During this time of working online, we have celebrated many successes and also worked through many challenges as a community. We are all aware that this is a new learning experience for schools and businesses across the world during these unprecedented and trying times. I would like to talk this week about our journey so far.
Our parents, teacher and students have all embraced this opportunity to be creative and innovative at home and creating new learning environments.
The teachers have taken this opportunity to try out a range of ideas and different ways of teaching. On our Facebook page you can enjoy previous examples of:
- Baking Tutorials
- Exercise Challenges
- Early Years Stories
- Language Lessons
- MEPI Trials
We have faced many challenges during this pandemic as many of the elements involved in this situation were new to everyone. The length of time away from school, social distancing, exam procedures by (CAIE) Cambridge Assessment International Education, travel restrictions etc.
During online learning we have faced these main areas:
- New technology platforms/new skills needed
- Reliability of technology
- Lack of face to face interactions
To move from lessons in a classroom to online using new software was a challenge. Using the popular Zoom platform like many schools, our teachers worked with students on how this can be used and over the past few weeks this has improved, and everyone has slowly become more familiar with how to use it. Any new software can take time to understand and this has been a very worthwhile learning curve for all of us.
Reliability of technology is a hurdle that many of us face day to day. During this time of using more technology, and for a longer period of time, has led to new solutions and ideas to overcome potential problems. The length of the Zoom conferences were evaluated, how to log in and create sessions, sharing links and our Online Learning Policy were all created. Bandwidth, signal and availability of devices are all areas that we have had to navigate and work with, even when everyone is free and ready to learn, the technology can sometimes be a barrier when used regularly.
We miss the students. It is well known that simply having a social group, face to face interactions and relationships can make our students happier when they learn. When we have a group of students together in a room, the excitement, energy and drive of up to 20 students is very difficult to replicate online. Every conversation, acknowledgment, praise or time spent listening is better in person. We work very closely with the students and during the day can have hundreds of interactions with a student which can help to calm, support or encourage them throughout a wide range of situations. These personal relationships are special and difficult to create through a computer.
It has been a challenge and one that we remain positive throughout. Embracing the new opportunities and listening to feedback is something that we continually try to do at school. We aim to model this to everyone so that our learners can adopt a ‘growth mindset’ and approach setbacks and problems as a way to develop and flourish.
I am very proud of how we have worked together.
- Friday 13th March – Frequently Asked Questions.
- Monday 30th March – The Block Break Plan for the 2 Week Evaluation and Key Communication from the School.
- Friday 10th April - The Five Improvement Areas created during the block break after the first two weeks of Online Learning.
- Friday 17th April – The FAQs, current processes and the looking ahead for our school.
- Friday 24th April – Successes and Challenges of Online Learning.
Stay safe and take care.