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Making the most of online learning

Year 12 student, Ashley Rohloff, shares her top online learning tips to help ACG Strathallan pupils make the most of their virtual classrooms. An outstanding scholar and Prefect in the school’s leadership team, Ashley has also highlighted this advice in a video message below.

Ashley Rohloff

Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, I’m Ashley, and I hope that you’re all doing well and have adjusted to this new style of school day. I know that this can be a challenging time for us all, so I have a few tips for you to maximize your learning at home during this lockdown period.

Establishing a routine
Obviously, remote learning has been a very new experience for us all, and it’s really important that we establish and stick to a routine, so that we are able to work at full capacity as we would at school. This will also help make the transition back to school much easier. I find it’s really important to study and attend all my classes in one place – having a designated study area where everything school-related is completed means that you can get properly set up and keep everything in one place.

Allow yourself a set period for relaxation, and make sure that you have a routine sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at around the same time, especially on school days, will make it easier for your brain to function when you are online and learning.

School mindset
As tempting as it is to stay up late, wake up at 8.25am and go to school in your pyjamas, this does not allow you to learn effectively since you will spend the first period waking up properly rather than engaging. A morning routine – having breakfast and getting ready as you usually would for school is important so that you attend your first class ready to focus. And I know it’s really tempting but try not to get into the habit of eating in class as this will make the transition back to school harder, where you are not free to eat anytime. Also, procrastinating at home is really, really easy so it’s important to be conscious of our habits.

Remove distractions
Removing distractions from your study and school area is essential. Your desk during school time should be a no-phone-zone, put it away to make sure that the temptation isn’t there. Remote learning is very much self-directed learning and as challenging as it may be, especially after a long day or week, try not to zone out or start looking at something else on your computer. Treat online classes as you would real classes and ensure that you are giving your full attention.

Staying Connected
Keeping connected with those outside your bubble is vital. Staying in touch will help prevent the feeling of being cooped up, and regularly calling a friend will give you a change from your usual company. Keeping connected also includes your teachers and peers – asking questions or for clarification will help you feel better prepared when we return to school. I also encourage you to turn your camera on during classes to better mimic the ‘classroom’ environment. At the very least, try to say something once in every class. This will ensure that (a) your teacher knows that you are engaged and (b) keeps you alert to avoid zoning out.

Sport – health and fitness
It’s so important that we are all getting outside and stretching out legs – even if fitness has never been your thing, getting outside for a walk or run is critical. We are staring at a computer screen all day, and a lot of us will also be spending much more time on our phones. A change of scene, getting moving and taking some time for yourself is essential. Physical activity stimulates the mind, making learning a lot easier, and it will also help you get a better night’s sleep. Maintaining fitness is essential as it will mean the transition back to normal life and sport is much easier and you’ll be ready to jump back into team trainings. Don’t forget that we will have cross country coming up sometime when we get back to school!

Make the most!
Finally, enjoy! We have a big and busy year ahead so take this time to have a breather, enjoy spending time with your family and don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s important to apply yourself and get your work done but allow yourself to take a break and relax. Remember, if you’re feeling a little behind in any of your subjects, there will be time to fix that when we get back to school, but in the meantime just try and enjoy this current situation for what it is!

Stay safe and hopefully I’ll see you all at school very soon!