SPARK student on online learning

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would go into a national lockdown in March 2020, schools across the country had to develop ways to ensure that learning continued.

To ensure that learning wasn’t interrupted SPARK Schools introduced their first-ever home learning portal. The portal consisted of online and printable learning resources for students.

SPARK Schools’ learners had to adapt to an entirely new way of learning. They went from learning in a classroom to learning at home.

READ MORE: How teachers can build trust with students 

This was not without challenges. Some of the issues that schools had to grapple with were an unstable power supply, which meant that some students could not participate in online classes due to load shedding.

Other challenges included data costs and internet connectivity. Parents and teachers also had to work together to ensure that students completed their daily tasks, assignments and assessments.

READ MORE: How to make remote learning work for you

Adapting to home learning was a challenge for many parents, especially those who worked from home. They had to find a balance between work and helping their children with their school work.

READ MORE: How to make remote learning work for you 

However, despite these challenges, SPARK Scholars could use various learning resources to ensure that their learning wasn’t interrupted.

SPARK Randburg High Scholar Joshua Williams.

SPARK Randburg High scholar Joshua Williams chats to us about how he made home learning work for him and shares tips on how other students can make it work for them.

How did you find online learning over the past year?

JW: I found accessing the online learning centre simple and easy to use and follow. The mix of live lessons and online learning content were easy to understand and follow.

What was the most exciting thing about remote learning?

JW: I was most excited by the fact that I could literally walk 2 steps to my classroom. I was also excited to be attending my classrooms in the comfort of my home.

What are some of the challenges you had to overcome?

JW: Sometimes the school would have technical problems and live lessons weren’t available, I would overcome it by looking at the slides that they put up on itslearning, other than that I didn’t encounter any significant problems.

What tips can you give other students to make home learning work?

  • Definitely have a comfy chair and nice workspace.
  • Don’t be around anything distracting.
  • Don’t miss lessons and get left behind.
  • Have a friend you can rely on if you’re stuck on anything.

Joshua’s mother, Samantha, says he is proud of how quickly her son could adapt to online learning.

“I think that he has done very well adjusting. I also feel that he has grown in many ways, he’s been responsible and showed persistence every step of the way. He has found the online classes and lessons much less distracting than onsite learning where he is easily distracted by his classmates,” she says.

With COVID-19 still being part of our lives, SPARK schools continue to offer remote learning for parents who would still prefer to keep their children at home. There four different remote learning offerings to allow parents to choose what works best for them and their child.

Firstly the students are divided into two groups (Group A and Group B) and these are called cohorts, that means that if one group goes to school the other group attends school remotely. This allows SPARK Schools to adhere to safety and health regulations for social distancing.

SPARK  students can choose one of the following options:

  1. Attend in-person on their cohort days and learn remotely online on alternating days
  2. Attend in-person on their cohort days and learn remotely offline through printed home learning packs on alternating days
  3. Attend remotely online every day
  4. Attend remotely offline through printed home learning packs every day

Students who choose in-person options, attend school in cohorts (on alternate days). Scholars have access to our full curriculum, no matter which learning option they choose and they learn 5 days a week in all four offerings.

If you’d like to know more about SPARK Randburg High School, please click here.

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