06 Oct Distance learning the Woodstock way
Like schools around the world, Woodstock has been thrust into a distance learning scenario during the COVID-19 pandemic. In organizing for online learning, we have sought to take our students’ most important needs into account: the need for structure during a time when much of what was “normal” has been upended; the need for social-emotional wellbeing and pastoral support; and the need to engage in the relationships and community that are at the heart of the Woodstock experience.
At the same time, we have sought to continuously challenge our students, using a variety of educational technologies and best practices in online learning. We are mindful of the ways that we can guide our students into an independence appropriate for their age and development; help them establish organizational skills to keep pace with their online coursework; and support them as they internalize a sense of accountability that will foster leadership and maturity.
Through distance learning, we have set our sights on helping our students become proficient in the skills required in the digital age - skills that will benefit them throughout college, career, and citizenship.
Woodstock is paying special attention to the ways that we can maintain a strong sense of community in online spaces. In addition to the relationships created within classes, students participate in “Facetime” online group meetings each morning, rotating between school-wide chapels and assemblies, homeroom (year-level) gatherings, and smaller advisor group meetings. Students and parents are invited as a family to attend a regularly scheduled online session called “Decoding Distance Learning,” where questions can be answered and up-to-date information can be shared. Teachers meet together weekly to celebrate successes, discuss challenges, and share tips for teaching in the digital context.
Through distance learning, we have set our sights on helping our students become proficient in the skills required in the digital age – skills that will benefit them throughout college, career, and citizenship. The best hope of our distance learning programme is to create lasting advancements to our teaching and learning practices, elevating education at Woodstock and eliciting greatness from our students and ourselves.
Jamie Williams, Distance Learning Leader