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Online Learning in Secondary Schools

Online Learning in Secondary Schools

Eddie Davis July 2020
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Is a reluctance to embrace or support online learning holding students back at this time? Teachers and politicians are becoming increasingly aware that COVID-disruption is likely to continue into the first few months of the next academic year.

How can we support schools post-pandemic?

When the lockdown began in March 2020, teachers and schools did an incredible job putting together learning packages at short notice for students. Three months later, the majority of schools (over 3 in 5) are now using some form of online learning platform to set or collect work. However, almost all state schools are either struggling, are reluctant or refuse to use live (synchronous) video conferencing due to concerns ranging from students lacking good internet access, limited time and resources for parents, and wider safeguarding issues. The EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) is now actively involved in a pilot scheme in which 1,600 disadvantaged pupils are receiving high-quality online tuition to assess its potential to mitigate against the impact of school closures on the attainment gap.

How can we encourage student engagement during online classes?

Over the three months, I’ve been thinking about how I and my school would have approached this situation in the future and how all schools can adapt to provide online teaching, particularly for vulnerable students.

As a result, Valenture Institute who were teaching students in Years 8 to 13 in an exclusively online setting before anyone had ever heard of the word, ‘COVID-19’. It was founded by a group of people who have experience in online learning and have that expertise in helping teachers to understand working in this context.

In a webinar on 25th June 2020, Valenture and teachers using the platform to discuss:

  • How to deliver a great online learning experience for students
  • The techniques you can use to engage and motivate an online class
  • How to make the online experience safe and secure for students
  • Ways to monitor and assess student progress when they are studying from home.

In this webinar on How to Enhance Online Teaching with Prof Robert Lue, the founding faculty director of HarvardX and Chancellor of the Valenture Institue, discussed alongside teachers from the school, how to create an inclusive learning environment within a online setting.

There appears to be a more growing acknowledgement that many of the remote learning experience that were initally put in place are incomparable to specially created online learning environments that ivolve teachers and fellow students with genuine interaction, feedback and discussion.