Continuity of the Learning Environment – Off Campus Learning Arrangements
March 20, 2020
by Director of Studies, Mrs Julia Petrov
While we look forward to seeing your sons on their return from holidays next term, rest assured we have invested much time planning for the possibility that this may not occur.
In the possible event of the school being closed, we have been working to ensure the continuity of our learning environment for our students. St Patrick’s College been using online learning tools and resources in all faculties for many years so online learning is not new to us or our students. What is new is the possible need to provide continuous learning solely off campus for all our boys.
Following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and our best answers at this stage. Note that some aspects may possibly change as the situation evolves and as further guidance is provided by our governing authorities including the Catholic Education Office, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and Edmund Rice Education Australia.
How will teachers communicate with students?
In the event of a school closure teachers will continue to use the tools that we currently use such as email, SIMON, APP4, OneNote, Google Classroom and, as of this week, Microsoft Teams. Your son should be familiar with these apps.
Of course, school is social as is much of our learning. We would want to provide opportunities for our classes to interact online. This may be responding to a question posed through chat, a class discussion moderated by the teacher or an online competition.
There are a range of other online learning resources such as Campion MyConnect, Edrolo, Education Perfect and ClickView that your son would continue to use.
Are we asking students to sit in front of the computer for a whole day?
We do not envision your son sitting with his device in virtual classrooms all day during normal school hours. With the reduction of the many cocurricular activities available to our boys, we appreciate that parents may already have concerns over the potential impact of their son’s increased screen time.
In most cases, it is our intention that teachers will be available during the scheduled class times to provide support for students to do set work.
The format of our lessons will vary greatly from subject to subject and depending on tasks, presentations and activities set. There may be times when your son is required to sit for the duration of a class, just as there may be times when he can work more flexibly in his own time. It will really be a case-by-case basis, but your son will be constantly informed of what is required for each of their subjects.
What about my son’s practical or applied learning classes?
Some subjects will need to be restructured with a focus on theory in the event of a school closure. Practical tasks will then take place once school reopens.
For students who undertake studies involving external providers, which may include VCE VET subjects delivered by the College, specific information will be forwarded to students directly, either by the Registered Training Organisation or by SPC staff as appropriate.
Will my son complete assessments that will be on the report?
In order to ensure academic integrity, summative tasks – those that are recorded on the End of Semester Statement of Attainment report– will be done when students return to school. Formative assessment – tasks that build knowledge and skills – will be conducted online. Feedback will continue to be presented through Learning Areas in SIMON which parents will be able to access through PAM. We will monitor the workflow of each student and contact parents should any concerns arise.
For students studying Unit 3 VCE subjects, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has directed schools to: “delay or reschedule SACs and SATs.”
We will constantly provide updates from VCAA as they arrive.
What if my son has limited internet access?
Much of our off-campus learning will be presented online. However, we are planning continuity of learning options for students who do not have reliable online access at home.
If you are concerned about the reliability and availability of internet access for your son, please contact the school or click here to complete this form as soon as possible.
How can I help prepare my son for off campus learning?
This week your son has had Microsoft Teams activated on his device. Please ask him about it and check that he can open it on his device. If he experiences any issues please encourage him to either visit the College IT department as soon as possible or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers have commenced using Microsoft Teams in classes to help students become more familiar with its features.
Your son should be charging his device every night and this will be especially important next week.
It is also vital that your son monitors his email regularly and ensures his inbox is not full.
Teaching staff are working on providing effective, engaging off-campus learning for our students in the event of a closure. The pupil free day on Friday, March 27 will give teachers further to fine tune all details.