Online Distance Learning
Our distance learning programme will involve a combination of online learning, working from textbooks, and practical tasks as appropriate.
Waimea College uses Office 365, and particularly Teams as the main tool to enable online learning. A range of other platforms may also used by our staff and they will advise their classes about these.
Expectations for Online Distance Learning
Put your health and your family first and continue to follow all government advice in order to stay safe.
We understand that online learning from home can be stressful for everyone involved. Please try to follow these guidelines:
- Check your school email account and class Teams once a day if possible, and respond to any messages from teachers.
- Remember teachers are also busy with their families, so please understand that they will respond when they can. Don’t be worried if you don’t get an immediate reply.
We do not expect that our students are engaged in distance learning for a full five hours of each day. However, we do recommend that you develop a timetable of study to implement healthy routines. Work will be set for each timetabled subject and teachers will provide learning materials and set tasks on a regular basis. This might happen on a day-by-day basis, or less frequently as blocks of work:
- Junior students can expect a maximum of 2 hours of study per subject per week
- Senior students can expect approximately 3 hours per subject per week
Please ensure that you have access to Office 365 at home. Use a modern browser such as Chrome or Firefox (not Internet Explorer). If you have any issues accessing your account, please contact one of your teachers or the school for help. If they can’t help you directly, they can get in touch with the school Tech Support Team.
Learning at Home
How you organise your time to complete school work is up to you but we recommend that you:
- Establish a daily routine, with blocks of time set aside for school work and plenty of breaks too.
- Use a to-do list or planner to help keep track of tasks – it’s hard to stay organised, so use tools to help. Office 365 has an easy-to-use to-do list app and also a powerful planner app).
- Keep in touch with your teachers – let them know when you have completed tasks, or if you need help.
If you need to share a device for your learning, see this page to help with this.
The school has a wonderful team of counsellors who can support students through any issues that arise during periods of lockdown. See the Well-Being and Guidance page, where you will find emails and an online form to contact the counsellors, and links to other support services.
The Ministry of Education has these guidelines to support families during periods of lockdown:
- Guidance for Parents and Caregivers for Helping Children and Young People while they are Learning at Home
Staying in Touch with Your Teachers
Our teachers will endeavour to provide the best possible distance learning experience, however there will inevitably be limitations to the level of individual help that can be offered. Please be patient and kind. This is a difficult situation for all of us; teachers will do their very best to reply as promptly as possible.
Your teachers will message you regularly via Teams and/or other learning platforms. You should use the same platforms to get in touch with your teachers if you need to:
- Post messages to a class Team message board if it is of a general nature (e.g. getting clarification about a task), just as you might ask a question in class.
- Use the Team chat function to message a teacher directly if you prefer (no-one else in your class will see these messages).
Teachers may also make use of video-conferencing so that you can ‘meet’ face-to-face. Your teacher will let you know when these events will happen so that you can be ready at home (we understand that you may be sharing a device with other students in your household, so these events will be fairly infrequent).
If students are invited to a meeting, it is recommended they attend. However, if a student is unable to attend, they should inform their teacher.
Behaviour and language expectations are the same as if the students were at school. Students who fall short of these expectations may be removed from the meeting.
- Ensure the location and background are appropriate for school interactions. Choose somewhere quiet and use headphones / headset, if available.
- All students participating in video calls must be appropriately dressed, however, school uniform is not required.
- The camera should always be on, but microphones should be muted when not speaking to minimize background noise.
Deadlines and Assessments
Most online-learning tasks will be brief and straightforward although longer projects may be set depending on the subject and year level. A calendar to keep track of due dates may be useful.
Teachers have been advised against undertaking assessments via online distance learning while we seek advice and guidance from NZQA.
Updates regarding NCEA Assessments will be shared as they come to hand. You can also check the NZQA COVID-19 Secondary School Page.
Online Learning Websites
There are a huge range of online learning resources that you can make use of to support your learning. Here are a few:
- Learning from Home and Kauwhata Reo – Provided by The Ministry of Education with resources for parents and whānau, teachers and leaders to support learning at home.
- Study IT – NCEA help from real students and teachers in Maths, English, and Science.
- BBC Bitesize – Revision site aimed at students with the KS3 section being suitable for Juniors and the GCSE section for Seniors / NCEA.
- BBC Teach – Great collection of short videos (usually from BBC TV shows), to support a huge range of subject areas and learning levels.
- Alison – Huge number of online courses in a wide range of subjects: IT, Health, Languages, Humanities, Business, Maths, etc.
- Khan Academy – Masses of great lessons in many subject areas, most supported by short, explanatory videos with tasks and activities to reinforce learning.
- eTV – Login with your school email and you have access to a large catalogue of NZ broadcast TV shows, organised in catalogues for different learning areas.
While teens are learning from home, they are away from the online safety and security services provided by Network for Learning (N4L) at school. So together with N4L and Netsafe, the Ministry have launched Switch on Safety, a free way to block the worst of the web for students and teachers.
Netsafe provides comprehensive support and information to support everyone to stay safe as they work, learn and play online. Netsafe has resources for parents, whānau and students.