Online tools to keep kids learning even in a statewide school shutdown

IN the media: Claire Heaney, Herald Sun March 18, 2020 12:52pm 

A Government primary school principal has given an insight into what online learning might look like, warning that while schools are still open extended closures “remain a real possibility”.

“Whilst the Department of Education and Training advice is that schools are to remain open for now, it is clear that future extended school closures remain a real possibility. Faced with this situation, we have been working hard this week to map out how student learning can continue if the school were to be closed for a number of weeks,” St Kilda Park Primary school principal Neil Scott told parents yesterday. He said under any closure the staff would continue to work to maintain learning continuity. “To do this we are making plans to provide daily learning activities to students via online platforms,” he said. He said they envisaged using Seesaw for foundation to year 4 students and Google Classroom for years 5 and 6. “Students will be provided with a ‘home timetable’ to set out expectations for the day’s learning at home. These platforms will then allow teachers to provide and monitor learning activities and for students to complete them online and send any messages to their teachers. “We realise that this approach does rely on families having access to computers or iPads at home and a working internet connection,” he said. Mr Scott said an upcoming school holiday program also was contingent on whether DET decided to close schools prior to the designated school holidays. St Leonard’s College moved online on Tuesday and through its social media channels is receiving good feedback from families. “We received many photos and emails from parents today that demonstrated the remarkable

EDUCATION Online tools to keep kids learning even in a statewide school shutdown capacity for our students to embrace and adapt to this new online learning environment,” the private Brighton co-ed school said on its social media channels. “Some students admirably chose to dress in full school uniform and followed respectful classroom protocols even down to requesting permission to go to the toilet.”

Face-to-face teaching will take a back seat to virtual learning as more schools go online amid the coronavirus crisis. The school said the new online learning model provided a meaningful contribution to our student’s learning for life and would help develop their adaptability quotient. “Both IQ and EQ contribute to future success in life, but in the modern complex world, as technology reinvents how we operate and interact, AQ is also deemed to be essential,” the school said. “AQ involves the ability to overcome challenges and make a conscious effort to change; it involves curiosity, problem-solving, courage and resilience. In recent days our staff have also been shining examples of this capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing working environment.” Schools are continuing to make decisions about when and if they will close. Minaret College said its college crisis management team had decided to close from March 20 to April 20. It told families that teachers would work next week to help build online learning capabilities should the closure extend beyond April 20. “As an independent school we considered the unique needs and concerns of our community. We discussed the potential scenarios, as well as feedback we’ve received from students, parents and the community,” executive principal Mohammed Taksim told parents. The closure applies to the Springvale and Office campuses of the Islamic school attended by “While today’s decisions are precautionary, and ahead of any government decision, we believe they are the right ones for our Minaret Family,” the school said. “We also understand that for students currently studying Unit 3 & 4, this disruption may be of additional concern to them. VCE teachers are currently preparing 2 weeks of lessons for VCE students and this will be provided to them before the end of this week,” Mr Taksim said. “I expect this decision will not be a surprise to our families however it may be disruptive or a cause for concern. I would therefore like to reassure our families that we’ve considered both the benefits and risks of our decision, and made the decision we believe is in the best interest of our community at this time.”

Strathcona Girls Grammar, in Canterbury, which closed yesterday is employing Microsoft Teams. All students are expected to be present and active online (logged in to their class via Microsoft Teams at the very beginning of class) as per their 2020 class timetable from 8.25am – 3.30pm. Regular recess and lunchtime periods remain. Staff will mark rolls on MyStrathcona, an internal portal in the first 10 minutes of every class and an SMS will be sent to parents of students who are absent. 

To manage student wellbeing, pastoral periods will run via Microsoft teams on Tuesday and Thursdays. The school said students are encouraged to adopt positive wellbeing strategies for the period of remote learning such as: be dressed in neat attire for all classes, set up their computer to do online class from a public space in the house, stay connected with friends online and through telephone at recess and lunchtimes, keep to a ‘school day’ routine while at home, maintain daily exercise, eat healthy meals and snack regularly. Teachers are also encouraged to maintain regular working hours, behaviour management and pastoral care as best as possible.

Association Catholic Schools, an umbrella association for a dozen Catholic schools including St Bernards, CBC St Kilda, De La Salle and Whitefriars, this morning released a statement outlining cancellations across music, drama and sport. It says the sports program may resume on June 2, pending more information. The assistant principal at a private school said her private view was that parents should try not to home school their children. “If schools close down parents are wondering if they should homeschool. Please don’t. Parenting is joyful but also tough. Play a game, have a conversation but don’t homeschool.” the educator said. “If your school offers remote learning, great. If not, enjoy your child and let them enjoy their childhood. Make memories that they can look back on fondly.” Seesaw has the following suggestions to assist with home learning. Create a designated learning space.

