It is an extraordinary time to be a student. As the school suspension continues until after Spring Break at the earliest, teachers, students, and parents have adapted their daily routines to accommodate home learning activities. Stamford American School Hong Kong, a leader in educational technology, particularly in the innovative STEMinn Program, has risen to the current challenge. Through online learning, the school continues to deliver high-quality teaching and learning under the guidance of experienced specialists.
But what is it like to be a student learning online at home? Krishay, a Grade 7 student at Stamford, shares his experience.
My Daily Routine
During the online learning time, I wake up at 7:30 am as my first class starts at 8:00 am. I get all of my schoolwork ready, like my learning materials and computer. I check what activities I have that day, and I write them down, which helps to remind me of what I need to do during the day, and I check it after each class.
It’s then time to join the class at 8:00 am. At Stamford, we follow our usual school timetable, which is a little different each day – on Monday and Tuesday my first lesson is humanities, on Wednesday I have PE, Thursday, music and on Friday, my first class is English. Instead of moving to different classrooms for my lessons, I am connecting to different Google Meet sessions.
The teacher plans lessons for us, and they share their screen so we can see what is happening. For example, in humanities, we need to take notes as my teacher shares information using Google Slides. It’s just like when they teach us in the classroom, and we are looking at the Promethean Board. For other subjects, like English, my teacher explains the activities and will ask us questions. In math, Ms. Tong makes sure we are all joining in by calling on us to answer questions. We might have a 15-minute discussion in our live lesson, and then we work on the activities. We can leave the call when the activities start, but the teacher will stay online for the whole lesson. If we have any questions, we can connect again with them to ask. We also have activities and videos to do later for homework.
If I have any questions, I usually email the teachers, or if it is during class time, I type it into the chatbox, and my teachers reply quickly. They also give me feedback in Google Classroom through private comments. They will let me know if I have done the activity well or if I need to make some improvements. I can keep working then.
How I learn
Google Meet and Google Classroom are the main applications I use, but sometimes there are others. We had a music activity using GarageBand. We were learning about Jamaican Rhythms and had to remix a song using the application. It was the first time I had used this, and I worked out how to navigate the options and try everything out, which took some time.
The most memorable activity I have done during online learning was in STEMinn. We had to make a glider that would carry an egg across the room without breaking. It was really fun. I used cardboard, tape, and glue for the glider and I made a little compartment for the egg. The challenge was balancing the weight of the egg when it was on the glider. At home, we have been making and testing our gliders, and later we will do the egg challenge. Mr. Benson, my STEMinn teacher, made some videos to show us how to get started and give us some advice. We sent a video of us throwing our glider three times and one of the times had to be successful – thankfully mine was successful two out of three times! We got to watch everyone else’s videos and let them know what they did well and how they might improve their design. My friend’s design was excellent, it balanced and glided well. It is nice to see my classmates in online classes and share with them.
My learning space
I work at my desk in my bedroom but sometimes I sit on my bed to do school work; it just depends on how I am feeling. I like being able to choose whether to sit or lie down; this is something I like about online learning! I always keep the paper plan for my daily activities next to me. I do this every day, so I don’t forget. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed and I find it distracting to work at home. It is distracting that I have my phone close by. I want to check the messages all the time, so I put it outside my room, so I don’t hear it!
Taking a break
We usually have a snack break from 9:15-9:35 am, and then lunch, from 11:45 – 12:35. I like to talk with my friends on the phone during these times. My Mum is home with me too if I need help or want to chat. I take breaks during the day to get up and walk around or play with my dog before I get back to schoolwork. The other day my dog was beside me while I was working and he just came onto my computer and sat down! I don’t know why he did it, but he was comfortable. I also like to go outside for a walk. After school, when I have finished all of my work, I talk with my friends and play video games online with them.
When we first started online learning, I didn’t know how to handle all of this. It was all really tough and everyone was confused. These days it’s not confusing any more as we know exactly what to do.
When school goes back, I am looking forward to meeting my friends again. I miss talking to them at school, but it is okay, usually, as I speak with them at break time on the phone. Every weekend I meet up with friends as well. I like interacting more face to face; it’s more fun to talk to people in real life. My teachers are working hard to give us our school work, and I am thankful for that.