OUR PROJECT HELD VIRTUALLY
Our project originated during our online learning school days. We were especially motivated to start this project because the nature of online school has left children with fewer opportunities to engage in and experience learning as when we were their same age prior to the pandemic. One of our early goals was to recruit volunteers to help us with curating learning materials and leading the sessions. Recruiting volunteers proved to be especially challenging due to the uncertainty surrounding activities being postponed. A large part of starting the project was informing primary students of the project. We attempted various methods to promote our project to volunteers and students. These included posting on social media, building a website, and making an announcement on our school’s virtual bulletin and assemblies. Eventually, our efforts to reach out resulted in 30 volunteers and 60 students.
Initially, we began with online sessions on Monday afternoons through zoom. It was extremely challenging to maintain students’ attention in online sessions. We prepared interactive activities such as pop quizzes to ensure students could actively participate. Regarding our preparation, thanks to technological advances, we have been able to utilize planning software, such as Google Drive, to delegate work through ‘meeting minutes’.
TRANSITIONING FROM VIRTUAL TO OFFLINE
Following the lift of COVID-19 restrictions in Hong Kong, we have been able to move our online lessons to offline lessons allowing them to be more engaging. This was another great challenge for us. The primary and secondary section follow different schedules and have distinct policies. We had to contact primary and secondary school activity coordinators in order to figure out how after school activities were going to run. We ran into difficulties such as not being able to successfully contact the primary school activity coordinator due to hectic schedules on both sides. Regardless, we were able to hold our first English Bee offline session the second week after we got back to school by enquiring with the guidance of other primary teachers.