Skolchef Kristy reflekterar över de kreativa lösningar som den nya lärmiljön har medfört och vilka konsekvenser dessa får.

2020-04-16

During last week, I looked, listened, asked questions and observed.  What I saw were creative solutions to our “everyday” challenges highlighted by our “extraordinary” situation of remote learning.  Yes, I have stopped using the word online learning because after last week, I am now (more than ever) convinced that learning takes place within the student.  And, right now, many of our students are learning from a remote location – home.

 

– In VRG Odenplans rhetoric class, Jeanette Clayton writes:

I’ve been trying for some time to organize some different audience for my rhetoric students, to cover the requirement ”adaptation to purpose, recipient, situation och cultural context.” My various attempts have all eventually dissipated to nothingness, in many cases directly due to the corona situation. So with today’s class of planned ”Swedish cultural ambassador” speeches fast approaching, I made a desperate reach out to a few forcibly isolated UK friends (would have cast the net wider with more time) asking them to attend my online class. And boom! For the few who were able to join us, this was perfect!

The audience had a unique experience they couldn’t get on Netflix, and the students had a genuine and interested audience to cope with, and who could pose some highly pertinent questions. Today’s guests were (all retired, but I’ve got at least one 20-year-old lined up for another time): two school teachers, one accountant, one CEO assistant, and TWO university professors, both of psychology!

This turned out to be a win-win situation that could never have been achieved but for the on-line class situation. Of course, the visitors were very well known to me and hence vetted, and the students were all aware there would be visitors. But within such parameters, maybe there are more gains to be had from well-chosen on-line guests in classrooms?”

 

 

-A VRS Vasastan Spanish teacher took her students on a virtual trip to Madrid via her digital escape room.  In order to “get home” students had to answer questions, find information and solve problems to “unlock” the steps to get back … learning the whole way.

 

 

-As one VRG Jarlaplan student told me, “My teacher was so enthusiastic presenting his perfectly prepared online presentation that it wasn’t until slide 12 that we finally got his attention to say that his microphone was still muted” … “it didn’t matter, our teachers are all trying so hard.”

 

-From an experienced VRG Djursholm teacher who often shares her trials and tribulations in lyric:

I tried to be quite clever

And run a test online

And as a quiz on Canvas

(I thought it would be fine)

The students knew the set-up

Their phones were angled right

So I could see their screens

Much to my delight.

Although my beady eye

Was attempting to keep track

Watching all their images:

(A head, a side or back)

One student who was honest

Said " This is funny, Sue, 

I'm looking at my classmates' screens

To see what they will do!"

It seemed without much trouble

And without my catching it

They easily could copy

So my planned turned into SH ......(shaky ground!)

This wasn't something major

Just a rather lengthy quiz ...

But it's clear I need a few more skills 

To be a great tech wiz!!!

So obviously with DIGI

This set-up works so well

(Tho' maybe it's my method

That went wrong ...who can tell?)

Since then I have been thinking,

Recalling Carol Dweck

I won't give up, but try again

I'll just say "What the heck!"


-A VRS Djursholm teacher shared that remote learning for some students is very difficult … from managing to stay focused, to following written instructions, to having to wait for your turn to answer a question … the new reality of remote learning is a real strain for some of us all the time and for all of us some of the time.  One-on-one help has been the key to supporting these students!

 

-A VRG Odenplan chemistry teacher explained that when we went over to online learning one class had completed a necessary lab gathering valuable data and his other class had not.  How to solve labs online? He paired the students from the two different classes and they wrote their lab reports together – sharing data and new knowledge. They also made new friends along the way.

 

-Math and Physics teachers are working together … At VRG Odenplan, you can read how they have teamed up with instruction to create a manageble workload>>.  And, at VRG Djursholm, one teacher presented new material to three classes at once in a live video while two other teachers answered spontaneous questions in the live chat in our Canvas LMS.  Students remarked, “quickest answers ever!”

 

-An experienced instructional designer designed a digital affirmation board (created on Padlet embedded into his Canvas LMS course) to give students the opportunity to encourage and send “shout outs” to their friends.  A creative way to support “sustained” motivation.

 

Other examples of creativity are flourishing in our community:

-VR, together with many other schools, donated OH sheets which have been turned into protective visors for healthcare workers in our local community.

-Museums offer online study visits so that all of us can experience art and culture even while working from home:

Sofa tours of our Modern Museum of Art

Performance lectures from Nobel Museum and Dramaten

 

The collective efforts of teachers and students are evident when I look back over week three.  Interesting solutions to unintended challenges are apparent everywhere. A sense of humility and humor when things go wrong teamed with a “we are in it together” attitude feeds energy into the process.  My next wonder is how to maintain a sense of momentum when there is no end date yet set. In the coming weeks, I will be focusing on sharing good practice between schools and how I can contribute to “sustaining motivation” for all involved.  I take inspiration from my colleagues – I am going to try and be creative!

 

Do you have ideas of how to maintain motivation during periods of remote learning?  Share your ideas with us, please email info@vrg.se.

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Kristy Lundström, skolchef

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