Distance Education - Cirque du Soleil concludes a partnership with the Eastern Townships School Board for its new shows in Asia



    MAGOG, QC, Sept. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Eastern Townships School Board
(ETSB) is pleased to announce a partnership agreement with the Cirque du
Soleil to educate young people in elementary and high school traveling abroad
with the Cirque. Child performers and children of Cirque du Soleil artists and
employees will be able to continue their studies in Tokyo (Japan) and possibly
Macao (China), under a pilot project, thanks to the expertise developed by the
ETSB in computer-based teaching.
    "It is a great privilege for our school board to collaborate with a
prestigious organization like the Cirque du Soleil," said ETSB Director
General Ronald Canuel. "The unique expertise of our team of teachers in using
new information technologies for teaching purposes and their capacity to
respond creatively to the specific needs of students convinced the Cirque du
Soleil administration to entrust us with this mandate."
    "The Cirque du Soleil has been offering educational instruction to its
young artists and the children of artists while on tour for 13 years now,
explains Linda Gosselin, Vice-President of Human Resources for the Cirque du
Soleil. The development of permanent shows in Asia, represents a challenge in
offering educational services to our youth on site. We therefore had to find
an innovative way of teaching our young people while responding to our
particular needs. The ETSB offers us a made to measure solution with their
virtual school project.
    In the initial phase, the ETSB will provide services to a few students on
two Cirque du Soleil performance sites, Tokyo in Japan and possibly Macao in
China. Teachers at the Eastern Townships School Board will use an approach of
blended learning that combines traditional in-class leaning with online
learning.
    In concrete terms, students will receive four to six hours of instruction
per day, depending on their individual needs and program requirements. Always
in the company of an onsite educational assistant, the students will learn
online with a regular ETSB teacher in real (videoconference, chat, etc.) or
differed time (discussion forum, e-mail exchange, tutorial, etc.).
    A pioneer in Canada in the integration of new information technologies
and communications into education, the ETSB implemented in 2003 its Enhanced
Learning Strategy whereby each student in each of its institutions - from
Grade 3 to Level 5 - received a laptop computer.
    This innovative approach has three main objectives: to enhance student
achievement; empower the teaching personnel in the elaboration and
implementation of programs of studies and to implement a pedagogical solution
that is both flexible and accessible and that will stimulate the imagination
of young people, encouraging them to strive for excellence. Results observed
to date indicate increased student performance in reading and writing while
school absenteeism and behaviour problems have decreased significantly.
    "The program being implemented for the Cirque du Soleil will be an
exceptionally fruitful distance education experience that will enable us to
develop and enrich our expertise to an even deeper level, for the benefit of
both our teachers and students. Quality of education as a whole at the ETSB
will improve," explained Mr. Canuel.
    The ETSB's Enhanced Learning Strategy is now entering a new phase with
the implementation of the Global Learning Circle with the goal of sharing the
school board's unique expertise in using information technologies for
instructional purposes.
    "Our goal is to help other communities face the educational challenges of
the 21st century," said Mr. Canuel. "We can be useful on two fronts: by
sharing our know-how in terms of using laptops in class with institutions both
near and far, and by providing direct teaching services to students using the
internet thanks to teachers skilled and experienced in using the new
technology in their educational practice. We are therefore in a position to
provide quality educational services throughout the world to organizations
that include young people at the elementary and high school level, as is the
case with the Cirque du Soleil."
    The Eastern Townships School Board program with the Cirque du Soleil is
set to begin in October.




For further information:

For further information: Sharon Priest, priests@etsb.qc.ca, (819)
868-3140; Media relations: Roch Bilodeau, Phare Communications,
rbilodeau@pharecom.ca, (819) 347-7622; Source: Eastern Townships School Board
(www.etsb.qc.ca)

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EASTERN TOWNSHIPS SCHOOL BOARD

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Cirque du Soleil

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