Most students and teachers have probably heard of or come across the term ‘online learning’ at some point in their school life, considering we all live in the 21st century. In the midst of this coronavirus crisis, Victorian schools and classrooms are slowly but steadily turning to digital platforms for learning.
At my school, scheduled eLearning days occur at least twice every year, and they have brought to light different ways of learning and teaching online. At the moment, we use Compass for lesson plans and resources, Google Drive and Google Slides for class slideshows and assignments, Education Perfect for homework, and Quizlet for vocabulary building. My personal favourite resource is Education Perfect because it is really engaging and can be quite fun. It’s also great for learning vocabulary for languages.
Recently my school set up Microsoft Teams for students and teachers and ran sessions to show the staff how to use it. Most of the teachers then tested out this new system of teaching in their classes.
So far, I have participated in quite a few live stream video classes through Teams. They all went well, except for poor quality sound and video at times. Of course, for some students (regional students, for example) this will be a bigger problem. I found that participating from home is much better than at school because at school there are many people using the internet at once and it’s quite slow.
For students who struggle with self-directed learning, teachers could offer their help through chat or email. For instance, my maths teacher created a Teams chat where he offers almost immediate support to any student who has questions. He even called it ‘I need help on a question’!
Through this experience I’ve realised how fantastic technology is for learning and that, for me, not physically being there in class isn’t that big a barrier for learning. I still miss the craziness of the classroom and sitting next to my friends, but health always comes first in a time like this.
Considering our current situation, I actively encourage schools to begin adopting a more digital approach to teaching and learning. Not only do students gain independence and skills which are required in university and the workplace, they also get to test out various technologies that can inspire and motivate them to learn.
What do you think about switching to online learning? What is your school doing (or wants to be doing) regarding online learning? Share your thoughts at the COVID-19 and School forum on the Student Voice Hub.