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Returning to the classroom? How to be ready come what may with online learning

For a return to the classroom there is little point in assuming that everything will go back to normal. Teachers, students and parents will all have a different understanding of what technology can offer them, but will also be aware that at any point they could return to a more remote way of teaching.

How can you set yourself up with a blended learning approach to be ready for any eventuality? Working with teachers and education leaders we’ve put together some best practices to ensure continuity of learning no matter what the term ahead presents. These will help you to transition quickly to hybrid or distance learning should you need to across 4 key areas:

 

Rethinking teaching & learning

Practice submission of digital learning
By setting home learning online, teachers, students and their parents are prepared to access learning resources should there need to be a quick move to hybrid or full distance learning. Students should at least practice submitting some work digitally if in school. Teachers will also gain the immediate benefit of home learning being easily accessible for absent students and those who might lose track of home learning. 

Place class resources online
This is also about preparation; families and students will know where to go for class resources and expectations in the case of a change to learning. The resources might be basic if school is fully in person - a syllabus, generic home learning resources, a biweekly class blog. Should all teaching and learning go online - students and parents will know where to go.

Record key lessons
On a basic level, this is about teachers feeling comfortable in the case that there is a change.  Recording should just be of key lessons to avoid overcomplicating it. However, teachers will immediately benefit from having recorded resources for absent students and for later review. In the long run, developing this bank of resources with its focus on the essentials will create new opportunities for independent learning in the classroom.

Engaging parents in the learning conversation

Train parents in using your school's digital resources
Provided that most school digital resources can be centralised in a few key places, schools will need to find a way to encourage parents to access those systems well in advance of it being critical. Making some of the “school as usual” resources available on those platforms (e.g. weekly photos, behaviour points, reports, required forms) will entice parents and ensure they are prepared.

If you’ve already got regular digital resource uptake, the growth question is: how might your school work towards continuous reporting? This is quite an undertaking on a number of fronts, but you may consider small, incremental steps.

Hosting online parent evenings
Even if school is back at full capacity, hosting parent meetings online when possible helps to minimise the number of visitors to the school campus when not critical.

Celebrating school life

Sharing achievements
Some parents will be understandably nervous about their children returning to school. You can help these parents by continuing to share regular news and updates with them via your online learning platform - the more they can see that the school is managing the situation effectively, the more reassured they will be.

Tracking & measuring success

Measuring the consistency of your digital learning approach
School leadership can use engagement data collected to monitor the consistency of digital learning and teaching approach across all departments. It will help them to identify which departments are still following the key fundamentals to ensure they are prepared in the likelihood of any sudden school closure. 

Monitoring which teachers may nee more support
It may well have been possible to see which teachers have embraced a more digital approach to their teaching, but supporting those who have struggled may have been difficult. Consider regular, light-touch training for teachers who need more support with online learning. They will appreciate the opportunity to get to grips with some of the digital learning tools they have found tricky and you will be able to ensure that good practice is more widely embedded across the staffroom.

Are you back to the classroom? Our Learning team have identified some key fundamentals around teaching & parent engagement to help you remain agile come what may in our latest guide. Download today to discover practical tips to get started and advice from education leaders around the world.

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