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Lessons learned from remote education

~ Teaching won’t be the same again, thanks to new technology ~

 

Before March 2020, catching ‘fresher’s flu’ was a right of passage for university students. Fast forward 18 months and students around the world stayed indoors to keep illness at bay. However, the pandemic has taught the education sector an important lesson — the value of selecting the right communication tools. Here, Ginelle Bell, UK country manager at Cloud communications provider Ringover, explains more.

 

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students around the world were forced out of their typical learning settings in 2020, with many participating in lessons online. Globally, education in the 21st century has never seen so much disruption and it has prompted critical conversations about the role of technology in delivering education.

 

Education isn’t the only sector that’s facing an overhaul. Over the course of the pandemic, and for several more years to come, communication technologies have grown increasingly more sophisticated. The UK increased its fibre connections by 50 per cent in 2020, and while its broadband connectivity stills lags behind many other countries, the nation is undergoing massive change. As Openreach switches of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), every business will be communicating differently by 2025.

 

Research by broadband company Zen shows that 17 per cent of large organisations are still unaware of the switch off. Education facilities also risk becoming out of the technology loop, if they don’t learn from the past 28 months.

 

Going remote

Throughout much of 2020 and 2021, educators had no choice but to deliver teaching remotely. However, even though in-person teaching has widely resumed, distance learning could become an increasingly favoured choice, rather than an obligation.

 

Distance learning isn’t a phenomena of today’s society. Back in 1969, The Open University (OU) pioneered the concept by offering students the chance to gain a degree without needing to set foot on campus. It was a radical idea for its time — yet proved highly popular. By the time applications closed for its first year of enrolment, the university had received over 100,000 applications.

 

However, The OU’s popularity has decreased over time with numbers of full-time enrolments slipping over the past decade. But things could be set to shift again. Increased demand for upskilling and reskilling, as well as an emphasis in the attractiveness of online learning spurred on by the pandemic, has caused a surge in OU registrations.

 

Overall, the total number of OU students enrolled for the 2020/21 academic year is up 15 per cent on last year — from just over 141,000 to more than 163,000. While distance learning has seemed like a short term fix to keep people safe, it’s also encouraged a newfound appreciation for the teaching method that could lead to long-term behavioural changes.

Getting prepared

We won’t be saying goodbye to fresher’s flu any time soon. While most forms of education continue in person, education facilities shouldn’t neglect the promise of distance learning.

 

What’s more, the past 18 months has taught every industry to expect the unexpected. Most businesses were not prepared to go remote overnight at the start of the pandemic, and education was no exception. However, having the right tools in place to ensure distance learning can be carried out effectively is the best way to plan for any other unforeseen circumstances.

 

One essential piece of any education facility’s armoury is the right communication tools. In particular, facilities should opt for a Cloud-based solution. Cloud-based platforms provide an easy way for educational institutes to streamline their academic communications and collaborations. They can achieve this by combining real-time voice, video and messaging capabilities with their business applications.

 

Using Cloud-based software that enables Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)  makes it easy for students and teachers to interact collaboratively by using real-time messaging and video. This can effectively improve completing group projects, enhances the way teachers communicate with students and cuts down obstacles in the system of education. Because technologies such as VoIP enable calls through the Internet, rather than a fixed telephone line, it’s far easier for education providers to interact with geographically dispersed students and with less ongoing costs.

 

90 per cent of data breaches are a result of human error, and using the Cloud to manage communication tools and store their associated data can help universities better manage sensitive information.

 

At Ringover, another huge benefit we see for VoIP technologies in education is its scalability. Our own software can be easily scaled to suit the size and needs of any business, whether it requires a complete professional phone system or additions to its existing infrastructure. With collaboration tools such as screen sharing, instant messaging and video conferencing, Ringover’s software can help facilities of any size communicate effectively.

 

After several weeks of getting to know each other, it’s likely many students are battling fresher’s flu right now. However, no matter which education route a person chooses, having access to effective communications tools is crucial. Post-pandemic education won’t look the same as it did previously, and having scalable, streamlined software in place will help any facility to future proof.

