As COVID-19 spans the globe, numerous schools across the UK find themselves with no other option than to close their doors to the majority of their current students. In order to prevent student’s learning being hindered, the utilisation of distance learning is essential to prevent the disruption of pupil’s progress at school.
All students will now be required to complete their education at home. Only students whose parents are classified as key workers by the government, who are fundamental to tackling COVID-19, and vulnerable children, who receive special needs support will remain in school.
Schools and Colleges are both providing homework materials to supplement online learning. The government is working in conjunction with the BBC to create engaging, interactive and practical resources to assist with virtual learning.
A variety of e-learning platforms are now offering their resources free of charge to help combat the impact of COVID-19. We must also consider the implications of school closures in regards to the application of the Gatsby Benchmarks.
Where can teachers find free distance learning platforms for their pupils?
Several online platforms are ensuring virtual learning is more accessible for teachers and pupils at this unprecedented time. Below shows a list of invaluable, free resources available:
BBC Teach and BBC Bitesize
Both BBC Teach and BBC Bitesize are free and can easily be used at home. Not only do these websites offer young people the opportunity to watch educational videos that cover a wide variety of topics, videos and content which are aligned to meet curriculum requirements, but also they include archives of live lessons.
Amazon Future Engineers
Amazon has created a virtual learning coding programme, offering young people the opportunity to build their skills in coding and learn about computer science. This is a free comprehensive childhood-to-career programme which inspires, encourages and educates young people from all backgrounds.
Edpuzzle is another online platform that allows teachers to track students’ video activity and view the amount of times watched. Teachers are also able to add questions, videos and voice recording. By creating a free account, you will gain full access to Edpuzzle.
Office 365 is free for schools. It can be used to organise class teamwork, video conferencing, work assignments and as a forum. Class discussions encourage verbal communication between pupils and the teacher.
Google for Education
Google for Education helps to bring learning alive, it’s especially useful for remote learning and enables access to Hangouts Meet, a video conferencing tool, Google Classroom for lesson planning and tools to help learn to code and manage family engagement.
Future Learn offers both paid and free plans for teachers to designate work to their pupils. This is a great resource which covers a range of subjects from history to business, law, literature, IT, languages, politics plus much more!
Ted-Ed is a youth and education initiative. It enables teachers to produce lesson plans that are adapted to meet the needs of each individual student. Ted-Ed allows teachers to access subject-based video lessons. This free resource significantly aids learning and progression.
nidirect offers a range of free courses to help young people to understand their options for the world of work. They also focus on further education study and can assist with homework. This is a great free resource for students.
Khan Academy gives teachers and learners free access to subject lesson planning including algebra, chemistry and many more. Teachers are able to manage students progress on the practical worksheets they set for students.
Fuse School is offering schools a free subscription, where pupils can learn for free anywhere. They cover core subjects such as Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Physics bringing learning to life.
Continuing to implement the Gatsby Benchmarks into the Curriculum
Recently, schools and colleges were challenged with applying the Gatsby Benchmarks, a statutory requirement summarised by the Careers Strategy, in education. Despite this academic year being shorter than previous years in the UK, Career Information and Guidance is evermore crucial to aid students to make decisions on their future, best suited to their career aspirations.
A list of organisations who are able to provide guidance during this difficult period have been compiled and are listed below:
Careermap creates useful webinars for teachers, students and career advisors, highlighting the significance of career guidance to a student’s future. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, apprenticeships, the UCAS process, qualification and career routes and mental health. Careermap also regularly publishes Careermag, providing students with easy access to vital information regarding the labour market and employability.
National Careers Week offers countless high-quality resources which aims to support young people through career guidance and education. The Careers & Enterprise Company encourages and provides the opportunity for young people to obtain an understanding of the world of work.
This is an immensely challenging and dynamic time and it undoubtedly has had a decisive impact on learning methods but together we can prevent pupil’s learning being hindered through the use of distance learning and career support.