Our first online Life Lab sessions have been a rich experience.

We connected with students in their kitchens, their lounges, at their dinner tables. We met their cats, helping grown-ups and some teddies. Some were costumed, some wrapped in blankets, some bare foot and each one being themselves in their own familiar environments.

We were pleased to have students attend in high numbers, with many thanks to the support of their grown-ups. Our biggest insight was how engaged the students were (and some parents! i.e. “My Mum and I can’t remember what polarities mean.”).

In a class setting, it is easy to be distracted by a friend or a beetle on a leaf in a tree across the road, or have our learning interrupted because of a need to fidget, talk, or make noise. Online however, once the students have mastered the art of muting and unmuting, they are free to be themselves, move around, and do what they need to do (including patting cats) all without disruptions to their friends’ learning.

Students were engaged, participated willingly, shared with depth, and above all, listened generously. Students could easily remember each other’s super power and many of them were delighted to have been heard by their peers.

Distance learning has its challenges, however, these last weeks, we have seen how it does allow for students to comfortably express their personality and can provide for diverse and individual learning needs.