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Covid 19- Lessons learned going forward

Covid-19 As we near the end of self-isolation, schools will start shifting a focus towards onsite teaching and learning. For some learning remotely has been a challenge, some would have found it difficult to engage full stop, while others may have found their stride and will miss the flexibility of learning remotely or online. Here-in lies the issue and potentially the solution.

While not everyone’s experiences during Covid-19 would have been fair or equitable, there may well be some positive things we can reflect on, in light of what we've learned over the past seven weeks. We can ask ourselves;

  • What has worked well
  • Where the challenges lie
  • What will we start/stop doing, do more or less of or adopt as a new norm

Equally, if technology has been an enabler during distance learning, we might like to consider;

  • Test in the hall What learning platforms, websites, tools and resources will we continue to make available during lessons?
  • How will we encourage taiohi/students to continue to initiate, maintain and sustain their own learning?
  • If there are ways to vary the teaching of content – for example, adopting Universal Design for Learning principals in planning and teaching, collaborative teaching practice, flipped learning models etc
  • If there will still be choice, autonomy and flexibility in the way students opt into learning tasks, timetables, ways to process, share and reflect on their learning?
  • On-going opportunities to connect with parents and whānau

Now we can all see a real opportunity to locate future focused themes like innovative learning environmentsculturally responsive practicelearner agencyinclusive classroomsflipped learninglearning design and frameworks for thinking like the Ten Trends in the context of conversations about the changes we'd like to see in our education system moving forward. 

In fact, these conversations are being had right now. Some of you have may have seen Claire Amos (Principal), on TV1 Monday night (11/5/2020) talking about changes to a more flexible model (and timetable) at Albany Senior High School that better supports students have more choice and control over their own learning. After all, students have been required to manage their learning remotely from a distance for the past several weeks. Announcing Ten Trends 2020 

The same can be said beyond school - where we can use our takeaways from Covid-19, to create an equitable future in a truly treaty-led model. 

The Covid-19 crisis has shown change is possible. Across Aotearoa organisations, systems, structures and practices have shifted to new ways of working in under a week. Look at the collective intelligence, goodwill and innovation being applied to all areas of the crisis. Imagine if the same attention could be placed on redesigning an equitable and Te Tiriti-based future.

The choices we make now will determine our approach to the future and where we eventually emerge. Regardless of the decision, the one inescapable truth is that we are all in this together – he waka eke noa. Like Kīngi Tāwhiao’s vision, if we cannot picture the future we want then we will be unlikely to achieve the future we deserve.

Nau mai te Rangiātea - ki te hoe!

Eruera Tarena Executive Director Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective Foreword from, Kia Puta ki Rangiātea: Reaching New Futures, a series of potential future scenarios post COVID-19 released by Tokona Te Raki.

Now is the time to openly acknowledge that traditional schooling doesn’t work for all of our students and that we can disrupt the status quo and use this opportunity to revisit; timetables, teacher instruction, inclusive and accessible practices for all. Let's seize the opportunity to reflect on what’s important and make choices for positive change going forward in the future. 

What will you do with the lessons you’ve learned?


Also see:

Image source: Covid Image by FrankundFrei from Pixabay, Student assessment, Wikipedia commons

Replies

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 26 May 2020 4:44pm ()

    Here's a follow on from this whakaaro.

    Work stressThere’s no denying the last couple of months have been an unusual, challenging if not stressful time for all. There are understandably different ways we have all responded, as we transitioned to teaching and learning from a distance.

    Now, as we return to on-site teaching and learning, schools are reflecting on those experiences and collecting responses from taiohi (students), teachers, parents and whānau. Some of those insights may or may not surprise you. In his blog, Is this distance learning stuff working? Robin Sutton talks about four identified groups of learners; some identified as, those we struggle to get much meaningful engagement at school have since shown more engagement and greater enthusiasm when engaging online. Robin acknowledges there are still at-risk students not engaged at school or online; but summarises a large group of students have responded well, due to greater flexibility and choice over their learning. 

    In his second blog, The answer lies in pushing diversity and creativity, Robin encourages schools to gather the voices of all stakeholders, so we can use that evidence to influence localised curriculum design going forward. Some of his speculations going forward also align with other observations and findings such as:

    • More flexibility in time, with kura timetabled in a different way >>>
    • A blend of face-to-face and online learning >>>
    • More time spent allowing students to pursue their passions >>>
    • Less didactic 'lecturing from the front >>>
    • An imperative for schools to ensure that they have a clear pedagogy around how we cause learning, both face to face and distance >>>

    Having worked with a couple of schools during COVID-19, we’re also finding:

    Relaxed learning Students:

    • An overwhelming amount of students enjoyed the flexibility and freedom of managing their own workload, most opting to learn from midday onwards 
    • While some students missed the social interaction, others felt more relaxed, comfortable with more time to learn (when the workload wasn’t too much to manage)
    • Students also enjoyed the dynamic nature of digital tools, platforms and gamification of learning

    Teachers:

    • Teachers increased their use of e-learning tools and platforms to set work, share digital content, connect with students
    • Teachers increased contact with parents and whānau
    • Teachers also had more time to engage in professional learning 

    Parents and whānau:

    • Most Parents and whānau appreciated the time and communication from teachers and school
    • They enjoyed seeing what and how their children were learning

    Some challenges included:

    • Timely feedback between teachers/students/parents
    • Clarity about learning intentions, timelines and progress of learning
    • Juggling multiple digital platforms
    • Lack of engagement from some students in both synchronous and asynchronous learning tasks

    Going forward:

    Strategies for designing dynamic, inclusive lessons that enable students to engage, discuss, problem solve, collaborate, share and reflect on their learning using virtual tools and platforms in a blended e-learning way, will become important considerations for educators. In his blog, Equity: is it the Device or Teacher? Mark Maddren also offers some valuable considerations going forward. 

