From teachers in Croatia delivering video lessons hosted on National TV, to students in Egypt receiving free SIM cards to pursue online learning from their devices*, one thing is certain – education is changing. Schools all over the world are transitioning to online forms of education in order to ensure that students still have access to quality education in these unprecedented times
Worry Number 1:
The Digital Divide
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Ensure you know this information about each one of your students, and bear it in mind when planning.
Don’t rely on live lessons or conferencing as the one source of learning, but use these as an ‘opt-in’ to supplement projects or lessons which students can complete at their own pace. This might include entirely offline projects, the details of which you may need to print and send home for students. Don’t worry – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel here! Educators around the world are going through the same transition, and so there is a wealth of resources accessible online. Check information provided from your Department of Education as they may have provided resources aligned to the relevant curriculum, such as the offline learning scheme from FUSE from the Victoria (Australia) State Government.
Reassure your students, and their families. Let them know what support will be available, and how they should reach out for help if they need it.
Worry Number 2:
More Exposure to the Internet = More Safety Risks
Digital Citizenship and Digital Safety has never been so relevant and important. The internet can be a scary world for children and their parents/caregivers, if not used in the right way. As their teacher, you can help learners to use the internet safely.
- Schedule in teaching digital safety as part of your curriculum. Young people now more than ever need to understand the risks around using the internet and how to mitigate such. Use Digital Citizenship lessons to raise awareness, and to develop learners’ critical thinking skills, compassion and self-awareness
We love Google’s ‘Be Internet Awesome’ initiative. Check it out here. You’ll find The Internet Code of Awesome; a useful mantra for students to follow, as well as to help parents manage digital safety. There’s also an entire ‘Be Internet Awesome’ Curriculum containing great resources such as a template communication to parents/carers, structured lesson and activity plans, and an interactive game whereby students can learn to be safe as they play.
- Seize the opportunity to teach students to use technology in a productive way, and help them see the value in digital skills. With the label ‘Quaranteens’ already flying around the internet, many may worry that our younger generation will lack the stimulation and/or motivation provided by traditional classroom learning. We like to take a glass-half-full-approach and think of the increased exposure to technology as a brilliant opportunity for students to develop essential skills needed for jobs of the future.
Google for Education offers more free stuff to make your life easier with their free Applied Digital Skills Teaching Resources. Find set projects which develop students’ digital literacy. There are also lessons and starter activities for teachers to use, appropriate even if you’ve never taught anything IT related before
Worry Number 3:
Teachers themselves not being ‘tech-savvy’
Share, share, share! Speak to your colleagues, peers and other teachers online to get and give support with online learning
Spend some time investing in your own development. There are tons of online courses, articles, Youtube videos and so on which you can use to improve your own teaching and digital literacy. Check out Coursera and Udemy, both host free and paid accredited courses in a range of disciplines.
Worry Number 4:
Things going wrong
Internet drops, broken hardware, lost log-ins, student disengagement, the cat walking over the laptop mid-class-video-conference… Transitioning to online learning may feel like the epitome of Murphy’s Law.
Be prepared for things to not always go smoothly, and have a back up plan for students to engage in learning which doesn’t require technology, in case they are unable to access any lessons or resources
Use this period as an opportunity to experiment, learn and grow in the process of doing so! Gather feedback from your students and their parents/carers. Did the project you assigned take the expected amount of time, or longer? What method of learning has been the most engaging for your learners? Collaborate with your community, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t quite go to plan… sometimes that’s when the magic happens
Worry Number 5:
At risk students falling further behind
Many educators and caregivers worry that students being removed from the classroom can impact not only their attainment but could also be detrimental to their personal development and wellbeing. School is a safe haven for many of our learners with diverse needs, and the transition from school to home learning could put our disadvantaged children further behind their peers.
EAL students may naturally speak in their mother tongue more often at home, and as a result their English Language development may naturally decelerate. Students with Autism or other students who crave routine and familiarity may struggle with learning in a different environment. Students with gaps in learning in core subjects may struggle with retention more so than when in class. All of our students, like all of us, will have a forced change in their levels of interaction with friends, family and other important people from their daily lives, from the bus driver to the playground supervisor. The good news is, social distancing (or, more aptly, physical distancing) doesn’t have to mean a lack of social interaction.
Take time to check in with your students and make yourself available for students and parents/carers to speak to you when needed. You could organise ‘drop-in’ video conferences for a set 30 mins per day, whereby any student can join by open invitation, to ask any questions or just to have a chat.
Smaller virtual group sessions may help your students with special needs or a fortnightly phone call with individuals could be of great value to your student and their parent/carer
Let us help.
Making an investment in one-to-one tuition can ensure that your at risk students remain engaged and supported in mathematics during these unprecedented times.
Our tutors have a wealth of experience of delivering online maths intervention and our Learning Plans can be tailored to meet individual needs of students. You may even want to have your whole class engage in sessions, to free up some of your own time.
Get in touch with us to discuss how best MathsClub can support you to support your learners