Over a quarter of teachers fear further Covid-19 disruption will be the biggest challenge to the Autumn term

  • Addressing the attainment gap arising from Covid-19 disruption (20%) and the mental health of pupils (14%) were also reported as expected challenges – with 1 in 4 teachers concerned that the maths attainment gap will be hardest to close
  • 71% of teacher’s reported their confidence in using edtech has increased – a 7% increase compared to June 2020

 

New research from Renaissance, a leading provider of edtech solutions to improve outcomes and accelerate learning, has revealed that over a quarter of teachers (27%) believe Covid-19 related disruption will be the biggest challenge this Autumn term. The research asked almost five hundred (472) senior school leaders, department heads, and teachers about their thoughts and concerns as the new school term got underway.  

 

Covid-19 disruption such as closures and children isolating were cited as the largest expected challenges. In addition, addressing the attainment gap arising from Covid-19 disruption (20%) and the mental health of pupils (14%) followed as the next biggest expected challenges; as research revealed 73% of teachers believe pupil attainment levels have fallen because of national lockdowns.

 

The maths attainment gap was of particular concern to teachers with 1 in 4 (25%) reporting they felt it would be the hardest gap of all the core skills to close this Autumn term. Teachers identified maths skills such as fractions, decimals and percentages as causing the most difficulty – with over a third of teachers (34%) saying they think these core skills have been most heavily affected by the Covid disruption to date.

 

But there is a silver-lining to the past 18 months as more of teachers (71%) said their confidence in using edtech had increased. This is a 7% uplift compared to earlier on in the pandemic – when in June 2020, 64% of teachers said their confidence had grown. 

 

With such a variety of online tools available, experts at Renaissance are encouraging schools to take advantage of teachers’ improved edtech confidence and expand their digital offering so they can tackle the attainment gap caused by Covid-19 school closures.

 

Renaissance believes that teachers can use curriculum-aligned Focus Skills, made freely available through dedicated Teacher Workbooks, to plan lessons that support pupils in learning year-appropriate skills. When combined with formative assessment, Focus Skills can save teachers time and support them in creating tailored lesson plans, meaning pupils spend more time learning and are given more specific support for their developmental needs.

 

 

John Moore, Director, Renaissance said We know teachers continue to face a wide range of challenges presented by Covid-19 in their classrooms. However there’s an opportunity too to take some real positives from the pandemic – building on the way in which so many teachers have embraced technology and worked tirelessly to upskill. Clearly the attainment gap continues to be a concern. At Renaissance we’re committed to supporting education professionals – building on the great strides in the use of technology and providing teachers with the right tools to identify and address areas of need, providing a roadmap for closing the gap. As we move forward through the pandemic, it’s time teachers were able to focus on what they are really there for – to educate pupils, guide their learning development and plan tailored programmes.”

 

Michael Tidd, Headteacher, Schoolworks Academy Trust said: “Addressing the gaps caused by Covid-19 shouldn’t be about cramming in every single thing pupils ‘missed’. Tools like Focus Skills have helped us hone in on the most critical building blocks they need at each stage in their development. Combined with formative assessment, we’re able to paint a picture of each child’s growth rate and any core areas they’ve missed out on so we can then group children and deliver targeted interventions to catch up”.  

FT poll shows 90% learnt ‘little or nothing’ about finance at school

The Financial Times has launched a new charity endorsed by the former prime minister Gordon Brown, focused on the promotion of financial literacy and inclusion around the world. The FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC) unveiled its strategic plan to boost the financial literacy of young people, women and disadvantaged communities at an event hosted by Roula Khalaf, editor of the Financial Times.

 

The plan will develop educational programmes to tackle financial literacy, initially in the UK and then around the world. It will seek to warn people about potential financial traps as well as empowering them to realise their aspirations. It will also campaign for policy change and clearer product communication by financial companies. 

 

“Improving financial literacy for people that need it most, will empower and build financial resilience amongst communities that have faced growing inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and austerity,” said Aimée Allam, executive director of FT FLIC. “We have now outlined our ambitious goals to improve financial literacy, and our success will be determined by our ability to achieve these goals in an effective and measurable way.”

A survey, commissioned for the Financial Times by Ipsos Mori, reveals shortcomings in financial understanding among four constituencies that have clear gaps relative to the national average: deprived areas, the young, women and ethnic minorities.

