using surveillance webcams in the classroom.
The webcam system at the Auckland International College in Airedale St is part of the school's widespread use of technology that includes web access to student test results, teacher comments and attendance record.
There are six webcams with a further 24 planned by the end of the year.
Executive principal Doug Haynes said privacy aspects had been thoroughly explored with lawyers. Parents and students would be made aware of the webcams before they enrolled.
Parents will be able to log in with a unique ID to see the webcam view of their child's class and child's records.
Haynes said the focus was on giving parents "the knowledge that the kids are in a secure environment".
Parents are limited to 10 minutes' webcam viewing at a time to keep the load on the server low.
They will also be able to chat online with teachers.
Students will have an intranet setup for resources, lessons and forums.
Assignments will be able to be submitted by email and test results will be able to be automatically marked with results posted immediately.
Besides the web technology, every classroom has a Datashow projector and each teacher a laptop computer with Powerpoint for presentations. The school also has four computer suites.
Rodney Featherstone of IT firm Connect NZ has headed implementation of the network and software solution, including putting a web-based front end on to EnrolPro educational administration software from local software development firm Z&M Numerics.
The Auckland International College is the foundation school for a group of 30 international schools planned by the Oshu Corporation which owns 100 schools in Japan.
Every classroom has a video camera recording lessons, which students can then take out of the library.
The English language division within the school begins on March 10 with an offer of free two-week English language courses until the paid courses start on March 24.
The Year 13 (Form 7) "Foundation Studies" division of the school begins full operation in July, working to a Northern Hemisphere year, with a focus on preparing students for university.
In July 2004 its senior school division will begin take students in years 11, 12, and 13 leading to the International Baccalaureate Dipoma.
Haynes said the school wants a mix of international students and that one-third of students will be from New Zealand.
The cost for full time education is around $14,000 to $15,000 per year.
English language courses have a weekly rate of around $330 per week.
To encourage applications, especially from local students, 24 full-time three-year scholarships are being offered, and 24 half-time half-tuition fee scholarships.
There are 30 classrooms and accommodation for 60 in apartments in the purpose-built school building in Airedale St, and accommodation for 190 more students is being leased from a city hotel.
By RICHARD WOOD