A new day-to-day reality at IEGS: Covid-19 and distance learning
IEGS shifted to distance learning, following the recommendations issued by Folkhälsomyndigheten, on March 18th, 2020. In doing so IEGS, like many of Sweden's high schools (gymnasium), komvux and universities, left a historical mark in Swedish education, where we are able to conduct almost all teaching and learning activities online. IEGS continues to strive to provide learning opportunities for our students and to keep the routines for both students and our teachers as normal in this unusual time of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am impressed with how quickly everyone has adapted to their new learning environment. We certainly have come together as a learning community!
After the Easter break, we will again find ourselves facing new and perhaps even greater challenges. At IEGS we will focus on creating long-term strategies for distance learning to ensure that our students are able to continue with their learning for the remainder of the Spring term. This extended time of distance learning may create a new level of stress and anxiety for students and teachers. However, I am confident that our learning community will come together and be the exceptional professional teachers they are, and our students will accept their challenge as learners, learning in this new phase and conditions.
When I come to school each day now, I miss seeing and hearing the voices of our students and teachers – that social learning hub vibe that is part of being a student and teacher at IEGS. I worry that this interaction, of belonging to a school, a house, a year group, a community, is physically missing as we promote distance learning. However, as I follow the online lessons, Instagram, emails, snail mail and other platforms for learning and feedback, I see that our school and learning community spirit is still there. Who would have ever imagined “Googlemeetfika” or coffee breaks, morning and evening yoga sessions with our PE teacher, would be a new way for social interacting? Meeting each other is important, and keeping these everyday contacts is especially important when we are working and learning from home.
When this crisis is a distant memory, I hope that in the long term we will be able to reflect on how we as a school, teachers and students, came together and learnt together. We have been flexible and sustainable with our learning community and I hope that out of these dark times, we will take the positive and continue to develop our capacity as teachers and learners, making better use of digital technology as a way to increase the quality of our education and the learning community at IEGS.