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HM NETWORK

Remote & Blended Learning 

Having spoken to many hundreds of schools this past few months, it is clear that remote learning has presented a number of challenges. Before any kind of lockdowns were announced, many schools were simply not geared up to be able to effectively deliver the curriculum unless staff and pupils were on site.

In a pre coronavirus world, the Connected Classroom might have been seen as Futuristic, but the last 12 months has demonstrated that we need to be able to adapt to change in order to continue. Having the right technology in place can help with change, and can streamline how teaching is delivered.

Before COVID, normal teaching might have been delivered using an interactive whiteboard, accompanied by students filling in worksheets or writing in books, which might then have been taken home by the teacher to mark or grade.

When the UK first went into lock down, we were all told to “work from home – where possible”. There was a lot of talk of home schooling – although to many the definition of home schooling was very to the situation the UK faced. Home schooling is often seen as a choice – what we have all been required to do is rather different, with parents and children all battling for work space, devices and bandwidth.

When the corona virus hit unexpectedly, schools were thrown in at the deep end. Questions were asked about how students could continue to be educated if they were no longer in class. These events were unprecedented and plans were essentially being made up as we all went along.

Parents were trying to adapt work life but we were also trying to fill in as educators leading to frustration by the parents and children alike. In a lot of cases daily structure went out of the window. Students almost certainly fell behind and simply did not get the education they deserved. Many exams did not happen. Spring 2020 was one definitely for the history books….. 

 

SUMMER 2020 – Blended Learning showing the way?

Over the summer holidays, and spurred on by the Government, schools had a chance to rethink how they could deliver the curriculum.

Teachers were now required to provide a mixture of live classroom training, accompanied by remote access learning. With the children of many key workers being in school, and many more working from home, a blended learning approach was needed to mix traditional and remote teaching.  

Remote learning offerings have improved significantly thanks to the use of classroom technology, however having adapted what was available, the platforms and network connections however started to feel the strain. 

Never before have so many people needed to get remote access at the same time causing internet connections across the land to slow… 

 

MUCH BETTER

Since September, as parents ourselves, we have seen our children follow their time tables as best they can as if they were in school itself. Using applications like Microsoft TEAMs means they can follow their personalised timetables in a similar way to how we schedule business meetings with colleagues 

An element of “one to one” and group interactions have come back as Video and live chat technology has reconnected people.

By schools turning to technology, our children been able to get some educational and social structure back in there lives which is essential for learning development and mental wellbeing 

 

Is the Class Room Of The Future Already here?

Adopting a Blended Learning Approach – Digital Transformation projects have had to be brought forward to deal with immediate needs. But have budgets been able to deal with this?

This past year has shown us that mixing traditional teaching with technology can not just be used as a sticking plaster to address an emergency situation – it can actually enhance the learning experience and also streamline teaching. It can improve work life balance too for staff and students alike.

Connected classrooms can help teachers and students connect – whether on site or remote.

Students scared of asking questions in front of peers? With the right solutions you can ask questions privately and directly to a tutor without fear of ridicule. 

You can sometimes gauge whether a student has understood from body language or marking a paper. In the connected classroom however the use of quizzes can gamify a lesson. You can instantly see if the correct responses have been given on an interactive quiz.

The use of pan and tilt cameras means a tutor can show remote learners around a classroom. They can showcase content on a whiteboard for the student on site but also those needing to work remotely.

For up close demonstrations the use of down facing Visualiser cameras can be used to really show detail or intricate motions…  

Work can be automatically and efficiently graded – so continual development can be tracked, reports run, and in the event of exams once again be cancelled, used to provide accurate predicted marks.  It can also give teachers some personal time back too. 

 

Do you need help?

HM Network are the hub of numerous specialist partners who can help make the connected classroom a reality. Plus our School Technology Voucher Scheme can help your budgets go even further.

If you need to conduct a classroom technology audit, want to improve your connectivity, or are looking for ways to make on site learning more immersive – please get in contact.

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