No kidding around: virtual teaching the new frontier

Working with kids and technology is not always child's play, but one University of Southern Queensland lecturer has combined the two to ensure students have a positive learning experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

With distance learning still in place, Early Childhood Education senior lecturer Dr Alice Brown has started live-streaming some classes from an early learning centre.

Dr Brown said in the past, students would have had the opportunity to visit a centre for hands-on learning, but weren't allowed this year due to COVID-19 regulations.

"The active play course focuses on the importance of supporting children's physical activity, fundamental movement skills, health and wellbeing, and combines the theory students learn in class with practical application in early learning settings," she said.

"Unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant students have missed out on the chance of going to a centre this semester, but I wanted to make sure they would still able to have the next best thing.

"This required a little bit of thinking outside the box and thinking about technology and teaching differently."

For the past three weeks, Dr Brown has been hosting a virtual class at Guardian Childcare and Education in Springfield.

Followed around by a tablet, she moves from one activity to another, teaching and demonstrating important concepts of children's physical and skill development while her students interact via the live stream video.

"I do everything from baby massages and tummy time play with infants, water play and chasing down bubbles with toddlers, to parachute and balloon play with three year olds," Dr Brown said.

"This immersive, fly on the wall look at how young children communicate, learn and engage in play in an early learning environment provides a new opportunity for the students to gain valuable insight into how to plan and support physical activity and key movement skills with young children."

Dr Brown said although the University was a leader in high quality online education, teaching staff were constantly looking to adopt innovative ways of using online platforms to engage with students.

"We're very fortunate we have extremely good infrastructure and facilities at the University, and this is just one example of the great lengths USQ's academics are embracing to bring contemporary, cutting-edge teaching into online learning," she said.

QTAC applications for 2021 are now open. For more information about studying Early Childhood Education at USQ or other degrees, visit www.usq.edu.au/study



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