 

According to the research, 90% of the 3,194 people polled across England learnt “nothing at all” or “not very much” about finance at school. The research also found that barely half of 3,000 respondents were able to correctly compare the costs of borrowing via credit cards or bank overdrafts, regardless of their wealth, ethnicity or gender.

 

Not only will FT FLIC provide financial educational content for individuals and teachers, it also intends to lobby for education policy to change, in particular pushing for financial literacy to be integrated into school curriculums. FT FLIC will also focus on helping close the financial literacy gap for women and communities marginalised from accessing mainstream finance.

 

FT FLIC will partner with existing charities and other organisations in financial education, and become a hub for the aggregation of the best materials, as well as developing its own content.

 

Patrick Jenkins, the FT’s deputy editor who chairs FT FLIC, said: “According to the World Bank, two in three of the global population, including one in three in the UK, are financially illiterate. If that were true of language literacy it would rightly be regarded as a scandal. Happily getting on for nine in 10 people around the world are now able to read and write. But why is it not regarded as a scandal that financial literacy levels are so low?”

 

Speaking at the launch of FT FLIC Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said: “In surgeries, I came face-to-face with constituents who could not manage their finances or pay their bills, who racked up debts and fell into the hands of money lenders. I saw not only the despair that this brings and the impact it has on physical and mental health but the need for far greater financial literacy. Financial worries have been exacerbated by the pandemic and will certainly worsen when six million families in the UK find their universal credit is cut by £20 a week. I welcome this initiative to create an umbrella foundation that will not only work with current providers at the grass roots level, but it will also seek changes to policy.”

 

The launch of FT FLIC follows 15 years of successful FT seasonal appeals that raised more than £19.5m on behalf of charities and supported many worthy causes.

 

Putting Foundational Maths on an Equal Footing with Reading

Paul Miller, Head of Global Implementation, Whizz Education

 

In October 2019, the World Bank and UNESCO Institute for Statistics proposed a new metric, Learning Poverty, designed to spotlight low levels of learning and track progress toward ensuring that all children acquire foundational skills.  Its technical conceptions of learning poverty have so far been centred on reading comprehension. While mathematics (or, at least, numeracy) is placed alongside reading as a core literacy, it has not yet benefited from the same definition and measurement.

One justification for prioritising foundational literacy is that students have made less progress in reading than in mathematics.  However, an emerging insight from the pandemic is that, counterintuitively, learning loss (defined as the erosion of previously acquired knowledge) is greater in mathematics than in reading.  Studies in contexts as wide-ranging as the US[1] and rural Africa[2] show that not only have students lost more ground in mathematics, the achievement gap between students in different socioeconomic groups has been exacerbated.

Therefore, it is time to place mathematics on an equal footing with reading and embrace both as foundational components of education. Investment targeted at accelerated learning for struggling students should be expanded beyond early grade literacy.

In a global context, we must also consider what learning poverty means in mathematics. The ability to read fluently lends itself to well-defined measures. What equivalents are available for mathematics?  Whizz’s own Maths Age metric, as defined by our virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, is one candidate as a measure of students’ core mathematical knowledge and skills (calibrated to an underlying set of foundational knowledge outcomes aligned to rigorous international standards).  It was, in fact, modelled on the existing ‘Reading Age’ metric and serves much the same purpose of tracking students’ comparative levels of content mastery indexed by age. Other skills, such as problem-solving and reasoning, are equally deserving of our attention but perhaps more challenging to define and measure.

Of course, measurement must never get in the way of good learning and teaching.  However, foundational learning metrics can highlight students’ greatest areas of need.  They can also remind us of the uncomfortable truth that the attainment gap has persisted and grown during the pandemic. This truth belongs to mathematics just as much as it does to reading.  Learning poverty must encompass both to ensure children are equipped with the full range of skills they’ll need to thrive in society.

 

For more information about the virtual Math-Whizz tutor please see:

www.whizz.com

Persona Education releases free version of its Persona Life Skills social-emotional e-learning platform

Innovate UK funded edtech startup makes its social-emotional life skills online learning platform available to as many secondary students, teachers, schools and colleges as possible, to help address gaps in wellbeing and employability resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Image: Persona Education’s web app Persona Life Skills

 

Persona Education, the UK based edtech start-up developing life skills solutions for secondary schools and colleges, has announced free access to its flagship Persona Life Skills personality insights e-learning platform. Teachers can now create a free Persona Life Skills account and use it with any number of students, for any length of time.

