The current restrictions around social distancing due to the COVID-19 has meant that both teachers and students have had to adjust to teaching and learning remotely.

The sudden change in how we teach and you learn has brought challenges and opportunities for all of us, including the technology itself, lack of or indeed outdated devices at home, restricted or poor quality broadband, increased screen time use, and most of all the lack of face to face daily contact which facilitates active classroom engagement, questioning, clarification, discussion and ongoing feedback.

On the other hand, opportunities exist for teachers and students to engage much more with teaching and learning in the digital context enabling us all to up skill at a faster rate than if we were all still in classrooms together every day. It has facilitated an extensive sharing of resources on the ever growing number of educational companies, publishers and social-networking sites that have made their publications, products, Apps and platforms available free of charge to all during the crisis.

And of course there is the advantage to you students as you become increasingly competent as independent learners which will bring enormous benefits as you move on into senior cycle and into the third-level education and the world of work.

Working technologically can save us time and rob us of it so for those of you in Third Year and Sixth Year who are really trying to focus your attention on preparing for your written papers in June.

The following tips might help:

Plan out your day according to what was put in place by the school. Some schools are conducting classes as per the normal school day on Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams. Others are doing classes at different times or are allocating work on a daily basis. Whatever the case, log in early in the morning, check what work needs to be done and submitted or what classes you have, and make a list.

Factor in breaks just as you would in school.

Stay off social media while engaged in school work online, you will get distracted and it will take twice as long and may fall below your normal standard.

Try not to get overwhelmed by all the resources that are now available. Focus on the advice and recommendations of your teachers and stick to the sites that you would have used before such as www.examinations.ie, www.studyclix.ie, www.scoilnet.ie, or sites specific to your subjects.

The publishers of the exam papers have also granted free access to the papers, marking schemes and sample answers so you will have plenty of high quality content to complement what your teacher has done and is going with you.

Niamh Dwyer is a guidance counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and is PRO of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. careerfocusnow@gmail.com