    What voices are you collecting to help reflect on lessons learned in COVID-19? What baby or big steps might you incorporate that promotes access, enthusiasm, engagement and equity in education using digital tools in a blended way? We’d love to hear more. 

    Also see: 

    Image sources: PxHere, stressed CCO, Flickr, Jisc info, Relaxed Study, Learning Grid, University of Warwick, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 04 Jun 2020 2:49pm ()

    Many of us have become our own researchers of late and some of us have a wealth of feedback from taiohi and whānau that gives is an insight into how they felt learning from a distance during COVID-19. Some of these findings are also reflected in an early piece of research, Insights from learners in lockdown Evaluation Associates, May 2020 by Dr Wendy Moore, Dr Irene Anderson show surveyed students about what they enjoyed and their challenges when learning at home. In this small scale study, they largely found;

    Learners liked the flexibility and freedom their learning at home experiences offered but also desired clarity in terms of instructions and fully understanding what they were expected to do and learn. Many enjoyed the online component of working from home, but some were frustrated by interaction delays with their teacher. The home environment was beneficial for some, but others found this housed too many distractions, which impacted on their ability to focus and stay motivated. The substantial change in not having a teacher close by, directing and supporting their learning, was challenging for many. Others found this freeing and enjoyed their ability to take ownership of their routines and study choices resulting in a greater level of challenge.

    Learners liked the flexibility and freedom their learning at home experiences offered but also desired clarity in terms of instructions and fully understanding what they were expected to do and learn. Many enjoyed the online component of working from home, but some were frustrated by interaction delays with their teacher. The home environment was beneficial for some, but others found this housed too many distractions, which impacted on their ability to focus and stay motivated. The substantial change in not having a teacher close by, directing and supporting their learning, was challenging for many. Others found this freeing and enjoyed their ability to take ownership of their routines and study choices resulting in a greater level of challenge.

    In a very recent study exploring the voices of parents of Māori and Pasifika students by Riwai-Couch et al. (2020), parents were worried about the quality of education experienced during lockdown, that their children would fall behind educationally, particularly those working toward NCEA. It was interesting to note that these concerns were not evident in the learner voices from this study. Although their day now looked different from a normal school or early learning centre day, learners in this study were still engaging with their learning and many commented that they were keen to do well. When teachers reflect on this time, the learners of this study want them to consider not just the content of what was offered or the platforms which were used, but the pedagogy. Learners of all ages want to have more say in their learning, want to have more engagement with the learning, and want to drive their own learning more. Secondary students, in particular, wanted more blended learning opportunities.

    Young woman taking note and using laptop while studying at homeThe education sectors throughout New Zealand are in a unique position to be able to reflect on what happened over the lockdown period and to learn from it. Learners have highlighted the importance of a learning-focused culture in their classroom and their desire to be further involved in designing their learning opportunities. In responding to these messages, educators could begin a conversation about how the learning day is organised, reflecting on the clarity of what is being asked of learners, or rethinking learner connection to the material that is being presented. A very recent blog post by

    Suemcl (May 6, 2020) presented an online ‘campfire’ of young voices, where learners “shared their perspectives on and aspirations for education in the current COVID-19 context and beyond”. The young people who participated in this online discussion shared strikingly similar thoughts to the learners of this study. Of significance were comments relating to self-regulation, flexibility, and freedom, with one person stating, “have spark not just routine”. Additionally, the social constraints of online educational life were explored. Of note were themes such as exploring tensions of continuing friendships and the absence of peers actually supporting learning, and challenges in the accessibility of the teacher. Learners are eager to offer their perspectives on learning in lockdown and be agents of change for the future.

    Across New Zealand learners have been sharing their voices in a variety of platforms and providing insight into what educational changes could be beneficial for them moving forward. With a return to on-site teaching as schools begin to reopen, the challenge now is whether teachers and leaders will take note and listen to these voices as a new ‘normal’ is created.

    “E korero ana mātou. E whakarongo ana koutou?

    We’re speaking. Are you listening?” (Suemcl, May 2020)

    As educators, how can we take the voices of our learning community and add to these? What conversations are we having about equity, accessibility, clarity, freedom and flexibility. What triggers for change might lay ahead for your learners?


    Also see:

    Image source: Pikrepo.com young woman studying at home

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 03 Jul 2020 9:27am ()

    Here's a delightful and timely story, of how one school took everything they did well before lockdown and nurtured that in a carefully constructed, distance learning model. It took a whole learning community, a clear strategy, access to variety of digital resources, as well as some surprising results from ākonga; to make this experience a positive one.

    Seesaw in learning at Cobden School

    Post Covid-19 lockdown, Cobden School (Greymouth, roll 84) is now looking to:

    • Increase access to digital tools and digital fluency for all teachers and learners
    • Encourage more student-led learning
    • Continue to strengthen relationships with school community
    • Continue to staff collaboration and de-privatise classroom practice

    For more on this story, see Distance learning at Cobden School (Enabling e-Learning TKI). What worked for you during Covid-19 lockdown? What do you want to do better/differently going forward? We'd love to hear from you.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 28 Aug 2020 3:34pm ()

    We're thinking of all the teachers and students in Tāmaki Makaurau who are now readying themselves to return to school next week. This challenges of moving between school and home can be felt around the country and now some of us are wanting to find different ways to support our learners to have more flexibility and freedom in their learning. 

    On Wednesday we took a look at some ideas, strategies and frameworks that would enable classroom teachers and school leaders to trial ways to increase learner agency, such as personalising timetables, creating learning environments that are more collaborative and responsive to diverse learning needs. You're most welcome to view this webinar recording here and follow through on the resources shared win the Google slides presentation. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.