A lesson in independence for Shepparton East

By Jessica Ball

At Shepparton East Primary School it is easy to see the positive flow-on effects of remote learning.

Teacher Demi Morrison said a strong introduction to technology pre-pandemic and maintaining a regular routine enabled a smooth transition for Years 5-6 students.

Similar to their on-campus timetable, the students have studied literacy and numeracy at the beginning of the day with whole class video conferencing followed by more independent learning plus scheduled one-on-one sessions in the afternoon.

“We've kept it very structured and the same every day for them so they know exactly what to do,” Miss Morrison said.

In their final years of primary school, the unprecedented move to remote learning has allowed students’ independence to flourish.

It has taught them to follow written, pre-recorded and live video instructions, and teacher Brad Willaton said these experiences had developed students’ persistence and problem-solving skills.

“There are kids that are working completely independently,” Mr Willaton said.

“Because they can't get that instantaneous answer they have to problem-solve to get around issues, whether it's a technology issue or finding out information or working out a question.”

With technology becoming a more significant part of learning than ever before, teacher Rachel Chenery said students were now better prepared with online etiquette and typing skills.

“Just the fact they can email now and upload work, that's a high-school thing,” Mrs Chenery said.

“In the past our kids haven't gone high-school with that and most primaries don't, they will be very proficient at it when they go.”

Remote learning has not replaced the need for in-person education but teacher Emily Cook said there was plenty to incorporate into the classroom.

“It's changed the way we're teaching and it's going to change the way we teach from now on,” Miss Cook said.

“We are going to use Google Classroom as a platform in the classroom as well as the things that have worked with kids, like going back and listening to recordings again to get the work, rather than asking the teacher directly.”