For the remainder of the current academic year, until the Covid Vaccine programme is widespread, schools around the world will continue to split the teaching effort between students attending school and those learning from home.
Students working at home, from the very young, to adults, face a whole range of barriers to learning remotely. Therefore, it is vital that the online learning provision provided by schools and tutors recognise these limitations. They need to do everything possible to help students access learning, whatever their situation.
Students, particularly younger children in larger families, or those living on low incomes, are likely to be sharing a single device, sometimes a single mobile phone. If there is a range of devices, some devices may be older or designed mainly for entertainment. The one thing they all have in common, however, is a browser.
Online provision therefore needs to work on every device and across the full range of common web browsers.
It is impossible to know what software or Apps students have available. Without additional software such as access to office tools, they may not be able to create and submit work. Therefore, it is vital to provide a provision for students to be able to create files on their platform in portable file formats.
Fusion allows students to create docx documents that can later be downloaded if needed. Students can also capture and submit images of written and practical work and create audio recordings on Fusion, regardless of their device. All work submitted, in whatever file format, can be graded and feedback provided. Docx documents also benefit from full ‘in-line’ marking with our marking tool.
If students need to quickly and easily switch between devices, every piece of work has a QR code. Students can quickly scan the QR code on a different device and, once logged in, be taken straight there to continue working.
With younger or less able students, not having the teacher there to help with login can be a significant barrier. Supervising adults may themselves be working from home and are not able to provide continuous support. Fusion allows teachers and tutors to temporarily activate a simple group login where students click the logo on the login page, choose their class colour and animal and select themselves from the class list. This ensures that students can access their learning independently.
If students are using their own device, there is also an option to link their Fusion login with another login on their device such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Some schools may also be able to take advantage of ADFS Single-sign-on to allow students to use their usual school login credentials.
Once students are logged in, Fusion ensures that everything is in one place: communication, discussions, live lessons, assignments, tasks, quizzes. No juggling of multiple logins. The content library also provides single-sign-on to a host of other online content providers, ensuring that students are there, ready to work independently whenever the need arises.
A simple, easy to use interface that grows with the student is vital as their needs change. Fusion’s engaging themes cater for the needs of all ages, with a simple button layout for younger users and an informative dashboard for older users. Darker, high contrast themes are also available to help improve readability and navigation for those with dyslexia, low vision, colour-blindness, or when working in low light conditions.
Physical and emotional distance
Being able to share webcams in a live, online session is valuable to help students feel part of the learning, but it’s also important to be able to share documents and the teacher’s desktop with students. It’s also important to be able to share whiteboard tools and polls for student contributions and to offer breakout rooms for student-to-student discussion. All of these things ensure that online teaching doesn’t compromise on the quality of learning.
For students that do have their own phone, there is one final part of the inclusion jigsaw. Fusion’s App ensures that notifications reach your students, and assignments and communications are at their fingertips. All this helps to keep students engaged; plugged into learning, whatever their circumstances.