When our prime minister Markus Söder announced that all schools in Bavaria were to close until the 20th April, I was taken aback. At that time, it seemed like a rather crazy decision since such a situation was completely new to all of us.
Little did I know, another surprise was already on its way. Our teachers set up a group on Microsoft Teams to give us assignments for the time being. Online school has been a rather rare sight in Germany until now. I was curious to see how this would work out.
We are only about two weeks into this experiment, but I already noticed quite a few differences to our normal classes:
Firstly, you had the freedom to do the assignments whenever you wanted, you just had to meet the deadline. Sleeping in or eating during “class” wasn’t a
problem anymore. All this freedom came with responsibility as well, though.
There wasn’t a set time to send the assignments in and likewise, we would get the responses from our teachers at various times, too. Without a notebook or a to-do list it would have been impossible to keep an eye on all the deadlines and emails. Staying organized was probably the biggest challenge for me.
Besides that, everyone was available at all times. This might sound great if you have a specific question to ask but other than that, it made it especially hard to separate the school hours from the rest of the day. Because of the arbitrary timing of it all, I found myself constantly checking the messages for new assignments so I could write them down before they got lost in a sea of notifications. Good time management was key to not lose track of things.
For most of our assignments we received exercises to topics we had already dealt with at school. But our teachers also came up with some unique tasks. We worked with different websites like TED or LearningApps on which we could watch videos or play educational mini games. From making our own videos explaining Spanish grammar to watching Modern Family to learn about phrasal verbs and touring a foreign city with StreetView in EDV… Our teachers made sure to experiment. They also worked together to present us a new quiz challenge every day!
Even though our online school experience was anything else but dull, I’m looking forward to returning to normal classes and meeting my teachers and classmates
in school again.