Eltham East Primary School’s students take the initiative with their learning

For Eltham East Primary School Grade 2 Curriculum Leader Angela Lapadula, one of the things she has loved about remote and flexible learning - and would like to encourage more of - has been the connections with families and opportunities for their involvement.

In one learning activity, students were asked to speak to an adult about how money has changed since they were children.

'Some families went into detail with their children and showed them the different coins and notes that they used.'

Photos of the students' findings were then uploaded onto Google Classroom for teachers to see and provide feedback on.

'We are planning on keeping our Google Classroom up and running to allow this ease of communication between parents and the school for sharing things like photos. 

'Another thing I have really liked is the amount of time students have been able to spend on tasks and take them as far as they like.

'As a team, we are considering how we might give our students more opportunities to engage with tasks further to see their creativity and real potential come out. '

Acting Principal Naomi Ivers commented that remote and flexible learning has given students the opportunity to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

'Our biggest learning has been our ability to be willing and able to provide tasks and opportunities for authentic and purposeful student voice and agency' Ms Ivers says.

'Students have had to be a bit more self-directed and demonstrate agency in their learning. The online learning structure meant they had more flexibility in options available to them at home.

'We have had discussions around how that might translate back into the classroom'

Most classes for example had students coming up with fun ways to meet online including bring your pet to school, crazy hair and pyjama days, and sharing jokes.

'A group of students in Year 5 have instigated their own lunch club with online cartooning using their voice and agency to then become the teachers,' Ms Ivers adds.

Remote and flexible learning has also led to different opportunities for collaboration, such as joint writing projects.

Ms Ivers says teachers have noticed they have been able to focus more on student learning without the additional roles and responsibilities of on-site teaching including yard duty and meetings.

Teachers also noticed students were shielded from the distractions of social hierarchy.

The school is conducting a survey of students asking them to reflect on the type of learner they were before remote and flexible learning and what type of learner they want to be when they return to the classroom.

Ms Ivers says teachers and students will implement opportunities for greater student agency initially in the school's Inquiry units and eventually extend that into other subjects, including literacy and numeracy.

The Department of Education and Training is working with students, teachers, principals and families to ensure lessons from remote and flexible learning are being captured and shared.  Access resources from the Learning from Home web site and access the latest advice on the staged return to on-site schooling.

All schools in Victoria have the option to participate in the Department's learning from home student and parent surveys until 26 June. Schools interested in participating in the survey should contact ORIMA Research: