Showing posts with label online learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online learning. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2021

What did we learn from the last period of online learning and the 2020 cohort?

Last year we had a short period of online learning.    We learned a lot about online learning and its impact in a relatively short period of time.

1. Student Motivation

Not all students will be motivated enough to complete work assigned online.  It is imperative that someone keeps an eye on students and informs parents when students do not complete the work set.  Leaving them in hope that they will complete the work set (or face the consequences later) is not a sufficient response.  The impact goes well beyond the few weeks away from school.

2. Use a variety of online teaching methods

Students consume information in a variety of ways, but have been predominantly taught to consume visually and aurally.  Screencasts work for some students, particularly those with high work ethic and reasonable levels of concentration.  Students that struggle with self motivation and rely on the threat of teacher consequence, require social encouragement or require positive reinforcement to stay on task will struggle with a passive learning environment.  For these students it important to engage some level of social media (even if it is just a Connect discussion group or a Webex session) to provide the additional stimulus and interaction required to work.  Teaching "on the fly" is less likely to work and preparation in lieu of face-to-face teaching time is required.

3. Anxiety is a real issue

Students encounter increased anxiety regarding the Covid outbreak and the uncertainty attached to an new learning environment can encounter a block that will prevent working.  We don't know if the outbreak is a five day or five month event.  Given that high performing students are prone to high levels of anxiety (especially at the pointy end of 11 and 12), this can be debilitating without a teacher guiding them and alleviating the anxiety by moderating workload and providing encouragement.

4. Content is hit and miss

Online learning is a developing medium.  Technology has improved, delivery is easier and has wider saturation than ever before.  This coupled with the need to make, tailor or find good content without the same level of student feedback found in a classroom is difficult.  A teacher's ability to create content varies greatly from teacher to teacher and class to class.

5. Student Confidence

Not all students have the confidence to raise their hand online and say they need help.  If they stay quiet, no-one will know until the assessment point that they did not understand what was required.  The same checks and balances used within a classroom (checking answers, verifying concepts with each student, attendance checks) are all required in a modified way in an online classroom.

6. SCSA and the Department

We don't know how SCSA or the Schools Directorate within the Department will react.  SCSA may relax requirements as they did last year or stand firm and require online learning to fill the gap.  The Department was not comfortable leaving teachers to teach from home last time (justifiably as they required re-skilling) and has initially not required teachers to return to school but will recommence teaching online in some form if students are away for an extended period.  

7. Universities and higher learning

Universities require bums on seats to ensure funding and are likely to use any way possible to ensure that they reach student quotas.  By providing additional alternate entry means, students are able to bypass the rigor of ATAR external exams and lose motivation to complete courses.  This coupled to the loss of pre-requisites allows students to pick and choose whether they need to finish courses if their WACE is already secure.