Persona Life Skills is the online learning platform on which students aged 13-19 develop social-emotional life skills to boost their wellbeing and employability, with a unique personality insights framework at its heart.

Since its launch in October 2020, 50 schools and colleges have signed up to use the Persona Life Skills platform with over 10,000 students. The online learning software has been adopted by educational institutions in Australia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Spain, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

At the end of a trying academic year for educators in many countries, both teacher and student wellbeing is at a low point. With the free version of Persona Life Skills announced today, Persona Education aims to make a free online tool available to teachers responsible for personal, social & health education (PSHE), relationships & sex education (RSE), social-emotional learning (SEL), life skills and careers, that will enable them to boost their students’ wellbeing and employability.

Persona Life Skills employs an engaging learning journey built around a scientifically proven framework. Wrapped in a metaphor of exploring an archipelago of islands representing different life challenges, and taking guided tours focusing on various life skills, Persona’s pedagogy is rooted in large scale empirical research by behavioural scientists.

The free Persona Life Skills account includes all 44 ‘My Guided Tour’ life skill modules, three ‘Must See Island’ personality insights modules, and three ‘Discovery Island’ life challenge modules. Full access to all modules is available with a paid subscription.

The platform enables educators to develop their pupils’ social-emotional life skills, boosting their wellbeing across three contexts: Social, Learning and Work. The importance of ‘soft’ skills is increasingly recognised by employers. In Persona Life Skills students improve employability, equipping themselves with social-emotional skills for the workplace.

Persona Life Skills also enhances schools and colleges’ PSHE, RSE, SEL and careers education, building wellbeing and employability by developing life skills mapped to Ofsted, Independent Schools Inspectorate, PSHE Association, International Baccalaureate, GL Assessment, Gatsby, VIA Character, Skills Builder and other benchmarks.

More than ever before young people need to develop social-emotional life skills, but schools and colleges face three big problems: 1. other curriculum priorities; 2. lack of specialist teachers; 3. PSHE/SEL teacher workload. With Persona Life Skills any teacher can facilitate the learning, in the classroom or remotely. Ready-made learning modules and built-in teacher guidance, mean less demand for SEL/PSHE specialists and quicker lesson-planning, and students receive instant in-app feedback, so there is no need for teachers to spend time on marking. 

“With this free version of Persona Life Skills we are democratising online social-emotional learning, reaching as many secondary students around the world as possible,” said Pete Read, CEO & Founder of Persona Education.

“Helping students understand themselves and others is key to wellbeing and academic success in school, as well as future employment prospects, and that is exactly what we are doing at Persona Education by making the Persona Life Skills web app free for teachers and their students,” said Dr Leila Walker, Chief Product Officer of Persona Education.

To register for a free account with access for any number of students, visit www.persona-life.com.

Top texts to engage reluctant readers revealed in new teacher insight report

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Wonder and Captain Underpants are the top three books suggested by teachers to engage pupils who are reluctant to read, according to a new insight report published by Laburnum House Educational.

 

Laburnum House, which has supplied heavily discounted books to schools for over 25 years and offers a wide range of titles for primary and secondary, fiction and non-fiction, reached out to its community of Headteachers, subject leaders, literacy co-ordinators, teachers and librarians to learn more about their approaches to the teaching of reading.

 

The follow-on report, Reading for pleasure & reading initiatives, summaries responses from 147 school-based professionals who completed the survey up to and including the end of the spring term in April 2021. It explores issues such as the time given in school to reading for pleasure (and the barriers), the use of schemes such as whole class reading, Accelerated Reader and Tutor Time Reading, as well as books to grab the attention of reluctant readers.

 

Whilst most schools (28%) allocate 15-20 minutes to reading for pleasure in school every day, only 12% give more than 25 minutes. Over half of respondents (53%) say they do not encourage reading for pleasure in the school day as there is not enough time. This suggests that more could be done during class time to generate a love of reading, the report says.

