Popular online learning resource returns for 2008, now international (Media Release)

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January 29, 2008
Embargoed 11.30 am (AEDT)
Popular online learning resource returns for 2008, now international

Primary and secondary students in Australia have another chance to take part in the CensusAtSchool project run by the ABS, and this year they can compare themselves internationally.

CensusAtSchool lets students from all over Australia collect real data about themselves by completing an online questionnaire (similar to the Population Census).

When all the data is collected, students can work with it to answer questions about themselves, like "Does time spent playing computer games improve your reaction time?" or "Do students who earn more money spend less time doing homework?".

"CensusAtSchool helps students look at statistics not just as dry figures but as a gateway to discussion and analysis," says Paul Taylor, Director of the ABS Education Services Unit.

"The feedback we've had from teachers about CensusAtSchool 2006 has been enthusiastic, as CensusAtSchool works across a number of curriculum areas - information technology, maths, social sciences, health and physical education.

"Teachers also like it because students can relate to the information, which makes CensusAtSchool exercises more engaging than working from textbooks."

Last year, over a quarter of Australia's schools registered with the project and 112,000 students participated nationwide; since then, an additional 250 schools have joined up.

International involvement

Schools in New Zealand, Canada and the UK are also part of the CensusAtSchool project, allowing students to make overseas comparisons.

The very popular reaction timer and concentration tasks have been made part of the international question set and are expected to generate vigorous student participation!

There's also an expanded range of student suggested questions on a range of issues such as water use, bullying, use of technology and climate change, and other new questions on health and well-being, financial literacy and sleep.

The CensusAtSchool collection phase is open from January 29 to July 4; results will be available for participating schools from July 7, 2008. Interested schools can join at any time before the end of the collection phase.

For more information <www.abs.gov.au/censusatschool>.