Few would have predicted in February 2020 the radical impact of Covid-19 coronavirus on our children’s education around the world.
Caught out by the swiftness of lockdown and a historically low use of online learning, many schools struggled to adapt, and ongoing provision of the curriculum varied dramatically from school to school and teacher to teacher.
- Using email to send out learning materials and set assignments. This is the nightmare scenario where tracking is impossible. Students send back work in a plethora of emails, mixed and jumbled in the teacher’s inbox.
- Use of video conferencing platforms. Brilliant for that face to face engagement but impractical for extended learning and support. Holding student attention for more than 10 minutes in this sort of live session is difficult, and of course it doesn’t help with management of student work and assignments.
- Directing students to online content portals, with and without built-in assessment. These are often engaging and rich sources of interactive learning but tend to cover only part of the curriculum. Student tracking is variable, sometimes excellent, but difficult to manage, particularly if more than one is used. Overall, these solutions are an important part of an online learning strategy but alone, they don’t facilitate communication, tracking and provision across the curriculum.
- Using Apps that are designed for one or two purposes only. An App that supports rewards and behaviour tracking and parent communication or provides online quizzes for assessment are of limited use in a situation where students are engaged in complexity of learning across a full curriculum with online home learning.
- Use of productivity led solutions, designed for adult use. This requires a great deal of know-how from teachers to organise learning materials and assignments in a way that can be navigated by all students, particularly younger and less able students. This has been a common solution but doesn’t support school structures and hierarchies in a native way. Everything must be built from scratch in a coherent structure that makes sense to everyone and is scalable.
The very worst scenario has been where teachers have been grappling with most, or all, of the above at the same time. Many have been in school, looking after smaller numbers of students while also trying to teach a full curriculum online, juggling multiple logins and trying to communicate effectively with remote students. Students receiving education that is seen to be fragmented and poorly tracked are not incentivised to engage. There’s a temptation to simply ignore the learning on offer. Parents too find it hard to track exactly what their child is expected to do.
Teachers have done an amazing job. They always do. As we contemplate to 2020-2021 academic year, it is time to reflect on the online learning provision of our schools and the support we give our teachers. This period has been an awakening for many. An appreciation of the challenges and rewards involved in maintaining continuity of education for students who cannot be in school.
Our teachers deserve the best support technology can offer. They shouldn’t have to piece together a mixed bag of tools to make it happen. We need to empower them with a comprehensive learning and communication platform to bring their students, teaching groups and parents together in one place. To be able to set work in a simple and straightforward way, track student progress, remotely mark and grade work, with ease, and meet online in secure, live classrooms. If your teachers don’t have this, perhaps it’s time they did.
Nobody knows the extent to which Covid-19 will continue to disrupt education moving forward and we live in the earnest hope that distancing measures and possible future vaccination will allow our young people to benefit from full-time classroom learning, but if not, their online learning provision must not be considered second best. Nor should our teachers and students be expected to struggle with multiple online tools, cobbled together, each with their own logins. Quality online learning provision is possible, managed and orchestrated from a single platform.
Do you want to a solution that offers the answer to all these issues? Experience a fully managed online learning platform, free of charge? We can provide you with free access to Fusion. Fusion is an affordable, yet powerful, fully featured online learning platform with live classrooms.
Give it a try and see how it can bring your school learning community together, wherever they are, for the quality online learning they need and deserve.