 

The overwhelming majority of respondents (90%) already use Accelerated Reader in their school as a supporting reading initiative. Over two thirds of schools (69%) also undertake whole class reading, or whole class guided reading, but less than half run Tutor Time Reading. Other popular reading initiatives include book clubs, reading buddies and paired reading.

 

The report also includes a link to a list of the Top 40 bestselling titles of 2021 so far, as purchased by schools for their libraries.

 

Laburnum House Educational are specialists in supporting schools running Accelerated Reader. Everything is half price, all Accelerated Reader books are pre-labelled with the quiz details free of charge, and there is free delivery on all orders over £50. School can also build out a full set of resource materials with the provision of dictionaries, thesauruses and atlases.

 

To download the full report go to:

https://images.scholastic.co.uk/assets/a/40/57/laburnum-house-educational-reading-report-summer-2021-2017602.pdf

 

Rising to the reading challenge

After a year of disruption to the education of children (despite the best efforts of teachers), the demands of supporting all children, who may have had very different experiences of learning, remains paramount.  However, the disparity between the informal learning around communication and access to literature children have received, makes this even more challenging.

 

To make things more complicated, National Literacy Trust (NLT) research found children from disadvantaged backgrounds were less likely to be read to – but that just over a third of all children read more in lockdown. All classrooms have a mix of children who are ahead of expectations as well as those who are working towards these and both groups need assessment and support.

 

Establishing a baseline is crucial. A simple assessment is best – one that saves time and is easy to administer. Lexplore Analytics [add link] (used in many schools) does just this and ensures that continued progress can be monitored. Once you know where children are at, they can be supported and challenged as appropriate.

 

Fundamentally, educators must find the ‘spark’ that ignites a love of reading, so that children develop this life-enhancing skill and also their overall learning. A few simple principles will help to create an environment in which children can learn, improve and succeed.

 

Multisensory Learning

 

If learning can be approached by bombarding all of the senses and involving pupils themselves in their learning, this will ensure they enjoy what they do, and the learning is far more likely to be retained. Many educators already have wonderful ways of doing this. A few top tips include using a 

multisensory approach, encouraging children to ‘see it, hear it, feel it, say it’ as they work with phonemes and words.

 

Read to Succeed!

 

Nurturing a love of reading is the key. The material being read is not really the issue; more that children are reading something. This can be anything, from the latest Donaldson or Dahl, to ‘Lego’ instructions, recipes, magazines, comics, online articles and even subtitles on television programmes! Recent research showed turning on the subtitles could double a child’s chances of becoming good at reading.

 

Paired reading with an adult or peer is probably the most effective way of understanding text, particularly for children who think faster than they currently read. It is important to ensure that children choose their own material.

 

Reading is also about listening. The NLT suggests that audiobooks can be helpful with all readers as listening while following the text means they can access more complex material.

 

We hope these ideas, alongside many others educators already have in their toolkit, will help spark the love of reading, giving children access to a vital skill and a lifetime of enjoyment. As one child told the National Literacy Trust: “There’s not really much to do… so I read, and when I do, it makes me feel like I’m in a different place, not stuck inside.”

 

Rachel Gelder and Pamela Hanigan from LDIGS are the authors of the Lexplore Analytics free Recovery Curriculum Guide to Reading. Download the guide at http://bit.ly/LexploreRecoveryReadingGuide

 

Maths Summer Learning Challenge Launched

 

10 June 2021:  Whizz Education, provider of the award-winning virtual tutor Maths-Whizz, has launched an exciting summer learning challenge for all 5–13-year-olds.  This new initiative is open to all schools and parents, designed to encourage students to continue ‘doing’ maths whilst having fun over the six-week summer holiday period (mid-July to the end August).  The aim of the challenge is to ensure measurable learning gains are made, helping students get ‘back on track’ by September and have fun doing so both on screen and outdoors. 

 

Fiona Goddard, Senior Education Consultant explains: “It’s been a hugely stressful year, with teachers facing unprecedented pressure as many students struggle to keep up despite the heroic commitment of staff.  The Summer Learning Challenge is being launched as a response to the extraordinarily difficult circumstances faced over the past 12 months and will support our schools, teachers, and parents keeping children’s maths learning simmering whilst away from the classroom.

