We have been back a couple of months and the summer holidays are a distant memory (above is a small reminder of the sun!). Also in the distance past was a time when we were on “lockdown” and teaching online.

With rising numbers of pupils isolating and hybrid models being discussed we need to look at our teaching practices. Are we catering for pupils who are working online? Is our curriculum and classroom practices agile enough to react to change……?

This week I am looking at supporting our online pupil community.

Desktop and Drive (already trialled by the Design department)

Concept:

This is a very simple solution as it uses the hardware already in most teaching rooms. Essentially it will use the Desktop and Google Meet. This solution works in settings where the pupils need to understand the key principles, but are working on solo projects/written pieces.

Practical:

  • Open your standard Google Meet link (I would have one that is used for all classes and shared on Schoology) on the desktop in the room. Save even more time by having the meet as a shortcut on your favourites.
  • Share that screen with the Google Meet, this enables pupils to access the material that you are using in class
  • Pupils can view the class if you turn the machine to face the room.
  • Open up whatever you want to use with the class. This will mean that you can no longer see the Meet,  but they can still follow the lesson and watch your slides. The student can view the class and the board, or pin either for a closer view. Absent students’ questions come through the iMac’s speakers.

Tips:

Personally after my introduction, and once the pupils are on task, I would take 5 mins to check in with the pupils on Meet and ensure they understand the content and the work they must undertake.

You can then decide if the pupils on the Meet need to stay or if they can leave or if you wish them to return at a specific time. As the Meet will stay open they can also rejoin whenever they have issues.

Pros and Cons:

Pros 

  • You have all the resources in your room already
  • The pupils can see the class and the material
  • The pupils can hear you and follow your lesson

Cons

  • Harder for group work
  • The pupils can not (necessarily) see you

Further: If you have another device in your room, then you can add this to the Meet (as well) to develop a group environment. This could be a phone, ipad, laptop….

Flipped Classroom (trialled by Andrew Tewsley)

Concept:

Recording your lesson will allow pupils to revisit the material and work through any concepts outside of the lesson. This can be used by the pupils online and those in the class (who may be struggling). This might be used in conjunction with another technique and in most cases pupils would still need to check in with you.

Practical:

  • Open your screencasting software (Loom, ScreenCastify, Screen-o-matic)
  • Hit record when you’re talking through a concept
  • Hit pause during class work and class discussion (you could record the whole thing and then edit, however this may add too many steps)
  • Once complete share with the pupils

NB: Some teachers may choose to pre-record or to record after the class. I am trying to consider ways that would not add more work to a teachers workload, hence the in-class recording. However, pre or post lesson recordings would also work in this scenario.

Tips:

Rarely is the whole lesson recorded, so it is important to decide on which aspects are important (pre the lesson) and ensure that you record these. A piece of software that allows you to pause recording will be helpful (for example LOOM)

Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • Useful support for all pupils
  • Gives you the opportunity to be purposeful in your delivery on concepts
  • Online screen recording software are easy to use and share

Cons

  • You need to be purposeful about when it can be used and this will require some planning
  • There may be technical issues (these can happen and so you need to ensure you have other options)
  • It might alter the flow of your lesson as you turn the recording on and off

iPad as the pupil (trialled by Mike F and Middle School)

Concept:

When the pupil needs to be part of the “action” of the class you may want a mobile device to place then in different areas in the classroom and in different groups

Practical:

  • Collect an iPad 
  • Open up Google Meet
  • Place the ipad where you would like the pupil to be. Using the stand on the back of the iPad

Tips:

This method could work well for group work or maybe if you need to show an experiment or you wanted to do an interview/face-to-face task with the pupils. Ensure you have your iPad in the correct place and I would advise having someone as the iPad monitor to ensure that it can always see the “action”

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • This method can give the pupil more of a sense of “being there”

Cons:

  • You will need to use the Wifi network that is a little unstable at the moment
  • You will not be sharing your screen, so you need to ensure that the pupils have access to your material
  • Even though you can see the pupil’s faces please remember that they are still online and not in the class. Online learning can cause fatigue.

Tools that will really Help (all of these are on my website):

Schoology – All the material should be on here and assignments are shared through here. However you can also do tests, quizzes and connect to EdPuzzle through here

EdPuzzle – You can add assessments to videos and get feedback on understanding. This could work with the flipped classroom videos

Loom (or any screencasting tool) – The great thing with Loom is that it is an extension on Chrome so easy to use

FlipGrid – This remains a great tool. I know many used it through “lock down” no reason not to use it now!

Quizizz/Kahoot/Quizlet – These are just powerful tools to add a little touch of gamification

Pear Deck (slides extension) – There is a lot of love for this from the teaching community. Good for adding quiz and revision content to your slides.

What techniques have worked for you? What do you think we should be looking at next? Do you have any advice? I would love to have some feedback and let’s work together to create a super learning environment during this crazy time!