I’ve written and rewritten today’s blog a few times – each time with a new idea of what would be interesting for me to tell you… but there was something not right each time and I kept coming back to this idea ‘ Back to the future didn’t prepare me for this’
2020 started out as an amazing year, we all expected this to be ‘our year’- you know, the year where we achieved everything we wanted to… and then in March Covid-19 struck and all of our plans went out of the window… we haven’t invented teleportation or flying cars BUT we have progressed and fast-forwarded education in a way nobody expected.
The concept of a traditional school, for most people, was a building where you went to suffer through mundane tasks for 7 hours out of your day so that you could spend 30 minutes with your friends – and now, well, school is at your dining room table, on your patio, or on cold days in bed. This is something that only homeschoolers (thank you Clonard) had experienced before – and now the whole world had to learn to adapt to this way of life.
I am using the word adapt here – specifically – because it was a sink or swim situation, and because the learners who joined us during the pandemic have learned to swim beautifully.
Our own, seasoned, learners simply continued to excel.
We at Clonard, have also grown, changed, and excelled. We used the opportunity to grow our online arm. Originally all our learners bought printed packages, and these were couriered to them, we then moved on to stunning PDF copies. This digital curriculum saved our parents and learners from coming into contact with couriers because they had everything on their computers and then we started upgrading our offering again and introducing a completely digital Learner Management System which would allow our learners to access and submit all of their work online.
Our fearless leader (our very own Doc Brown) has however decided that this is not enough – we are not creating a dropbox we are creating a system – learners and parents will have access to videos, teachers, and be able to pull up their grades as soon as a submission is marked. We want to give parents and learners, even more, control over their learning pathways.
Distance and online education offer a way of life that you will never find in a traditional school – it teaches you to be independent, self-reliant, and self-disciplined in a way students never have to be when they have teachers asking for work and reminding them to submit work. Distance education never creates black holes that steal creativity – in fact for the procrastinators among us it builds spaces for creativity to thrive.
So, Marty McFly and Doc did not teach anyone how to survive a pandemic, but Clonard is teaching our learners how to navigate a future where they may not have offices, boardrooms, secretaries, or HR departments because we are teaching them how to manage their on-time, plan ahead, and to progress even when the world around them seems to have come to a standstill.
By Rochelle Roberts
Head of Academics