Were we ready? New Zealand high school students' experiences of online learning during school closures of Covid-19, 2020





Covid-19, school, crisis planning, online learning, digital


The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 resulted in New Zealand schools closing and teaching moving to online. This paper reports research which investigated senior high school students experience of learning from home during these school closures and anything about the experience that they would like continued in the future. High school students in their final two years of schooling (n=1975) responded to a questionnaire consisting of quantitative and qualitative questions with qualitative data analysed thematically and quantitative data with descriptive statistics. Findings revealed that a variety of learning activities, feedback on learning, positive social interactions and effective use of technology supported students. A lack of motivation and daily structure were the major hinderances. The key experience they would like continued was greater flexibility in their learning. Schools demonstrated varying degrees of readiness for the crisis, but findings showed the need for resilience plans which include policies and practices for student and teacher digital readiness in preparation for future crises which result in emergency online learning.


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Author Biographies

Anne Yates, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Anne Yates taught in high schools prior to becoming a tertiary educator and researcher. Anne has long-standing interest and expertise in teaching and researching open, distance and online learning. Her current research focuses on digital technologies in education and the impact of initial teacher education on student teacher digital readiness for the classroom.

Louise Starkey, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Louise Starkey gained experience as a classroom teacher, curriculum leader and senior manager in a range of New Zealand secondary schools prior to following a passion to research education in a digital age. She researches in complexity theory, educational policy, and practice associated with teaching and learning in the digital age.


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