Another week of the COVID 19 virus has passed and for many teachers, and employees, remote teaching/working is now a reality, and likely to stay for the long(er) term.
Many schools and universities are desperately applying ‘sticking plaster’ to their hastily compiled remote learning strategies with a mixture of free digital services and content. Whilst this may do the job until schools reopen, the #CoronaVirus should be a wakeup call as it continues to demonstrate our vulnerabilities.
Once schools return, many Heads will start looking at long term solutions. Whilst there are many free digital solutions on the market (#Microsoft #Office365, #Google #Classroom etc.), there is a need in schools for wider considerations.
It thought it would be useful to list my top five below.
1. Data Security
Security of learner data is paramount, regardless of the solution. Wherever your data come from (SIS, MIS, LIS, spreadsheets, databases etc), it needs to work seamlessly with your digital platforms, providing learners with correct access to classes and the right user privileges. Equally important is where your platform data is stored. Do you know who has access to it? Can it be used by others for marketing or advertising? Does it meet legal and other security requirements?
2. Which platform should I choose?
There are many digital platforms, it is important to pick the right one. Distance teaching and learning is one of many potential uses. Content management, assignments, collaborative projects, testing and communications are some of the many functions of a good integrated platform. It should also consider local needs with multiple languages, interfaces for different ages, strategies for poor connectivity (or offline learning) and ease of use for the teacher. It’s important to build CPD strategies and develop areas that are important to your school and appropriate for your infrastructure.
Until the Corona Virus outbreak shut schools, remote teaching (in most schools) had been largely a theoretical phenomenon. Schools saw clear benefits in learners accessing work from home, submitting assignments or contributing to projects, but these were largely supplemental to the work that happened in class. A good solution must have proven efficacy, be easy to use and give the teacher a range of tools to suit different teaching styles. This will encourage both platform adoption and skilling-up for teachers.
Apart from the teachers and learners, there are many other important stakeholders. Direction from the leadership is critical for any digital project to succeed, let alone one that needs fundamental change management. This should be at government, regional and school level. Equally important is the training and support teachers receive, as well as the availability of devices and connectivity.
In my experience, all digital projects face similar hurdles. Policy funding is usually critical, as it an understanding of ongoing funding requirements. Likewise there has always been unjustified fear that technology will replace teachers.
At this time, many schools are focused on completing the academic year with whatever resources and platforms they can use. That is important. But in the longer term, a clear strategy and plan will be invaluable.
The author is Founder and CEO of #EdTech business Learning Possibilities which provides the #LP+365 platform. Please contact us if you need advice, help or support.
Italy’s announcement to close its schools won’t be the last. Schools in other countries are also closed as the virus gets a firm grip on everything from travel to sport to medicine supply.
Over the past two decades education reformists have had visions of self paced learning, online collaboration and enabling meaningful learning outside school. All attempts so far have struggled because the exam systems rarely look for these skills and teaching to the test is still the norm in many parts of the world.
It is well known that digital both engages learners and provides skills necessary for employment. However connectivity, devices and classroom management all pose real world challenges.
This vision will now have to finally become a reality. The virus is here to stay, and schools will have to quickly learn to distribute resources, teach and manage online assignments, and collaborate/communicate digitally. Whether this is through free tools provided by Google and Microsoft, or more structured platforms such as LP+365, the reality is that schools will have to become like workplaces, many of whom have also asked employees to work from home.
After 5 successful years working in Elstree, we are thrilled to be moving our UK based office to Croxley Business Park!
Why are we moving?
As a social enterprise Learning Possibilities wanted to move to an environmentally friendly working space in which the team can continue to be productive and work towards their mission of transforming the education of millions of learners world wide.
Why Croxley Business Park?
✔ The park is a completely environmentally friendly working space with on-site food composting to cardboard bailing and rainwater harvesting. 100% renewable energy, provide charging points for electric vehicles, run a park-wide car-sharing scheme, bike spaces, beekeeping, Environmentally aware schemes on the park- Zero waste to landfill, 100% waste recycled, 100% renewable energy source, on-site food composting and cardboard bailing, rainwater harvesting, Park-wide car share scheme and charging points for electric cars.
✔ Well Connected Hub More than just a great place to do business, Croxley Park is a well-connected hub, and home to a thriving community of more than 60 companies and 2400 employees
✔ Croxley Park’s amenities and exciting events programme building stronger connections for working life
Learning Possibilities is pleased confirm the launch of its first office in Asia, in Singapore, to manage its growing portfolio of opportunities in the region. Over the past 3 years, the young population and government focus on education, has resulted in the region becoming a key part of the Company’s growth strategy. Learning Possibilities will establish an operations centre in the region to provide a launchpad for the business to make a significant social impact and accomplish its goal of bettering the lives of 100 million learners by 2022. The office will serve as the London based group’s regional headquarters for its activities in the Asian and Asia Pacific regions.