Remote learning experiences | Learning from young people with Janice Richardson

Summary Transcript

How has remote schooling during coronavirus lockdowns transformed learning experiences?

How can schools do better? What role for private companies?

We wanted to hear from young people themselves how they experienced remote learning, and what suggestions they have for us. Janice Richardson, founder of education expert network Insight, talks to Philippine, a young student who has been remote schooling for the past months.

Find out more on Huawei’s mobile classroom teaching school children about online learning:

https://huawei.eu/what-we-do/smartbus

JANICE

Good morning, Philippine! I know that you've been doing remote schooling for the past months. In fact, you're not back at school yet. What's your experience been like?

STUDENT

Hello Janice!

Well, it's very weird not being at school. My schedule has completely changed. I wake up later. I don't study as much. I don't have the same classes. It's a completely different experience and I never thought that I would have lived it. But it's really interesting to have gone through this because I've learned a different way of studying that I would have never learned how to do otherwise.

JANICE

Do you think you've learned more or less through remote schooling?

STUDENT

Probably less because I have less classes. But I have a lot more homework, which is probably the main difference I've noticed. I have maybe around one hour a day of online learning and then maybe three and a half hours of homework. So, it's completely different… but it's okay.

JANICE

What sort of tools have you been using for your remote schooling? Can you think of ways these could be much better?

STUDENT

At school we have been using something like Zoom, except that we don't use our cameras so it's kind of awkward when you speak, because I feel like I'm speaking to a screen. So, it's very very odd, but I actually quite like the website. I just wish that, well, our teachers would make it more interactive for us. I think it would be easier if teachers had one site where they could put our homework, our online lessons, our exercises from our textbook, just because our teachers have been using five different websites to connect us. So it's been very complicated and confusing.

JANICE

If you could give advice to your teachers on how they should upgrade their knowledge, their tools and maybe also to companies on how they could help: what would that advice be?

STUDENT

I think all teachers should try to give their students questions from the textbook, so it's more interactive so they can answer them. And then I think the companies well … should maybe try to make a website that really… that's all in, that has everything, just to make it easier for the teachers to use but also for the students.

JANICE

I know that you use technology a lot and we know that remote schooling is going to be around for some time. Imagine the ideal school system.

STUDENT

I actually quite like online learning, so probably online learning. But like I said before, with a website that has everything included so that I don't have to worry about using five different websites or getting my emails… well I think that it would be a website where there's everything: my homework, my textbooks, my online lessons.

JANICE

How do you socialise with your peers?

STUDENT

Well, we usually socialise on Instagram. We call each other. I call some of my friends every day to catch up and things like that. And sometimes we see each other outside.

JANICE

And are you missing talking to your peers in class, helping each other, discussing the lesson?

STUDENT

It’s very weird being behind the screen because I feel very alone in this experience. At least when I was at school, I felt like I was going through it with other people – so we could talk about it. But it is kind of complicated by yourself because when I don't understand I thought like I can go talk to a friend and ask them to explain. So, I do think it's a little difficult sometimes… but it's okay.

JANICE

And which of your friends do you think is succeeding the best with remote learning and which ones are really having the difficulty? Are there any sort of criteria that we can see that from?

STUDENT

Yes, so some of my friends have their own laptops, their own computers, their own tablets – so they can use that. So it's very easy for them to come to class, especially if they have Wi-Fi. But other people in my class haven't been able to come to any of the classes because they have to share laptops with their entire family and also they don't have Wi-Fi or the proper tools. It's actually very complicated for them to come to class.

JANICE

So what do you think are the necessary tools for a student to successfully carry on remote learning?

STUDENT

I think that it would be very good if schools gave tablets to the younger children, maybe middle school and primary school; because especially when they're younger, most times parents don't give them an iPad or a phone to use. So I think that would be good idea for the younger ones. I think for the older students, like teenagers, it'll be very good to have laptops that the school would give for a year. If coronavirus ever happens again, everyone will be prepared and have the proper tools.

JANICE

And what sort of training do you think your teachers need to be able to carry on with remote schooling?

STUDENT

I think that since it happened so last-minute, our teachers weren't prepared whatsoever. So I think it would have been good if the school would have organised something to tell the teachers how to use the platforms, and how to organise their classes, and you know give them tips on it – which I don't think that they did.

JANICE

And do you think it would be helpful if the industry, if these platform operators went into schools and worked with the teachers?

STUDENT

Yes, I think that it would be a very good idea, because usually at my school, personally, our teachers don't know how to use technology. But we don't really have a tech person, so having someone from a tech company come and explain… it would really help answer their questions and explain to them how to properly use a service.

JANICE

We were talking yesterday about the resources that you use because we noticed that the great majority of young people in Germany use YouTube and Wikipedia. What are the main resources that you've been using?

STUDENT

So I have been using Wikipedia as well. I think I've also been using the TV. Sometimes our teachers tell us, ‘oh look at the documentary tonight on’ I don't know ‘the second world war’. So I think that I've been using… well, the TV to my advantage.

JANICE

Do you have a word of wisdom for industry? What do you want from industry?

STUDENT

To keep the user safe. Probably create a platform that's really easy to use for its users.

JANICE

What is safety? What does it involve?

STUDENT

I think that, well, safety kind of involves everything. I think it involves the people that are on the platform – so the other people that you're discussing with. But also what the companies do to protect their users. For example, if I get a message from someone that I don't know with inappropriate content, how do I block them? What are companies doing to keep us safe?

JANICE

We know that there are some young people, in fact almost 30% of young people, who don't have their own tools for remote learning. What do you think industry can do? What can everyone do about this? And do you think the problem was resolved by the end of this very difficult three months?

STUDENT

I think it really depends on the person, because for some people in my class, their parents bought them laptops, and then some people weren't able to buy their own laptops. So I think it would be very good if the school could create maybe a budget on technology so that they could have computers, and just to be up to date with new technology.

JANICE

What sort of social problems do you think your friends suffered? What sort of social problems did you suffer during this period?

STUDENT

I think when I go back to school it is going to be very weird talking to people face-to-face and interacting with them because I haven't been doing that for the past three months. So I think that's probably going to be the biggest difficulty. No one's going to be used to actually seeing people in real life because everyone's been seeing other people through screens. So I think it will be very weird and everyone will be a little socially awkward because no one will know how to react when they actually see each other.

JANICE

Is there anything we can do to help this?

STUDENT

I don't know. But I think it would be good if people could see each other outside of school. For example, we're going to go back to school next week. Every day is going back to normal, except that we're not supposed to see each other out of school, which makes it kind of awkward, but they're doing it to keep us safe… so I understand. But it's a little frustrating because at school we only talk about homework. But I think it'd be very good if we were able to just see people sometimes, and just to interact with people that aren’t just our family, but with other people.

JANICE

So perhaps that's a message also for the platform: make it much easier to see each other in class.

Philippine… innovation! What ideas do you have? How can industry come in and really help learning be better, be more fruitful for everyone?

STUDENT

I think, something to add with the perfect kind of app would also be to have the Internet inside of it, for example, to have a search engine, to have Wikipedia – so that everything is together. I really think that's my top thing. I think it's very important that we have a good website, a good base, so everyone can use it and so everyone can grow.

Speaker