VSV helps support Victorian students unable to return from overseas due to pandemic


Virtual School Victoria (VSV) recently ran its first live Chemistry experiment for Year 12 Victorian students who could not attend a laboratory session because they were living abroad and have been unable to return to their host schools in Victoria due to the pandemic. The session was also attended by students with health issues or were living in regional/rural Victoria.

Some international students from China, Vietnam and other counties have been unable to return to their host schools in Victoria due to the pandemic. VSV has been able to support these school-based students by offering a variety of subjects online in addition to their home school program. VSV learning programs include online lessons and livestreamed practical components in addition to course work.

One of these practical components was a recent Chemistry experiment. Chemistry teachers Devika Liyanage and Kiri Harris demonstrated two science experiments for the students; making a simple lead acid cell and a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.

‘The overseas students are unable to do the practical component of the course as they can’t access a laboratory. So we are bringing the laboratory to them!’ enthused Devika.

‘We treat it like a normal laboratory session and start the lesson by explaining safety precautions. We show the students lab coats, glasses, goggles, eye wash and the fume cupboard that they will need to safely do the experiment. We also tell them how to safely dispose of chemicals.’

The experiments are simulated in VSV’s Science laboratory and filmed by experienced and trained VSV staff to ensure the video is high quality and zooms in when required.

Kiri noted that Devika and herself provided in-depth descriptions when the camera couldn’t pick up fine details, like a change in gas or small bubbles.

‘The students take notes and record observations in their log books while we demonstrate and discuss the experiments – just like in a physical school. They appreciated the opportunity to ask questions in a live class,’ said Kiri.

The live streamed session was well-received by students.

Acting Principal, Fiona Webster, who attended the class, said that she is proud of VSV’s role in educating Victorian students living abroad, and rising to the challenges of teaching and learning in the global pandemic.

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