In Part One, Lorna Beegan spoke about how Genazzano FCJ College adjusted to the new normal created by the pandemic and in Part Two, Prue Spencer, a Year 11 student, shared how the lockdown influenced her school life and goals for the future. Now in Part Three, fellow student, Lucie McLeod, describes how the experience has changed her approach toward learning.
Schools across the world have transitioned to an online learning environment because of the restrictions caused by Corona virus. How did you cope without the daily social interaction of school life?
It was definitely a change for me. I was used to seeing people from 8.00am to 3.30pm every day. I used various social media apps to help me connect with my friends, such as Zoom, Face Time and House Party. I know some people enjoyed being at home, so to make it easier for me, I tried to connect with people every day, including video chatting at lunchtime. It was definitely a different and strange experience, but it's helped me to realise how valuable being able to see people face to face is and how much easier it is to talk to people at school, rather than having to text a simple message.
How has the ‘new normal’ of online learning influenced how you study? Is it more difficult or simpler?
Online learning helped me to realise just how organised I will need to be when I study Year 12 next year. Being at home, I was able to be super organised with my textbooks, classwork and homework. I found that initially it was challenging but as the weeks progressed, I was comfortable working from home at my own pace. I would never have expected I would be learning remotely this year, but this ‘new normal’ has to be embraced until we can get back to on-campus learning.
Image provided with permission by Genazzano FCJ College.
Do you feel as though your academic progress will be affected by these changes and has this time made you consider planning for an alternative career path?
I don’t think my academic progress will be affected. I was able to complete the work that was set, finish homework and consolidate my notes. Sure, there might have been some areas we covered when at home that might be harder to understand, but I knew I could ask questions and complete tasks to help solidify my knowledge. The program we used, GenConnect (LMS) and Zoom, helped to make the school day seem ‘as normal as possible’, without being at school physically.
How has the experience changed your relationships with those around you (family and friends) while adjusting to the lockdown restrictions?
I have realised how valuable interacting with others is. Learning from home means you are mostly sitting at a computer learning, whereas in class you are actively chatting, working and interacting, without a poor internet connection! I have certainly missed my friends, and I know after the restrictions ease, I'll be really happy to reconnect with them. My family were also working from home, so it was a good opportunity to hang out with them, even if it was all day, every day. I think it was also a good chance to try out some new activities (tie-dying, baking and playing Animal Crossing …) and find new hobbies, that I'll share after the restrictions ease.
In Part Four, teachers Jessica Pinto and Bev Laussen will disclose some of the rewards and challenges of teaching in virtual learning environments.