WHILE all schools and colleges in the country are closed, students from Portlaoise College are continuing with their lessons.
This has been facilitated because over the last number of years, the school has developed an eLearning platform in co-operation with the students and their parents.
Eight years ago, the college was the first school in Laois to introduce electronic devices to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. Over that period there has been a huge investment from both parents and the school in the platform.
Since 2012, the teachers have built up a vast library of electronic resources to enhance teaching and learning, which ensures that student engagement can take place outside of the classroom.
Since the school closures, teachers at Portlaoise College have distributed classwork for all of their students through the Google Classroom platform, with the students working through this portal and engaging with their teachers on a daily basis.
The parents in turn are checking in with their children to ensure the classwork is being completed, which helps to maintain a structure to the day.
This combined effort is supporting the continued education of the students, which is hoped will minimise any possible disruption and maximise available teaching and learning opportunities.
As well as continuing teaching, school management is keeping in regular contact with parents, with updated information as it arises. Patrick Hamm, home school liaison officer at Portlaoise College, is available to any parent who needs assistance with the online learning platform. The school is also distributing a weekly newsletter to parents outlining educational resources and supports that they might find helpful.
To ensure the students are knuckling down to their task, the college has also asked if parents would like to send in photos of their young charges while they are studying.