Learning from home in a school setting

This page provides advice to schools about how they can ensure learning continuity for children and young people during disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Learning continuity contingency planning

All schools should be undertaking learning continuity contingency planning urgently. 

This means using or adapting important features of your school to support and enable remote curriculum delivery. This includes working out:

  • how teachers will design and plan, individual and collectively
  • what curriculum content you’ll deliver
  • how you’ll deliver curriculum content during the day and across the week(s), which may include using technologies
  • how you’ll assess student learning
  • which cohorts are likely to need additional support, and how you’ll support them
  • what school and other leaders’ roles and responsibilities will be
  • what existing structures, processes and resources in the school you might leverage
  • the relationships the school currently has that you might successfully leverage, including relationships with other schools and with community and/or industry partners.

Detailed contingency planning advice for school leaders has been directly communicated to schools. 

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has published more advice for students undertaking senior secondary qualifications. 

Teaching and learning from home 

The Department has a range of supports available for schools. These include online and offline options.

Tips for remote curriculum delivery

Research and practice tells us that students are likely to learn best from home when teachers:

  • provide students and parents/families with information about how and when they can contact teachers
  • make regular contact with students and families
  • create and communicate a schedule or calendar that shows what’s expected of students – for example, what students will be asked to do, by when
  • give feedback to students and families on student learning progress often
  • avoid overwhelming students by giving them too many learning activities at once – for example, a whole month's work
  • balance individual activities/tasks with collaborative ones that support students to engage with each other online – if appropriate and technologies can be facilitate it
  • include a variety of activities/tasks – for example, creative, reflective, analytical, shorter and longer.

We welcome feedback from teachers about their tips and ideas for supporting learning from home. Email learning.from.home@edumail.vic.edu.au

Assessment

Schools must make sure there is ongoing assessment of each student’s performance. This assessment must be embedded in the school’s remote learning program.

General advice on formative assessment is available on the VCAA website. More specific advice around assessment of remote learning will be published soon.

Online options

These online platforms and applications are available to:

  • Victorian government schools in all cases
  • non-government schools in some cases. Non-availability for non-government schools is due to licensing.

Schools that already have infrastructure, hardware and applications that support learning from home should keep using technologies if they remain fit-for-purpose.

For information on how to access Department-provided technologies, see:

Technical information will be provided directly to school ICT Technicians.

Collaboration and learning delivery

Collaboration and learning delivery resources include:

WebEx – videoconferencing

Webex is the Department’s preferred tool for video conferencing. Students can attend online classes from home using any computer or mobile device with internet access.

School leaders, teachers and support staff can use WebEx to:

  • attend virtual meetings
  • share documents and links.

Availability: Victorian government schools

More information and support: WebEx provide Department-specific resources for teachers. They also provide tips for using WebEx in the event of a school closure.

0365 (Microsoft) – learning management

O365 supports teachers to:

  • create their own classrooms
  • share lessons
  • create learning activities
  • collaborate in real-time
  • assess student learning
  • provide personalised feedback to students.

O365 applications include OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Forms.

Availability: Victorian government schools

More information and support: Resources and a blog post are available to support remote learning with Microsoft. On demand webinars and questions/answers for schools who want to set up 0365 are also available.

G Suite (Google) – learning management

G Suite includes cloud-based tools that support real-time collaboration between teachers and students. G Suite applications include:

  • Google Classroom
  • Drive
  • Documents
  • Forms
  • Sites
  • Sheets
  • Slides.

Availability: Victorian government schools

More information and support: Google provides a G Suite tips sheet for enabling learning from home. Resources to support teachers to set up and use Google Classrooms are available on FUSE.

Learning resources aligned to Victorian curriculum frameworks

Learning at home resources are now available on the FUSE website. This repository provides links to digital resources you can use to support learning at home. They include:

FUSE

FUSE is a content repository with over 25,000 educational resources mapped to Victorian curriculum frameworks. Resources include websites, interactives, images, audio and video.

Educators have recommended and reviewed all resources. 

Availability: about half of the content is available to the public. The other half is licenced for use by Victorian government schools.

Curriculum frameworks: VEYLDF, Victorian Curriculum F-10, VCE

More information and support: visit the FUSE teacher page

ClickView

ClickView hosts videos from popular films, documentaries and Australian made educational videos and mini clips for all Victorian government schools. Teachers can access or develop their own playlists to share with students.