 

“Our research shows that when students switch off over the summer, they tend to lose around two-three months’ worth of maths knowledge, known as summer learning loss.  Yet with just one hour per week of focussed individualised Maths-Whizz instruction, they can expect to move their learning forward by around eight-nine weeks over a six-week summer period.  In all gaining a 4-month advantage with just one hour a week; helping to turn learning loss into learning gains.

 

“As a solutions provider accountable for learning outcomes through a holistic approach, we offer a range of services to help pupils achieve learning gains.  Therefore, as part of the Summer Challenge, schools will be supported with three learning initiatives:

 

  1.  Virtual Tutoring: one hour a week of Maths-Whizz for students and a minimum of three Progressions for six weeks during the summer securing learning gains.
  2. Make Maths Stick: a set of recreational outdoor maths activities for children and families. Two activities a week for six weeks.  Yes, it involves sticks. And yes, it’s really fun!
  3. Daily Challenges: brain-busting maths teasers for students, parents and teachers alike.  Five challenges per week for six weeks.  The fun maths teasers get children thinking outside the box. There are ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ options to get them reasoning and problem-solving at their level of understanding.

 

A prize will be awarded to the school that achieves the highest number of Progressions per student, which includes an amazing half-day maths enrichment session in the Autumn, delivered by our experts at Whizz Education, in-person or online.

 

A ‘Golden Ticket’ invitation to an online Maths Extravaganza, an hour of fun-filled maths activities with Dr Junaid Mubeen, Director of Education and Fiona Goddard, will also be awarded to individual students who achieve 60 mins and three or more Progressions over the six-week summer period in each of the six weeks.  Golden Ticket invitations will also be offered to students who receive a shout-out from our marketing team after sharing an interesting Making Maths Stick activity photo or a solution to the Daily Challenges.

Goddard continues: “We understand the summer is an essential time for teachers, parents and students to relax and recharge.  Therefore, this initiative is intended to secure learning and engagement with minimal effort and maximum fun!   With just 60 minutes per week the potential impact on learning gains is significant.”

All activities are fully supported with quality resources including: implementation plan for schools, personalised progress tracker chart with QR codes for easy access to the activities for the students, resource packs, instructional guide, and school and parent webinars all detailing how to participate.

 

Goddard confirms: “We believe that every child deserves a learning experience that caters to their individual needs and pace of learning.  Our expertise lies in designing and overseeing implementations that embrace the unique context of each environment. We work in close partnership with schools and parents, to provide engaging and interactive content pitched at the right learning level, so progression can be a positive experience.  We are now looking forward to collaborating with more schools, parents and students looking to take up the Maths Summer Learning Challenge!”  

To find out more about the Whizz Education. Sign up for the Summer Learning Challenge please see https://www.whizz.com/summer-challenge-signup/    

Investing in a Distance Learning Solution: The Future of Educational Technology

By Nadav Avni, Chief Marketing Officer at Radix Technologies

With vaccination programmes in place and Coronavirus infections rates dropping, economies are reopening, people are going back to work, and students are back to school. Educational technology adopted during the height of the pandemic, helped schools make the transition from in-person schooling to remote learning, but what happens to these investments once the pandemic ends? And how can classroom technology remain flexible no matter the educational setting?

An Educational Technology Overhaul Is Due

Given its importance, many educators believe that remote learning will enjoy the biggest growth in the next three years. Many school systems will focus on addressing the divide between students with access to those without while being inundated with requests and recommendations for equal access to the internet when students are at home.

Educational technology is a means to achieving the goal of providing equal access to education. Given the possibility that COVID-19 will linger a while longer, it makes sense to adopt systems that do not have a singular method. Post-coronavirus, schools should feature learning systems that can accommodate in-person training, remote learning, or a hybrid of both.

After the Pandemic, Hybrid Learning Will Follow Remote Learning

Because of the stay-at-home orders called for by the pandemic, schools undertook large-scale efforts to utilise education technology in support of remote learning. It enabled teachers and students to remain connected regardless of distance.

Now, schools are open and welcoming back students, pandemic or not, remote learning isn’t going away soon. Therefore, having a choice of educational technology modalities is important. Ideally, these systems work pre and post-coronavirus.

