4 May: Return to On Site Learning and Feedback from Surveys

Updated May 2020

Thank you for completing the Return To School survey last week, and the survey in relation to your child’s experience with our Online Learning Program. Details of the surveys and our actions are given under the headings below.

Return To School

I don’t think we have ever had a parent survey with as many responses! With 699 responses, we found that:

  • There is a strong desire from many parents to send their children back to school immediately (over 300 parents).
  • At the same time, there are over 350 parents that prefer a return to on-site learning from dates ranging from the end of Ramadan to Term 3.
  • About 75% parents reported that they would send their students to school if we were to open for on-site learning during Term 2.

Thank you for your enthusiastic responses – I can see that this is an emotive topic with many views and opinions (not even our Federal and State Governments can agree on this.)

For now, our decision is that we will continue to follow the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, which is to have remote learning arrangements for Term 2. However, we understand that the Victorian Government reserves the right to review the situation based on COVID-19 case numbers and progress in Victoria. For now, it is case of ‘watch this space’.

Too Many Links and "Link Confusion"

We responded to this feedback with an updated timetable that contains hyperlinks to the relevant Google Classroom, which in turn has the appropriate Zoom link. As Google Classroom is the central system which contains learning content and materials, it is important that this becomes the ‘launching point’ for links to other systems. In addition, another Google Classroom called 2020 General Links has been setup which includes Assembly and Salaah program links, along with one click timetables for each class. We now believe that we have resolved the ‘link confusion’ issues. If you are still having trouble accessing classes, please call or email us on cc@alsiraat.vic.edu.au.

Length of Classes

We received a lot of feedback in relation to the 15 and 20 minute learning blocks being too short. The updated timetable for Primary increased all period blocks to 30 minutes, across Foundation to Year 6.

Class Size

Many parents feel that class sizes are too large, with limited opportunity for student engagement in the class and with their own classroom teacher. We have added ‘Circle Time’ to provide daily time with a student’s Home Group teacher. We are also working on how to reduce the class size, and will provide you more details once we investigate different options and how they will impact the timetable.

Google Classroom vs Showbie

A number of parents also told us that we should reduce the number of learning platforms we are using, In particular, it was noted that since Google Classroom includes functionality to submit work, we should only use this platform – this will avoid the need to use Showbie. The decision of choosing our learning platforms is a very important and informed decision. The reason why Showbie has been chosen is that it has an extremely powerful feature which is not available in other systems, and that is voice feedback. With Showbie, teachers will be able to provide each individual student with voice feedback on work they have submitted, and students will be able to reply to that feedback with their voice as well. You will realise the power of Showbie as we roll it out and you start receiving voice feedback for your child’s work. Post COVID-19, we will be continuing the use of Google Classroom and Showbie as our major learning platforms.

Other Items

Other themes that were noted were as follows:

  • Appreciation for the work that College has put into the Online Learning Program. Thanks for that – we are working hard to have an effective program.
  • Systems are confusing and complicated. Moving forward, our two main learning platforms will only be Google Classroom and Showbie. Class Dojo will not be used as a learning platform – it will only be used for sharing general classroom experiences and communication (Primary only). In time, we are confident that the school community will find these two learning platforms simple and engaging.
  • This is just too complicated for parents. Thank you for your patience whilst we worked through teething issues in on-boarding new systems in a remote learning environment. Normally this on-boarding occurs in classroom setting prior to switching to remote learning. Unfortunately, this all has to be done in real time due to the fast moving circumstances at the end of last term.
  • Online learning does not work for us. We hear you – it is a very different setting and does not work for everyone. Students are all unique in the way they learn – some children will find it very hard to adapt to this mode of learning. We also understand the different pressures and constraints parents face in a supporting remote learning.