Does your school have an online learning platform in place?
With local lockdowns ongoing, as well as the viability of a similar situation occurring again in the future, the need for schools to be equipped for flexibility is no longer a luxury or a hypothetical option. So, is your school prepared?
Over the course of last week and this week most children in the UK have returned to school. Many procedures and processes will have changed, but the reliability of routine will at least bring some sense of normality. That said, Covid-19 has highlighted a need for additional, alternative options to the traditional classroom. With local lockdowns ongoing, as well as the viability of a similar situation occurring again in the future, the need for schools to be equipped for flexibility is no longer a luxury or a hypothetical option. So, is your school prepared, and if not, what can it do?
The impact of lockdown on UK education
When lockdown began in the spring, many schools adapted admirably given the amount of warning. Some had more sophisticated solutions than others, however almost all were thrust into a makeshift situation, born of necessity. In the best cases, children remained engaged with their schooling to some degree for the remainder of the academic year. However, in lots of cases, children’s education fell significantly below par as engagement was low and motivating students, monitoring their work and assessing results became increasingly challenging.
As a result, it is estimated that pupils are on average three months behind on their learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).
The survey also showed that in July teachers had covered, on average, only 66% of the usual curriculum during the 2019/20 academic year. Based on teacher estimates, the learning gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers had increased by 46%. Teachers in the most deprived schools are over three times more likely to report that their pupils are four months or more behind in their learning compared to teachers in the least deprived schools (53% compared to 15%).
What do we need to look for in educational solutions?
There are multiple problems that arise from this, and not all of them can be resolved with an online solution, especially when it comes to the discrepancies between the experiences of children from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds.
However, it does show that we can’t afford to find ourselves in another, similar situation without options. Solutions need to address social interactions, student motivation, accountability, engagement and assessment. That means taking the online education proposition far beyond a video call, an online presentation and an email, and into the space of a purpose designed online classrooms with adapted courses.
By adopting a solution that works, it could even be used not only in the case of a crisis, but to facilitate social distancing. For example, with shift style in-person attendance.
Sustainable solutions and personalised programmes
At CamVision Education, we have been using our online classroom approach for meaningful remote tutoring, education and even work placements for university graduates, by tailoring solutions to each age group and function. We do not simply take a classroom approach and place it online. We use the technology and knowledge that we have in place and combine it with specially tailored educational programmes for different purposes and age groups.
For example, we have created bespoke courses that are for one-to-one as well as group education, supporting interaction between multiple students and teachers or maintaining individual tuition. The programmes combine an exciting, well-planned syllabus with focused pastoral care as well as the flexibility and ingenuity of an online platform.
The beauty of this is that we don’t look at a one size fits all model. Online learning can be used to support individual students who have fallen or are vulnerable to falling behind at school, with extra tuition. Or it can be incorporated into the regular education system to familiarise students with online learning in order to encourage accountability and motivation in a digital world that they will inevitably be working in as they grow up.
The important thing is that there are flexible options available, and schools and educational bodies have a responsibility to make sure that solutions are in place to support or switch from traditional methods of teaching, ensuring that education is sustainable in a world of modern challenges.
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