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Our Approach to Remote Learning
On 23rd March we, as did all schools, had to close our doors to all but the sons of our keyworkers. The challenge for teachers was to continue to teach all our boys, from Reception to Year 8, as effectively as they could from their own homes.To achieve this, all the boys would need to be able to access teaching and learning via Remote Learning platforms at home too. How would we preserve that relationship between the teacher and pupil, and keep everyone learning? Read here to get a feel of how we approached this challenge.
What did we already have in place?
For many years our school network had been with Google and so all our boys from Reception to Y8 had an account set up, giving access to the full G Suite for education. So the technology was ready for use and we could utilise its many different features. Without physical contact in school the online dashboard facility was important allowing boys to contact our pastoral team if they had any personal issues.
Dharman decided he could use his stop motion animation skills in different subjects to help explain concepts
How did we manage the learning for our Y5-8 pupils?
“Thank you for the incredible effort to get online platforms up and running, and continuing to review to make things run smoothly.”
Our senior school had already been using Google classroom and all the different apps in the curriculum, so we extended this to all subjects. Pupils from Y5-8 already had access to a school iPad that they could take home as part of the 1-1 iPad scheme which we have been running for eight years. All the pupil iPads loop back to the school through the internet, to pick up the school proxy and filter enabling us to manage them remotely. This meant all the boys had access to safe remote learning.
As part of the G Suite, we had access to the Google Meet app (video conference facility), which would allow us to hold live Meets with pupils. Every morning boys attended registration with their teacher via a Google Meet, giving all boys access to their form teacher. Lessons followed the timetable already in place wherever possible; pupils were invited by their subject teachers to their lessons for live teaching via Google Meet at the allocated time, and work was posted in their classrooms to be completed. Finished work was submitted via the classroom. Support teaching was available to some pupils who benefited from 1-1 teaching on separate Meets.
How did we manage the younger pupils?
“Great work Mrs Howe with the daily meetings and help. Fantastic job from all the staff at Keble who have worked tirelessly to set all this up in such a short space of time. A big thank you.”
“Lovely recorded teaching sessions that we can do in our own time. It has been very effective and Miss Davis has been lovely and very responsive.”
At the start the younger pupils (Reception to Y4) had not yet started to use their Google classrooms, but all boys did have Google accounts already set up.
Y2-Y4 had their lessons screen recorded by staff, and uploaded onto their classrooms, and boys submitted their completed work through the classrooms. Live Meets were kept to a minimum as it was felt this gave parents more flexibility with timings. This allowed parents to support the boys in completing the work at times which were more convenient and less restrictive. All junior boys met their teachers each morning for registration on Google Meet, and were able to discuss the day and the work that had been posted. Further weekly Meets were organised so teachers and pupils could catch up and the boys could see their friends.
For Reception and Y1, it was decided to use the Seesaw program, used in the Senior School for online portfolio and peer to peer observations, but adapted in the Junior School to enable work and events to be posted, and allowing parents to put comments on to the thread or directly message the teacher within the app. Videos of the teachers and work were posted onto Seesaw for parents to access with their sons. Each morning boys attended registration with their classmates and the teacher, through the Google Meet.
All Junior School children used their own devices, but school devices were made available for any who needed them.
What was the impact on the school and teachers?
Our teachers worked extremely hard during a very challenging time, upskilling in a short period. Staff were supported by training, and given access to school equipment and iPads to create lessons and interact with the pupils. Across the country education providers / schools were challenged to provide remote teaching at very short notice – and at Keble this meant providing teaching online which was accessible to all pupils as appropriate to their age range. No system is perfect and our teachers, pupils, and parents have had to work closely together. Technical support was made available to all teachers, pupils, and parents to support learning, and both pupils and parents had access via email to all teachers and the Headteacher.
Mr Gill recorded assemblies, staff worked late into the night marking, planning and recording lessons. We held many online staff meetings. Keeping communication open, and responding where we could to adapt our teaching and learning, have been key. We were so happy to welcome all our boys back to school before the Summer Term ended, and we feel we have learned so much, developing and strengthening our relationships as a community – something we hope to take forward. We agree with Walt Disney:
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
As a school, we will continue to work hard to improve and develop our remote learning to benefit us as a community long after the pandemic has eased.
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