Name

Tony Kidd

School

St Thomas of Canterbury College

Country

New Zealand

What is your message to the global educational community?

There are opportunities here to connect within Edmund Rice schools, and a chance to reset the future.

What does learning looks like for your school community at this time?

we are currently on lockdown and teaching online. The government is supplying laptops and internet access to students that don’t have them. We are a microsoft school and use teams and Onenote in our regular classes which has been a great advantage.

What challenges are there?

  • Getting all students to engage and recognising that they may not be able to get online.
  • When we go to level 3 children whose parents are unable to care for them because of work will come to school, all others will continue to learn online at home.

Where do you see signs of hope?

We are very resilient and the situation is similar to the Christchurch Earthquake of 2011, but now we are better placed to cope with disruption.


Name

Melissa Canil

School

Rostrevor College

Country

Australia

What is your message to the global educational community?

Work together and support each other. As Mother Teresa said “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.” We can do so much more when we face challenges together, support each other and recognise the skills and talents of our colleagues. Love your students more than ever. During this time of isolation they need our compassion, love and connection. We don’t know what each family is going through in their own household daily and our connection with our students may be their only safe and familiar experience. Our families are counting on us to remain a strong community and support their child in continuing their education in a way that is new to all of us. We must be the rock for our families and the rock to each other. This will pass and we will emerge stronger. Keep faith and know that this pandemic has united us in ways we would never have imagined for 2020… ways that we will never forget. Embrace change, embrace love, embrace learning, embrace each other and embrace God’s strength to keep going.

What does learning looks like for your school community at this time?

Our College used SEQTA for grade 3-12 to upload and present lessons to students. We used Class Dojo for students in Foundation to grade 2. Dojo was excellent for the young children as they were able to access and upload their work independently. Teachers used Microsoft Teams to video conference with their classes and this was done on a regular basis to keep up the connection with students. Our teachers embraced online learning with creativity by creating their own videos, screen-casts and engaging home learning activities. We are fortunate in our community that most students have access to the internet and could engage with the various platforms of online learning. We provided families with online learning guides with tips and advice on how to make home learning successful. Some students remained at school during our online learning trial however they would still communicate with their peers at home through video conferences and class forums. Our teachers worked tirelessly to provide learning in a way we have never experienced.

What challenges are there?

The toughest challenge was not having the constant connection with our students like we do in class. Some students were in home isolation for weeks on end and truly missed their school community and peers. Teachers missed the privilege of walking around the class helping 10 different students in a matter of 10 minutes. It was particularly hard for our ASD children to understand social distance. The challenge of creating a home learning experience to mirror a classroom one was difficult. Teachers struggled with new technology and learning platforms and how to manage 20 students in a video conference call. All new experiences that although some embraced with enthusiasm, others found these types of challenges so far from their comfort zone that it caused anxiety and stress. A big challenge our community faced was sending out boarders home not knowing how long they would be gone and how they would cope with online learning knowing they were travelling to remote parts of Australia. It was harder for some of our boarders to have internet access and teachers struggled to maintain constant connection online with them.

Where do you see signs of hope?

What will come of this pandemic? A generation of resilient and skilled teachers and students! We know that this pandemic is only temporary and soon our classrooms will be filled once again with smiling faces. There is hope that after this experience our students will be more resilient and have the skills to problem solve. The technology skills of this generation of teachers has just excelled what we could have imagined and I am grateful for the experience knowing that I am forever changed as an education and leader. We only ever learn when we are out of our comfort zone and the challenges that our students, teachers, families and leaders have faced are unprecedented. This type of learning cannot be constructed rather it is the result of tough times. After this pandemic I know that I will not take for granted the moment a 5 year old grabs my hand to walk with me on yard duty, the closeness of having my class sit together in a circle and pray, the high fives of students making trick shots and the hugs of colleagues during tough times. I know all these things will return and I have hope that many others will feel the same as I do and not take for granted the simple precious moments of teaching.


Name

Alicia Marshall

School

Hemmant Flexible Learning Centre

Country

Australia

What is your message to the global educational community?

Stay strong; stay safe; stay unite and we’ll see you all again soon!

What does learning looks like for your school community at this time?

Remote learning at home where possible – staff have created virtual platforms through both Microsoft Teams and SeeSaw; paper based resources have been provided to those with limited internet/technological resources. School is open for those young people that need to attend site.

What challenges are there?

A lot of our young people and families do not have access to technology and/or reliable internet. Therefore, teaching via distance with the over use of technology, is problematic as many do not have the necessary resources to be able to facilitate it.

 


Name

Judith Hurley

School

Edmund Rice College, Wollongong

Country

Australia

What is your message to the global educational community?

On Divine Mercy Sunday, in the season of Easter, let us remember that every soul is important and that everybody is somebody. When the simple things we took for granted are no longer simple, let us remember that we are called to solidarity in a time when some have much and some have little. We are happy to share digital resources if they will help anyone.

What does learning looks like for your school community at this time?

“We have been using Zoom and Google Classroom, following our school daily schedule. The student leaders are currently working on a website with student engagement activities. There is a weekly fun challenge (videotape yourself juggling a soccer ball, for instance). There is a service challenge, fitness challenge and skill challenge for House points. Some teachers have created resource booklets that the students can collect and Students can still come to school if they need to.”

What challenges are there?

Social disconnection for students; not everyone has access to internet which can create a situation of inequity. In a regular classroom situation, teachers can check, feedback and coach. Now there is a lot more follow up to give individual feedback and engagement with individual students.

Where do you see signs of hope?

“We have had 96% attendance in online classes. Students really want to connect. We held our first online assembly which was opt in and had almost 700 participants opt in. Students are completing their work and submitting on Google
classroom.”

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