Gowrie St tackles the challenges of remote learning

By Jessica Ball

There were always going to be teething problems when learning moved off campus and into students’ homes.

And Gowrie Street Primary School has risen to the challenges.

Assistant principal Eron Chapman said it was a simple decision to use Google Classroom for upper year levels, but finding the right fit for Prep to Year 2 students took a little trial and error.

When parents found the initial system using Facebook and Word documents clunky, she set about finding a better way.

“I thought, `how can we make that easier for parents to access?’ — because we also had some parents who were accessing it on the phone and the documents weren't great on a phone,” Ms Chapman said.

Within a day or two the assistant principal had built a website.

Ms Chapman said the website was broken down to each week, then each day with everything students needed in one streamlined spot.

“On a Friday we put all the learning for the next week together and I put that all into Google Classroom and then all into the website,” she said.

“The colored blocks show what we'll be doing for reading, writing, maths and some break times.

“For each subject there's a link to a video that the teacher has made, and if the kids are to make something the teachers have done an example and taken a picture of it to show the kids and their carers what the work would look like.

“It's also got a chat function and that was another way to help people if they needed support.”

Ms Chapman said families and senior students were more engaged with the learning, having access to the weekly plan in advance.

“We're thinking we'll continue that and possibly the website could be a way to do that to let parents know what they (students) are going to be learning for the next week,” she said.

As well as strengthening the school-family partnership, Ms Chapman said the learning experience had allowed teachers’ adaptability to shine.

“I think it's highlighted to our communities how adaptable our teachers are and how flexibly they work and rise to challenges,” she said.

“One of the biggest positives is that the community is being able to see what happened in schools.”