St Joseph’s trials successful online learning

St Joseph's College, Coomera

St Joseph's students Nick Jaksic (left) and Ari Hunt ​make use of online resources at home

ONE of the Gold Coast’s youngest schools has made a promising head-start into the new world of online learning sparked by COVID-19.

St Joseph’s College, Coomera,​ trialled online learning from home for it​s Year 5, 7 and 8 classes with pleasing results.

The school tried two different approaches to settle on the best learning approach should school campuses be closed at the start of Term 2 while the nation attempted to minimise coronavirus infections.

St Joseph’s Principal Paul Begg said the Year 5 class was provided with a work program by 8.30am, enabling them to work at their own pace during the day.

The Year 5 teachers were available for online check-in during the day to help students and parents.

Year 7 and 8 students had a regular school day built into a “learn live” approach in which they had five lessons for the day, each starting at 10 minutes past the hour.

A teacher would provide live instruction via video connection for the first 15 minutes of the lesson before students were given 30 minutes to complete tasks.

The teachers would then check in with their students live for the final five minutes for a discussion.

After a 10-minute break, the next lesson would begin in the same format.

Mr Begg said the online learning trial appeared to go smoothly.

“We’ve sent feedback forms so we can learn more about how things went in students’ homes, but we’ve been pleased with the initial feedback,” Mr Begg said.

“We want to understand the sustainability of both models so that we can decide what may work best if we have an extended period of online learning.

“We have to factor in things like bandwidth if we want to do more with the live lessons.

"For instance, if a home has multiple children and parents working from home, does the bandwidth enable the live lessons?

“We’ll make decisions on that as we go through next week to ensure we’re ready to go if we need to do this at the start of Term 2.

"But we are very mindful as we make all of these decisions that are parents aren’t teachers.

"We want to make their involvement as easy as possible.”

St Joseph’s, which opened in 2019, currently has classes from Prep to Year 5 along with Years 7 and 8.

Mr Begg said the online learning for Prep to Year 4 students will be different to the initial trial and will be tailored to provide the best experience possible.

“Since we started, St Joseph’s has prided itself on character before content,” Mr Begg said.

“We want to establish strength of character in our students so that will provide a base from which the academic performance and the content can follow,” he said.

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