In these unprecedented times of school closures, there has never been a greater need for education technology. Teachers – and parents – are finding themselves in an entirely new teaching situation. So how can we navigate this new way of teaching?
Many schools and colleges throughout the UK already use some form of edtech for learning outside of the classroom but even where this is the case, teaching using these edtech tools brings a new set of challenges. Clevertouch has a range of teaching tools and apps that we are very proud of, but we know that in these testing times, all edtech tools have their value. And, at a time where community spirit is ever important, we have collated some top tips for using edtech at home.
- Be patient – for even the most technologically savvy, this is a time of great uncertainty. Teaching often relies on face to face instruction so there might be some hiccups along the way.
- Keep to a routine but do not overload – some schools (particularly with exam classes) are keeping to normal timetabled hours. Even where this is the case, do not expect to get through the same amount of material as you would with face to face, differentiated instruction. For younger students, it might be more beneficial to teach only in the morning leaving the afternoon free for more exploratory learning such as through projects or playing.
- Choose your teaching platforms – some schools are using online videoing systems such as Zoom to enable a like for like video experience. Some schools have chosen, for potential safeguarding reasons, to use other platforms where the camera can be disabled such as Microsoft Teams. Live talk via programmes such as Google Hangouts can be really useful for real-time collaboration. Screencasting is another popular option for teachers who wish to talk students through a presentation and upload it to a preferred platform for anytime access. Other applications such as Show my Homework remain popular for setting and collecting work.
- Rethink assessment – it is not possible to assess student learning in the usual way. While some teachers are adept to marking online work, this can be a challenge, especially in assessing work of younger students. Consider screencasting whole class directed feedback, model answers and, for older students, providing mark schemes. Quizzes also have huge value. Snowflake, Google Forms and Microsoft Forms are all very useful in this respect. Understanding is checked and assessment is instant, so teachers can prepare their next lesson with clear links to the previous lesson.
- Make use of free online resources – some online learning organisations and universities are providing free of charge resources to facilitate learning for children of all ages. We particularly like Twinkl, Teacher’s Pet and Snowflake for primary aged children and BBC Bitesize and Children’s University of Manchester for secondary aged pupils.
- Make friends with YouTube – there is a wealth of education based content available. We particularly like Science Channel and National Geographic Kids.
- Synchronise learning – if you have spent the morning teaching mathematics, watch BBC Two’s Maths Challenge programme. Learning about the Viking raids? Tune into Horrible Histories on Netflix.
Children are always learning and in these challenging times it might be time to release the rigidity of our normal ways of teaching and learning and embrace flexibility.
We hope some of these tips have been useful to you.
From all of us at Clevertouch stay safe.
Children are always learning and in these challenging times it might be time to release the rigidity of our normal ways of teaching and learning and embrace flexibility.“