LEARNING FROM HOME: Cristina and Jaylin Greenhill. Photo: St Mary's Catholic College
LEARNING FROM HOME: Cristina and Jaylin Greenhill. Photo: St Mary's Catholic College

What students really thought of learning from home

AS A result of the global pandemic and ongoing threat of coronavirus, South Burnett students have been forced to learn from home and now they're speaking out about how they found it.

St Mary's Catholic College in Kingaroy has used this time to specifically focus on online learning.

According to St Mary's teacher Scott Collier the program 'Teams' has been instrumental to their learning from home.

"Using the program of Teams with my Year 4-9 classes has been irreplaceable over the last five weeks," Mr Collier said.

"Prior to any online learning I already utilised it in my teaching to communicate lesson material, set, collect and mark assessment pieces and share resources like videos, documents and other digital resources with my classes.

"Since COVID I have been in a position to engage the use of the program a step further. As it ties seamlessly together with all other Office 365 apps it has allowed me to pre-record lesson videos and upload them onto Teams to ensure all students at school and at home had the exact same lesson delivery.

"If we needed a live meeting as a class we can create a meeting much like Zoom with a much higher level of encryption and security as the data does not flow through any servers in China unlike some of the recent disruptions to Zoom meetings."

Mr Collier said the 'Teams' software has allowed him to track which students have watched the videos, their time spent on teams, if they have turned in the set work, what they have interacted with, and at what times during the day, if there were any patterns in their family environment at home, to best try and support their learning environment.

"Prior to teaching I transitioned from a Bachelor of information Technology so I felt like I was in a fortunate position to cross over a number of skills, interestingly it somehow felt more normal online teaching than in-front of a screen," Mr Collier said.

"I look forward to finding new ways to take the technology forward here at our College."

St Mary's students had varying thoughts on the 'Teams' program.

One student, Benjiman Whalan, said he enjoyed "doing video calls" the most.

Some St Mary's students were hopeful their new skills using technology would come in useful, meaning learning from home would have a silver lining.

Ariel Lynagh said she didn't know what new technology, learnt from school, she would use in the future.

"I don't really know. No one does, the future holds secrets of technology we are yet to discover," she said.

Dawn Druery however disagreed and said she would use 'nothing' she'd learnt in the future.

Dawn also said 'nothing' about 'Teams' was fun.

Sydney Clarke agreed and said "I don't really like this set up."

Trinity Miller said she learnt "nothing really" and that "nothing" was fun about 'Teams'.

However, the 16 other St Mary's students surveyed disagreed with Dawn, Sydney, and Trinity; and named numerous fun parts of using 'Teams' while learning online from home, saying they'd taken a lot from the experience.

Student Hannah Reeve said she enjoyed making a collaboration document in her HPE class.

Nick Howard said he thought "cooking stuff in home ec" was fun.

Oliva Janz said "I enjoyed the video meetings because I got to see my friends and teachers."

Stella Penny said she enjoyed having the pre-recorded videos because she can access them anytime.

Angel McKenzie-Moorley said she enjoyed "the video calls because I got to see my class even when we weren't't all at school."

14 out of the 19 students surveyed said they wanted to continue incorporating this new technology into their school lessons.

St Mary's P and F President Damien Martoo said St Mary's were leading the way with online learning.

"The ability for students to see what is expected of them to complete for the week in invaluable," he said.

"Students can then go back and see all the lessons they have done and access all the information they need continuously.

"The stem flows students to engage at levels we may not have seen in the education sector for many years.

"It builds independence and creates a comfortable level of structure so students know in advance what is expected of them.

"This system is a game changer and should be implemented into everyday learning.

"Saint Mary's has led the way in this space and should be using this ability to learn as a niche market to attract a variety of new students."

Likewise St Mary's teacher Alyssa Thomas said her year 4 students responded well to the online 'Teams' software.

"With the Teams technology platform Year 4 at Saint Mary's Catholic College have been able to continue to engage in meaningful and purposeful learning," she said.

"They have used a variety of online resources such as live meetings, videos, sways, forms and photographs to not only document but also share their learning with their teacher and peers.

"To ensure that we do not lose the new and exciting ways of learning, year 4 are determined to keep our period 5 timed dedicated to using the existing and new online technology at our disposal."

South Burnett

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