History champs to launch online course

Language Perfect and Education Perfect marketing manager Scott Cardwell (left) and chief executive Craig Smith want to see Dunedin grow as both a knowledge centre and a destination to live. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Language Perfect and Education Perfect marketing manager Scott Cardwell (left) and chief executive Craig Smith want to see Dunedin grow as both a knowledge centre and a destination to live. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Modern technology is being used to educate a new generation globally about World War 1 - all from Dunedin.

Software company Education Perfect is launching the World History Championships, in which secondary school pupils from around the world will compete against each other on the topic.

The championships mark the launch of Education Perfect's online history course and coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1 and the 99th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

Education Perfect, which was launched last year and is used by more than 700 schools internationally, is a spin-off of Language Perfect, which provides language learning software to secondary school pupils.

The history content was a response to ''substantial demand'' from schools to expand the languages product into other subject areas, chief executive Craig Smith said.

Many of the schools found Language Perfect one of their most successful online tools and were keen to try out the same concept in science, maths, English and social sciences, he said.

The championships would focus on learning about the events that led up to World War 1 and the strategy, battles and alliances that resulted.

The contest was compiled by Education Perfect's history team, which is made up of teachers and university undergraduates studying history.

There were 250,000 pupils who had access to the competition, which involved answering questions based on key facts, dates, people and places from the war.

Questions included short-answer, multi-choice, image-based and multimedia questions, while the content was matched to support the NCEA curriculum.

The theme seemed fitting and raised the awareness of a new generation of young people who might not know much about the sacrifices previous generations had made ''to give us the freedom and opportunities we have today'', Mr Smith said.

Language Perfect was founded by Mr Smith, his brother Shane and Scott Cardwell in 2007, and was that year's Audacious business challenge winner.

Craig Smith said they were very grateful for the support of schools in Dunedin to ''get things started''.

The idea initially received a mixed response as people were still struggling to grasp the potential of online learning, he said. People were now much more receptive as the online environment was part of their everyday lives, he said.

The company had grown from three employees to a staff of about 30, and many others were involved on a casual basis. The goal was to have 200 staff within the next 10 years, he said.

Mr Smith and Mr Cardwell, who are both 25, said they were excited about the opportunities the next few years presented and enthusiastic about developing a global business out of Dunedin.

''The reason we've ... kept the business and grown it from Dunedin is because of the support we've received here and the access to young, talented, dynamic students looking for exciting career opportunities,'' Mr Smith said.

They decided to play a small role in developing the city both as a knowledge centre and a destination to live, they said.

 

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