Toorak Primary School teachers thankful for support in producing videos for students learning from home

The journey through remote and flexible learning for two Toorak Primary School teachers has been all the better thanks to colleagues and support staff with a passion for education.

Physical education teacher Jennifer White and education support staff member in sustainability, Sebastian Beck, have been busy producing and recording videos for their students in the current, and previous period, of learning from home.

Students are given activities that can be done from home without extra equipment and away from the screen.

Combined, their videos have reached more than 16,000 viewers, with many viewers from outside Victoria.

Both team members say they have been challenged in numerous ways to create timely, digital content that's both engaging and educational – making their working days far from routine.

'I believe this is one of the biggest challenges for everyone teaching remotely. But equally, the work is exciting and new, every day,' Sebastian said.

Support from peers

Jennifer and Sebastian said mutual support and weekly collaboration with peers have been instrumental in not only meeting the challenges but enjoying the process.

'We are all going through it together, and at the same time which allows us to share and troubleshoot our lessons learnt and band [together?] as colleagues and friends,' Sebastian says.

'A major benefit of learning from home has been the conversations on group chats, email and WhatsApp, about what's working, what's not working,' Jennifer says.

'Everyone's facing the same problems, and I know I can reach out to anybody at any time.'

Pivoting in their practice

Some of those challenges have included having to quickly learn how to create and share videos, as well as designing lessons on video that are  engaging for  the school's online learning audience of 580 students of different ages.

Jennifer said she met with a professional learning community twice a week to share lessons learnt, as well as seeking guidance from Schools Sports Victoria and the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

'This has led to the development of creating new content for students, such as measuring your resting and active heart rate, cooking with foods from the 'eat most' section of the healthy eating pyramid, doing fitness tests, looking at Olympic values,' Jennifer adds.

Both team members said developing and delivering curriculum content in a different way was the most exciting part of the remote and flexible learning challenge.

'I enjoy finding a topic that I can spin with questions to cater for the different inquiry topics chosen by the classroom teachers from Prep to Grade 6, which are aligned with the Victorian Curriculum,' Sebastian said.

Hard work paying dividends

When students resumed on-site schooling in Term 2, Jennifer spoke to every class to seek constructive feedback, incorporating  student voice and agency into their physical education. Jennifer used digital analytics to assess which video lessons were most effective - her Changes to your body when you exercise lesson was the most viewed.

In Term 2 learning from home, Sebastian said parents described his Sustainability@Home videos as 'the highlight of their children's learning week', with his ANZAC biscuits video the biggest hit.

'We are both passionate about the Health and Physical Education curriculum as well as the learning priority areas of Indigenous perspectives, environment and sustainability and we are planning to expand on this content in the future,' Jennifer said.