Post-COVID, hybrid learning offers the best way to combine in-person classes with online learning. A special set of tools for teachers is required. This includes an intuitive classroom management solution that allows access to learning materials for both in-person and online students. This helps teachers stay in control of their hybrid classes. At the same time, students, whether in-person or online, receive the same degree of attention and access. As such, they won’t feel that the method of learning seems to favour the other group.

Managing the Post-Pandemic Classroom

Unless the pandemic disappears tomorrow, learning methods will be subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation. In times like these, it’s best to have both the school system and the educational technology capable of switching between in-person, remote, or hybrid learning modes in an instant.

The new normal brings new expectations as coronavirus transformed the teaching profession. With the right equipment, teachers can continue with the “over the shoulder” teaching experience even in online and hybrid situations. Sharing learning materials shouldn’t also pose a problem with modern classroom management solutions, as it incorporates popular mobile technology such as screen sharing, file sharing, and whiteboard collaboration. Integrating the communication functions instead of depending on a separate application can also provide additional convenience. Instead of requiring teachers and students to switch between applications, a single all-in-one solution can cover the functions of classroom management, learning management, and video conferencing. Finally, both students and teachers shouldn’t worry about potential breaches of private data. The optimal system should provide robust security measures that secure school and student information and keep them private and confidential.

Heightened Expectations for Education Technology

Hybrid learning offers an advantage of the flexibility needed sorely in a post-COVID scenario. It allows schools and students to continually adjust to any situation without the need to automatically suspend classes. Individual students also benefit from the flexibility of hybrid learning as they can still join classes from home when circumstances prevent them from leaving the house.

At the same time, teachers are expected to leverage modern educational technology to successfully manage different kinds of classes. Securing modern and effective classroom management solutions to help them do so should be a priority programme for educational institutions.

After all, investing in education technology isn’t a cut-and-dried operation. Instead, it should be seen as a continuous process for improvement that benefits the school and improves the students’ learning experience. Treating it as a one-time expense can potentially cause schools to fall behind over time as they deal with outdated software, hardware, and processes. Instead of choosing a singular system, it makes more sense to invest in an option that provides the flexibility and functionality needed for effective classroom management.

Teach Active to launch the UK’s largest active learning day

As part of the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week (19-25th June 2021), Teach Active is set to host the largest active learning day for schools on Wednesday 23rd June.

 

On this day, English and maths lessons in primary schools around the country will be transformed into active lessons where children move around the classroom and have fun while they learn. Activities include setting up multiplication stations, and pupils must run to each station to pick up a multiplication problem card to solve, aiming to complete the whole course in less than 30 minutes. In another lesson, children play at being punctuation police. They march around, noting down punctuation errors written out on cards around the class or playground.

 

Jon Smedley, a former teacher and founder of Teach Active, said: “After a year of so much inactivity, we want to use the day to show that being active is not just about PE and sports but reducing the amount of time we spend sitting down overall.

 

“Any primary school can join in and see the benefits of active learning. It helps children engage with lessons, learn more effectively and improves their overall mental health by having fun with their classmates.”

 

Ali Oliver MBE, chief executive officer at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We’re delighted Teach Active are supporting this year’s National School Sport Week.

 

“Young people have missed out on so much and had their worlds turned upside down by the pandemic. It is brilliant that Teach Active are helping more young people benefit from the important role physical activity has to play in their recovery.”

 

To help teachers prepare, Teach Active will provide 50 free active English and maths lesson plans for pupils from foundation stage through to year 6.

 

All schools who download the lesson plans and pledge to take part on social media with the hashtag #ActiveLearningDay2021 will have the chance to win £100 Decathlon vouchers to spend on school sports equipment. The top prize of a school visit from one of the Youth Sport Trust’s athlete ambassadors will be on offer for the school that posts the best video of their active learning day on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveLearningDay2021.

 

The largest active learning day lesson plans are free to download to all schools here: https://www.teachactive.org/active-learning-day/.

 

Schools can register to take part in the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week by visiting www.youthsporttrust.org/join-us/national-school-sport-week

 

#ActiveLearningDay2021 @TeachActive #NSSW2021 @YouthSportTrust