Social activity is important during virtual learning. Organise learning materials and designate a common area for learning. Ideally, the space has a strong wireless connection, can be blocked from noise at times, and is located where family members can participate in your child’s learning. Begin and end each day with a check in. Designate time to check in with your child helps your child feel more secure and supports them to process the situation. Questions to ask: What are you learning today? What materials do you need? What did you enjoy learning today? What was challenging? Schedule physical activity and social interaction.

Physical and social activity are essential to your child’s wellbeing. Scheduling time for movement, social interaction, and play helps your child have a positive experience at home. Ideas: Create a family dance, act out a scene from a book, interview a family member, play your favourite game, cook or bake your family’s favourite recipe Support your child’s emotional needs. In stressful times, children need supportive and stable relationships with trusted adults. Stay close with your child and provide age-appropriate information. Monitor communications from your child’s teacher and school. Make sure you know how and when you will receive communications.

school captain heading

Tomorrow’s Leaders

Change is inevitable — but what kind of world do our next generation of young leaders want to live in, and how will they play a role in making it happen?
The Progress Leader interviews our School Captain Kara.

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Hearld Sun heading March 2020

Online tools to keep kids learning even in a statewide school shutdown

To manage student wellbeing, pastoral periods will run via Microsoft teams on Tuesday and Thursdays. The school said students are encouraged to adopt positive wellbeing strategies for the period of remote learning such as: be dressed in neat attire for all classes, set up their computer to do online class from a public space in the house, stay connected with friends online and through telephone at recess and lunchtimes, keep to a ‘school day’ routine while at home, maintain daily exercise, eat healthy meals and snack regularly. Teachers are also encouraged to maintain regular working hours, behaviour management and pastoral care as best as possible.

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The Australian - IWD

Lifelong learning key to the future

big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
He says recasting some of the technical disciplines, such as engineering, into a humanfocused
discipline could result in an increasing interest from women.
The Business Council of Australia has suggested an overhaul of the vocational and tertiary
education systems with a shared oversight body and better information about the range of
options.
It has called for that same culture of lifelong learning, for initial qualifications for a strong
foundation, and then modules to upskill and retrain throughout careers.
And instead of separate funding for universities and vocational training, the BCA says an
individual education “account” would allow promote individual choices.
The corporate sector’s peak body has also called for a focus on STEM, as technology
continues to transform the economy. Across the education system, STEM skills and
knowledge are increasingly sought after – but not found.
While the Australian Government pours millions into STEM advancement and advocacy,
institutions continue to struggle to attract, retain and progress women.
Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews says parents and teachers
should encourage STEM participation.
“It’s easy as parents to brush off a dislike of maths or science with an, ‘It’s OK, I didn’t do
well and I turned out OK’,” she says. “We need to change that attitude and make STEM a
priority for our kids. We need them to keep engaging students in a way that ensures both
girls and boys are equally supported in the pursuit of STEM.”
Tech Girls Movement founder and STEM educator Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen says teachers
need to be enabled and supported to do that: “It’s challenging for teachers to have to do
the next big thing.”
Teachers need the tools, training and confidence to deliver STEM and other subjects in an
inspiring way. Beekhuyzen says there is a push to teach coding, but points to forecasts
indicate half the current coding jobs won’t exist in the future.
So what are young people to do? Beekhuyzen says it all comes back to resilience and
adaptability. Her own program inspired Kira Molloy, 20, to get into technology. She is now
on a New Colombo Plan Scholarship, studying at the top-ranking National University of
Singapore. “Before I got involved with the Tech Girls Program, I had never considered
studying computer science and was set on studying medicine,” she says. “From the
experiences I had through the Tech Girl program I was able to go to QUT and Google in
Sydney and see amazing technologies and amazing women leading the field. This ignited a
passion for me to pursue a career in technology.”
Lifelong learning key to the future – The Australian, 3/7/2020 10/3/20, 11(21 am
https://theaustralian.smedia.com.au/HTML5/PrintArticle.aspx?doc=NCAUS%2F2020%2F03%2F07&entity=ar16502&mode=text Page 5 of 5
At the coalface of girls’ education, Strathcona Girls Grammar Head of Digital Learning and
Innovation Michelle Dennis says the most important skills will be those that can’t be taught
from a book.
“A lot of future-proofing comes down to giving students the opportunity to encounter new
experiences,” she says.
And national award-winning science teacher Sarah Chapman, from Townsville State High
School, says future-proofing involves questioning and assessing information, from
humanities and religion, to arts and sciences.
“A lot of these things are uncomfortable for young people,” she says. “It needs to be more
of the norm.”

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