By One Education on 25 Mar 2020
It is important that we help each other out as much as we can, and offer advice and support to those that need it. Working closely with schools, we understand the pressure that school staff are going through and hope to do all we can to assist during what is an unprecedented and worrying time.
We would like to take the time to acknowledge and praise all your efforts and ongoing commitment to your pupils in ensuring that they still receive a good education and the resources in which to aid this.
There have been some questions on how teachers can deliver their classrooms online in an efficient and realistic way. This also includes the infrastructure that schools may need to put into place to facilitate that work to be carried out effectively.
- Microsoft are offering Microsoft Teams for free, to education institutions through the Office 365 A1 offer. They want to help educators stay connected with their students throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. And as many schools and academies are transitioning to e-learning innovations and coming to terms with the possibility of introducing virtual classes to their pupils, Microsoft would like to offer educators with the tools to help this transition during these difficult and uncertain times.
Microsoft Teams can provide teachers with the means to:
• Add selected students,
• Share lessons,
• Create assignments,
• Collaborate virtually in real-time,
• Provide feedback.
There is a lot more information that can be found on their website in helping teachers prepare for these new virtual learning environments through the Microsoft Teams platform.
- Your school may already be using the platform, Zoom. It has been highly known for the use of virtual conferences and online staff meetings. However, it could also be an ideal platform for teachers and students to use as a virtual classroom giving them the ability to participate in online classes. They offer further information and support on their website to help educators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Skype is also another alternative platform that may be useful for your school. Its free plan offers up to 50 people to be involved in one single group chat, as well as allowing users to share files. Find out more about the features on their website.
- Unlike the above suggestions, Google Classroom does not facilitate video calls in its own right, however it’s highly rated as an easy-to-use tool that helps teachers manage pupils’ work. It offers features including uploading and distributing homework, grading and sending feedback and online classroom discussions via messages between teachers and pupils.
Google Classroom also integrates with 1000’s of educator-approved apps (e.g. Classcraft, Pear Deck and Quizizz) that may add a bit of difference and creativity to tasks. Classroom is part of the G Suite for Education and free to get started for your class or school. Find out more, or sign up now, through their website. There are also COVID-19 resources available to read.
Once you have downloaded and installed the right platform for your school, it’s then a matter of how you can each these virtual classrooms effectively and feeling confident in the way you are delivering the material.
- Consistency is key for pupils. Creating a timetable of when the virtual classrooms will take place each week, the higher the pupil attendance will be and it also give teachers the opportunity to forward plan and modify the plan is needed.
- Ensure that your pupils have access to the online learning platform and offer advice and instruction on how to download and install if required. Depending on the age of the child, parents may need contacted directly.
- Send worksheets to pupils in advance if they are required during the virtual lesson. This gives them time to print off or find ways of accessing through a tablet or similar device. Less time is wasted and they are ready to learn when the virtual classroom begins.
You may use one of the platforms suggested above to do this or use a separate online portal where all students can access from one place. This area could also be used for extra study guides and sharing useful online resources.
- Set deadlines for work to be completed by. Allow your pupils ways to contact you if they are struggling with their homework and also to send their work once completed.
Considering online safety
It is important under these current circumstances that we ensure our children and young people are using the internet responsibly and safely.
- Naturally, they will be interacting more online for learning and socialising with friends. Ensure they have someone to speak to or provide them with e-safety or safeguarding links in case something negative does happen online.
- Encourage students to check the reliability and credibility of sources online. There is a lot of fake news out there as we all know, this could enhance any distress or anxiety they are already feeling.
- Provide advice on social media and live streaming.
- Include parents in the conversation about e-safety and offer guidance about parental controls and privacy settings.
We hope that some of these ideas have been helpful and provides some reassurance during this time of isolation. Bare in mind that every school will be different in the ways they teach whilst schools are closed, depending on the needs of their pupils, but that we can all only do the best that we can do.
The important thing is that we are all here for each other for support and guidance, through the shared commitment and belief that every child deserves the best education possible.
Our support will continue through these uncertain times, so please remember that if you need help with anything, do not hesitate to contact us and, across our services, we will try our upmost to assist you and your staff that best that we can.
Contact us online: https://www.oneeducation.co.uk/contact-us
Email us directly: email@example.com
Call us: 0161 276 0160