Availability: Victorian government schools

Curriculum frameworks: Victorian Curriculum F-10, VCE

More information and support: ClickView has a range of webinars and video tutorials for teachers. They also provide tips for using ClickView in the event of a school closure. Email info@clickview.com.au to find out more.

Stile Education

Stile Education offers a library of online interactive science lessons for levels 7 – 10 of the Victorian Curriculum: Science. They were developed with Cosmos magazine and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Students can access individual lessons or whole learning sequences that their teacher has assigned to them.

Availability: Victorian government school teachers and students in years 7 to 10

Curriculum frameworks: Victorian Curriculum: Science

More information and support: Stile’s webinars and resources are for teachers who are teaching remotely. They also offer tailored professional learning for schools: email help@stileeducation.com

Minecraft: Education Edition (Microsoft)

Minecraft: Education Edition can support transformative teaching and learning by engaging students in challenging and creative tasks using gamification principles.

A Minecraft Education Edition remote learning tool kit includes more than 50 lessons and project-based learning activities for teachers.

Availability: Victorian government schools

Curriculum frameworks: Victorian Curriculum levels 5 – 8

More information and support: the Minecraft: Education Edition community blog has free lessons, online teacher training and a set of creative remote learning projects. More information – including information for schools and parents – is available on FUSE.

Requirements for using technologies to support flexible/remote teaching and learning

Schools that already have platforms and applications that support learning from home should keep using technologies if they remain fit-for-purpose.

This applies whether the technologies:

  • have been provided by the Department (e.g. WebEx, ClickView)
  • have been separately implemented by the school (e.g. Compass, SeeSaw, Caremonkey).

Schools that are not currently equipped with technologies should access Department-provided platforms and applications. Your school technician can help you to ‘onboard’ the school to these technologies, and you can use the support resources on this page to help teachers and students access these technologies.

School should not ‘onboard’ the school to new third-party technologies at this time, particularly those with videoconferencing functions. This is because of significant challenges associated with appropriately managing privacy, security and safety.

All use of technologies in schools must be compliant with relevant legislation and Department policies, including in relation to:

  • notifying and seeking parental/carer consent from parents/carers for the use of online services
  • Privacy Impact Assessments
  • information security
  • school procurement of ICT systems
  • supervision and duty of care online
  • digital copyright.

Relevant Department polices include:

The Department has existing information packs for schools and parents for all Department-provided software available at Using Digital Technologies to Support Learning and Teaching.

If you have privacy and copyright-related questions, email privacy@education.vic.gov.au

Offline options

Offline options include links to sets of self-directed learning activities you can provide to students via:

  • Word documents
  • printed workbooks.

These self-directed learning activities are available to Victorian government, Catholic and independent schools on the FUSE website

Activities are aligned to the achievement standards of the Victorian Curriculum F-10.

We encourage teachers to modify/adapt resources to suit their classroom context.

Parents/carers and families

We recommend that schools establish a communication approach for parents/carers. This should make clear:

  • how and when you'll communicate with them
  • how and when students and parents/carers can contact teachers and/or the school
  • preferred methods of communication. These may include mail, email, digital learning platforms, the school website, social media, telephone, videoconferencing, and using interpreters.

We also recommend that school clarify and communicate what students and parents/carers need to do during remote learning. You should note that that:

  • learning activities must be self-contained and manageable and should not rely too heavily on parents as educators
  • parents/carers may not always be available during the school day to support learning from home – many will have work, caring or other responsibilities
  • some parents/carers may experience more difficulty in supporting learning from home. For example, parents/carers with English as an additional language, low levels of literacy or a learning disability.

Tips for parents and carers

Find advice, tips and resources to help parents and carers support their child’s continuity of learning from home.

This advice includes links to literacy and numeracy resources and tips. Parents/carers can use these with their children at home without the school’s involvement.

Schools can:

  • direct parents with questions about supporting learning from home to this advice
  • create and distribute their own materials/resources.

Technologies at home

Consider the individual circumstances of students and families if you identify technologies as appropriate for supporting learning from home.

Parents/carers should make sure that their children have access to technologies to support learning from home. This includes devices, applications and the internet.

Should parents/carers be unable to do so, schools should consider distributing school-owned devices to students/families.

We’re currently developing advice, options and further supports for schools around technologies at home. We’ll publish more information as soon as possible.