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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


  • 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 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)

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

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