Innovative culture ensures quick response to online learning

By drawing on its long-standing core values, Long Bay College was well positioned to deliver the school curriculum online to students from the very first day of COVID-19 Alert Level Four lockdown. The school’s dedicated staff pivoted quickly to deliver online teaching and learning solutions before schools closed nationwide.

“Our College is known for its qualities of creativity and care and we have really leveraged these values to ensure our students could seamlessly continue to connect with their teachers and keep up with their lessons from the beginning of lockdown,” says College Principal Mr CJ Healey.

Now, well into Term Two, teachers have contacted the parents of nearly every child in the school to offer support and organise any additional resources required.

“Despite lockdown, our staff have continued to provide a high standard of care for students.  They have refined and adopted systems and created innovative ways of delivering a quality education remotely. We have demonstrated, as a school, that we are living our core values with greater strength than ever.”

While teachers have collaborated across faculties and shared best practise techniques for working remotely, so have the students. They have been supporting each other by sharing tips and ideas during online class chat sessions.

Level 3 Design and Visual Communication students have produced some outstanding work at home. After taking a project brief from their teacher through Microsoft 365, one student has designed a prosthetic leg with the aim of redefining the limits of what amputees can do in adventure sports, while another student has designed a smart home system for the elderly that responds to emotional cues.

In English, students at all year levels are working on their annual speeches.  This time around, the school is utilising technology to allow for digital submissions from every student. This is no small task but made manageable using Microsoft 365 and YouTube.

Media Studies students have also utilised Microsoft Teams to work together in small groups to critically analyse films and share their insights by video conferences; Physical Education students have performed drills, activities and challenges and uploaded videos of their achievements; Dance students have used video to send their teacher their self-choregraphed routines for marking; Wood and Food Technology students have utilised home materials and uploaded photos of their projects from concept to completion.

The College is ably supporting its diverse learners; Microsoft Translate is used for those students who have English as a second language and Microsoft 365 Immersive Reader for those with Dyslexia.  The Teacher Aides have created channels inside individual class teams to reach out to Learning Support students.

A number of co-curricular activities have continued online, while new opportunities have been created.

“We have a passionate sustainability group who continue to meet and develop their initiatives remotely; a Dungeons and Dragons group meets regularly using Microsoft Teams and a songwriter’s group and a book club has started online since lockdown,” says Mr Healey.

“Remote learning is a whole new experience for many students, staff and parents. Feedback has been extremely positive from all groups and student attendance at online classes is impressively high,” says Mr Healey.  French Language teacher, Mrs Heather Jenkins says, “Our students are keen to learn, which makes our job much easier!”

A parent emailed the school to say how impressed they were at how well online classes are working. “Considering how quickly the circumstances changed leading up to school closures, everyone at Long Bay College has really done a great job. An added bonus for me is being involved in my child’s learning, as it’s all happening right here!”

“The innovation and growth experienced by us all as a result of lockdown has been impressive and will take us forward in many new directions,” Mr Healey says. However, he adds he is very much looking forward to the time when the school campus is once again filled with the faces and voices of students and staff.

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