150 senior secondary students from across WA met up recently at the 2020 ViSN camp, spending valuable time getting to know classmates and teachers who they will only interact with online for the remainder of the year.
CEWA’s ViSN (Virtual Schools Network) initiative began in 2018, and provides the opportunity for students to study courses at their school that couldn’t be offered otherwise, whether due to class sizes, school resourcing, or other factors.
The first ViSN Camp was held in 2019, and the camp is now an important part of the initiative’s success, according to CEWA’s Virtual School Program Manager, Meredith Roe.
“We realised after our first year… that we needed to initiate an opportunity for students to meet in person, so that connection they made online came about more naturally,”
Ms Roe said that after its initial success, the number of students attending the camp was significantly higher than the first year.
“Students (who attend the camp) are able to feel a lot more comfortable with their peers, and with their teacher, so tend to reach out more easily and more readily when they’re back in the online classroom,” she said.
Held for the second time at St Thomas Moore College in Crawley, the ViSN Camp this year featured intensives focusing on course work, a session on developing resiliency, a study skills workshop, and plenty of opportunities to socialise and build connections with peers around shared meals, in free time, and with yoga, parkour, basketball and table tennis.
Isaiah McKenna, a Year 12 student from St Mary’s College in Broome, is studying Biology through ViSN in 2020 and attended the camp.
“For me, the best part about camp is seeing all my old classmates again, getting to reconnect with them after almost a year of not seeing each other,” she said.
“Also getting to meet my teachers, start some of my course work, and meeting new people doing ViSN so we can share our common experiences and help each other out.”
While the camp, and ViSN more broadly, opens up new opportunities for students in regional WA, students from the Perth metropolitan region also enrol.
In 2020, 19 ATAR, VET and university preparation courses will be delivered through ViSN to more than 200 students, enrolled at 23 CEWA schools, with staff and students taking part from as far north as Broome, as far south as Manjimup, and as far east as Kalgoorlie.