ClassroomNZ2020: A back-up resource in the age of Covid

Issue: Volume 99, Number 14

Posted: 3 September 2020
Reference #: 1HAAX1

A Whakatāne secondary school has made good use of the online learning platform ClassroomNZ2020, ensuring that teaching and learning continue amid the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Trident High School student Caisley Edwards and teacher Adelaide Roper have found ClassroomNZ2020 a useful resource in the face of disruption to the school year.When Covid-19 re-emerged in the community in August, Trident High School deputy principal Tui McCaull wasn’t worried about how their senior secondary students would continue learning from home if that was required again.

“We’ve been given access to this fantastic online learning platform ClassroomNZ2020. I had no concerns because everybody knew exactly what they were doing,” says Tui, who teaches health at the coeducational secondary school in Whakatāne. 

Free to use

To ensure teaching and learning continue amid the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education has made ClassroomNZ2020 available free to schools, kura and wharekura since June. 

The platform has a range of online NCEA courses developed by Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). Since mid-August, resources for Years 7–10 have also been made available to schools. 

“Through ClassroomNZ2020, we are providing schools with an optional resource that can supplement their existing learning programmes, and which can be used by learners and teachers remotely as well as within the school setting,” says Pauline Cleaver, the Ministry’s Associate Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement.

Around 20,400 students and teachers from 100 schools and kura across the country have been set up to access ClassroomNZ2020 to date. Another 110 schools and kura have registered their interest to access the online resource.

In response to Covid

Trident High was among the schools that signified interest early on. 

“Our school’s senior leadership team expect continued disruptions over the coming months due to Covid. So that was a key reason for our school signing up to ClassroomNZ2020,” McCaull explained.

Like tens of thousands of students across New Zealand, students at Trident High transitioned to distance learning overnight when the country moved into Alert Level 3 and then 4 in March. The school’s teachers also had to quickly adapt their teaching practices to the new reality forced by the global pandemic.

Blended approach

To mitigate the drastic impact of potential disruptions, Trident High is maintaining the blended approach to learning – a mix of face-to-face as well as online learning – that it adopted during lockdown earlier this year. 

“Some of my students were able to keep up with the work during lockdown, while others didn’t because of family circumstances or other reasons. ClassroomNZ2020 has supported me in dealing with the mixed ability in the classroom and in providing individual learning plans for my students,” says Adelaide Roper, who teaches health and physical education at Trident High.

“Some of the students were worried they had fallen behind. But having an extra resource like ClassroomNZ2020 meant I can assure them, ‘Here is your learning plan, this is what you’re working on’ and they can work from home.

“Having another trusted resource in my teaching kete that is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum helps with our own anxiety levels and workload too. Hopefully, we’ll still have access to it next year.”

Easy to access

Taieri College student Skyla Stadnyk likes the flexibility of being able to use ClassroomNZ2020 at school and at home.

Taieri College student Skyla Stadnyk likes the flexibility of being able to use ClassroomNZ2020 at school and at home.

For students, ClassroomNZ2020’s main appeal is its accessibility. 

Students can access the online courses in which they have been enrolled by their teachers, whenever and wherever they are, says Skyla Stadnyk, a Year 13 student at Taieri College in Mosgiel.

Once a week, Skyla works in a vet clinic as part of her Gateway training. 

“With ClassroomNZ2020, I can go home at the end of the day without feeling anxious that I missed valuable class time. I don’t get behind on schoolwork because I can log in and do it at home in my free time,” she says. 

“I also think it will be helpful when I prepare for the end-of-year NCEA externals.”

Caisley Edwards, a Year 11 student at Trident High, says the platform’s user-friendly features make it a handy learning tool.

“Using the site is easy as. The lessons and workbooks are also easy to understand and follow,” she says.

A lesson to support NCEA Level 3 Health

A lesson to support NCEA Level 3 Health

Supplementing the curriculum

With blended learning becoming the norm for at least a while in the current Covid world, some schools are using ClassroomNZ2020 to supplement their curriculum content.

“ClassroomNZ2020 is more of a back-up. We use it alongside existing learning programmes and to alleviate any anxiety students may have about missing classes and falling behind,” says Kat Nichol, who teaches agriculture and horticulture at Taieri College.

“As a teacher, I feel confident that with ClassroomNZ2020, my students have what they need that sets them up to do well in their courses.”

A ClassroomNZ2020 maths lesson for Y7–10 students

A ClassroomNZ2020 maths lesson for Y7–10 students

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BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:48 pm, 3 September 2020

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