Virtual Camp 2022
This article appeared on the Department of Education’s Connect website in October 2022.
Eighty-three exceptionally able secondary students participate in the Selective Academic Program GT Online. Located in 30 schools across regional Western Australia from Broome to Busselton and Manjimup to Mukinbudin.
Getting together at camp in Perth twice a year is a highlight of the GT Online program. This year required a rethink of how this could be done given the travel and accommodation restrictions due to Covid. The idea of a virtual camp was born with the aim of providing students with enriching learning experiences.
Eighty-three exceptionally able secondary students participated in the Selective Academic Program GT Online. Located in 30 schools across regional Western Australia from Broome to Busselton and Manjimup to Mukinbudin. Getting together at camp in Perth twice a year is a highlight of the GT Online program, however, given the travel and accommodation restrictions that occurred in Term 2, we needed to rethink how this could be done. The idea of a virtual camp was born with the purpose of building community and connection as well as providing enriching learning experiences for students spanning from the red dust to the Indian ocean.
There was great buy-in from students and teachers, all keen to make the virtual camp a success as online classmates crave connection and enjoy every opportunity to socialise and get together. To create a safe and inclusive online learning environment, all students were introduced to the concept of Netiquette, and they workshopped to create a poster to outline the expected online behaviours such as establishing greetings, appropriate language, ‘in-class’ behaviour and how to be a respectful participant. GT Online organised a range of fun ‘getting-to-know-you’ activities including GTs Got Talent where students showcased their talents such as solving a Rubik’s cube blindfolded, sharing their dramatic, sporting, or musical talents and ribbon acrobatics to name a few. Students also had the opportunity to show off their dancing moves in their unique home location by participating in the ‘Happy’ Dancing video, sharing photos in the baby photo competition, and revealing two truths and a lie about themselves.
However, there were also reflective and solemn experiences offered through the virtual camp as students had the honour of connecting with an Israeli Holocaust survivor through a live webinar. They also listened to guest speakers from Murdoch University to discover future career pathways. Students also completed a creativity sprint to produce a 120-second visually engaging and creative presentation on the topic of change, mentoring groups focusing on growth vs fixed mindset and exploring Kindness in Action and how it affects us, origami maths and a Q&A session with Parliament WA that gave an overview of the role of Parliament. Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive as students were moved, engaged, and challenged by these activities.
To be honest, I thought this virtual camp was going to be a flop. I thought that there was no way that it could meet the fun requirements of most of the GT camps, but how wrong I was. Even though we couldn’t have that full interactive feel of a normal in-person camp, I think that there wasn’t a single way you could have done better.
I found that the creativity sprint was something different, something we’re not usually tasked with, although this topic was foreign, I really enjoyed participating in it and seeing everyone else’s ideas and products …. analysing the progression of change in our modern world.
The Holocaust Incursion was definitely the most meaningful and enlightening session for me and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to speak with a Holocaust survivor.
The mentoring sessions were really good because I got to talk to people who I knew and didn’t know. I just like the connection I can make with the other students through communication.
I really enjoyed Elevate [Education – an educational program to develop study skills]. It managed to be both fun and important as it taught us many valuable study tips for the future.
The virtual camp was a great success, and now the anticipation is building for the face-to-face camp in November at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre.
A learning environment that aligns with abilities and interests
Thanks to the use of innovative technology, students in Years 7 to 10 can access the GT Online program from their local school without moving to Perth. This program can be accessed at any regional public secondary school outside of the Bunbury or Albany region. Students stay in their school community with some courses delivered via the GT Online program, and the remaining courses studied within their mainstream school. In the online program, students with exceptional academic ability can learn with like-minded peers and access stimulating programs that extend, enrich, and accelerate their learning.
Working together to keep exceptionally able students in regional schools and communities.
Providing a student who has exceptional academic ability the opportunity to access the GT Online program can support a child and their family to stay in their regional school and community. Visit the GT Online website to explore the benefits and experiences from a regional school, parent, and student perspective.
Programs of study are offered in Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences and English. Students usually commence studying either:
- Mathematics and Science or
- Humanities and Society Sciences and English
Students are offered the option to study all four subjects if their progress supports this decision.
How can regional and remote students be a part of this program?
The Academic Selective Entrance Test (ASET) is used for selection into the Gifted and Talented programs. Students are not required to travel to Perth to sit the ASET as they will be allocated a testing venue within their education region. The application and selection process is managed by the Gifted and Talented Selection Team and applications are lodged online by parents/carers.
Students with exceptional academic potential are encouraged to consider applying for the Gifted and Talented Online program. The next opportunity for students to apply is:
- Current Year 5 students apply for entry into Year 7 2024
- Current Year 7 students apply for entry into Year 9 2024*
- Current Year 8 students apply for entry into Year 10 2024*
*Mid-year 2023 commencement may be possible
Online applications are open on Monday 17 October 2022 and close on Sunday 12 February 2023. Apply online: education.wa.edu.au/giftedandtalented
Application and selection information education.wa.edu.au/gifted-and-talented
The GT Online Program gtonline.wa.edu.au