1 May, 2020.
YEAR 12 Courtney McCrostie is on a vocational pathway at St Norbert College, studying a Certificate III in Music Industry and Drama. For the time being, Courtney is continuing her studies from home. Here, she reveals what she is enjoying and finds challenging about remote learning.
“At first remote learning was very daunting, however with the guidance and support from our teachers, parents and fellow peers the transition has taken place with minimal difficulties,” she says. “The online platform “Teams” is easy to use. I really like that we can voice call with our teachers like we would in a normal class setting.
“When technical difficulties arise, they are addressed relatively quickly. It has been great to be able to give input and suggestions to our teachers about things that can benefit us and make the transition easier. We take for granted the ability to be in a physical schooling environment.”
What are you enjoying most and what are the biggest challenges?
- The independence that allows us to work at our own pace
- Learning how to adapt to a changing environment. Especially where our world is changing and becoming more digital, it’s good to develop these skills.
- Not having to get up at 6.30am, so I’m getting more sleep!
- I love being able to still talk and interact in classes. For example, teachers ask a question to the class, we are then able to turn our mics on and still participate and answer the questions.
And the challenges?
- Not being with my friends (even though we still keep connected). I’m a really social person so I miss not being able to interact with everyone. Even the little things like saying ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’ when you walk past someone.
- Time management skills. I’m not too bad with managing time however I have once been caught up making a hot chocolate during recess then doing a mad dash back for Period 3.
- Assessments having to be moved or changed.
- Technical difficulties, such as some live videos/audio sometimes dropping out
- Cancellation of events (Kairos, Cross Country Carnival – though that is going online)
- More distractions at home. For example sometimes it’s hard if I’m sitting in one of my virtual classes studying when I could really be dancing etc.
How are you adapting your music studies?
It has been a very different experience with the online learning in terms of the performing arts. Obviously it’s much harder to do cert band rehearsals as the lag (lip sync) would be crazy. Trying to get five or six people to stay in sync with lag is not really an option. So it’s been a great opportunity for us to develop our own skills. As I’ve recently just started learning piano (as well as vocals and guitar), remote earning has been great to get that extra practice in. The time I’d normally be sitting on the bus, I can now sit and practice or rehearse.
I really miss all the co-curricular activities that we can normally do at school, I miss the family-like atmosphere that we are normally exposed to throughout the day in the performing arts classes (or even just in the centre). There’s always people popping in saying hello, and let’s face it, it’s where most of my good friends are.
In Term 2 our virtual instrumental lessons will start up, so we will get one-on-one tuition again. School continues to give us opportunities to develop, especially in the performing arts. For example “Drama Online” has been offered to us. Although new to us, we have already watched a few productions (which I have really enjoyed so far). These are brought to us by National Theatre Live. I’m mostly just taking this time to focus on both my studies and develop my piano playing skills.
- Exciting announcement: As of Monday, 4 May, St Norbert College music students will be able to resume band practice in our Xanten Performing Arts Centre!