understanding of maths and numeracy concepts.
understanding of maths and numeracy concepts.
After receiving CLPL funding from the Education Scotland STEM Nation grant this year, training was offered across the Islay cluster in digital skills. One of the key developments implemented in Port Ellen and Bowmore primary was to train staff in the use of Seesaw as a digital PLP tool to replace cumbersome and time–consuming learning logs. Under a joint headship both schools decided to invest in the paid for Seesaw for school’s version of the App. This version allowed us to have continuity of progression throughout a child’s time in school and also to track the Es and Os across subjects with its skills tracking tool. It was great to be able to include video, audio and photos into a body of evidence for achievement across a level, as well as comments and feedback from teachers and students on their learning and next steps. And parents had access to their children’s learning through the family app and could leave comments as well.
Then Coronavirus happened and schools were going to close. We quickly handed out home learning codes to pupils and parents and got them to download the class app at home, enabling them to continue their learning remotely. Ipads were provided for families without technology. Suddenly Seesaw was not just a PLP, but a home learning tool, one that could be used by children from ELC to P7 to learn remotely.
Teachers from P1 up plan and provide a weekly grid of learning activities for pupils to work with that have a good balance across literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, STEAM and other curricular areas; the emphasis is on spending as much learning time offline as on a device, by taking advantage of our fantastic environment here on Islay. We have seen some examples of truly outstanding pupil learning happening at home and share it on our Twitter feeds. We even had a retweet from NASA for one of our rocket building STEAM activities!
Pupil engagement is something we have worked hard to maintain in the move to remote learning. One of the key benefits of Seesaw is the ability to track engagement across the school; school admins can access a spreadsheet each week that shows how often children have posted and which activities have been completed, so we can quickly identify children whose engagement suddenly falls off and intervene. Staff have regular Google Meet discussions where they share their personal success stories with engagement; we quickly realised that regular video messages from teachers and audio feedback helped engagement- one parent said it was like having the teacher in their home. This is particularly successful with early years. Staff have also developed their digital skills to improve engagement, with some creating virtual Classrooms using Google slides and personalised Bitmojis. Here children can click on items in the class to link them to a video message from their teacher, a learning activity, video or document online. We have also used physical means to engage; early years sent sunflower seeds through the post for their children to plant. Finally, we share successful learning stories that aim to inspire other learners through shared Seesaw posts to all the students and parents, Seesaw blogs and Twitter.
When there are issues with engagement, we have implemented a variety of measures to help. We send encouraging messages to parents and pupils, have made phone calls home and have provided Ipads and dongles where needed so access is not a barrier. For some parents physical materials in the form of textbooks and worksheets have provided extra support that makes them less anxious. One of our key aims once schools are back is to find a way to provide more extensive training for parents so they are more confident in what will be a model of blended learning. All of the school community are glad that we chose to implement Seesaw in schools before the crisis, a versatile tool that has helped us continue to engage children and support them and their families at this time.
Interactive virtual class
Screenshot of engagement spreadsheet.
Link to video about making bread
link to giant bubbles tweet with vid
Link to weather forecast in Gaelic, retweeted by Sean Batty
Creepy crawly maths tweet
Teddy bears picnic
Sharing music talent
Evaluating parachute video clip
Gaelic 1-3 birdwatching
We have been using Chromebooks and G suite for a couple of years so obviously have a significant headstart over many other establishments. The reason for sharing is that this data shows digital learning can work at senior phase levels with approx 80% engagement for asynchronous, remote learning. Like all schools we anticipate higher engagement if we can move to ‘blended approach’.
Tick any of the following you have completed as part of SCIENCE assignments
Which was the most easy or difficult to do?
What feedback have you had from science assignments? (tick up to two)
Examples of responses to
“Please complete the sentence “Online learning is quite good because..
● i can do it at my own pace and i don’t have to be around people
● You can complete it in your own time and spend more time on the areas that you find most difficult
● We can tackle the easy subjects first and give ourselves time to wrap our heads around the new information
● It lets us continue on with education during these difficult time
● We can still learn without being in school, albeit a little less efficiently
● It’s teaching me to be independent
● i have improved on my IT skills
● If I’m struggling I could find a video or website to help
● You get to take the time that you need to complete a task and not just moving in to the next task when the first
person has finished like school
● You learn to manage your own time
● We are able to go at our own pace and that we aren’t rushing for the bell
● Online learning is quite good because it is really easy to go back and find work I have Done and videos and
websites for revision
Examples of responses to
“Please complete the sentence “The main problem with online learning is …
● It’s given me nothing but bad vibes this entire time.
● its hard to stay focused
● it can sometimes be difficult to get help quickly
● When you’re struggling with the task and you don’t want to ask for help.
● The main problem with online learning is not being face to face with my teacher.
● sometimes the instructions arent clear enough for me at least
● The main problem with online learning is the internet side of it. [textbooks can’t stop working]
● Stuck sitting in my room all day, hard when it’s so sunny outside
● i don’t know how to use everything on the computer and i get distracted sometimes
● managing to balance our subjects and planning out when we are going to do each subjects work.
● The main problem with online learning is being bothered to get up and do the work
● Not being able to do experiments to see how it works for myself.
● Deciding when to do everything were as in school we have a set timetable
● The main problem with online learning is when teachers don’t make their instructions as to what we
are suppose clear enough.
● We can get a bit lazy at hoMe
I am Rosslyn Lee and I am the Digital Skills Coordinator for North Ayrshire Education. Part of my job is to support staff and pupils in our schools with all aspects of digital learning and teaching. I became a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert in 2017 as I recognised the value to my professional learning as …
Here in Moray the small but ‘mighty’ team of instructors have been working hard to ensure our young musicians continue to have access to quality learning and teaching opportunities and instructor support during lockdown. By using Microsoft Teams instructors have been sharing challenges for their pupils to engage with in place of traditional face-to-face instruction.
Learning a musical instrument is a very practical thing: from listening carefully to a young musicians sound and offering them tips and tricks to ensure they always produce their best tone, to supporting them physically by adjusting bow holds or correcting technique etc. Remote learning will never replace in-person, face-to-face music lessons, but it can bring a whole new dimension to learning and teaching musical instruments – one which enhances our service and provides learners with lots of new opportunities to develop , improve and share their experiences.
Like many others, we faced a very steep learning curve and in the early days took our time to figure it all out. Instructors were not used to using computers as part of their daily routine and had been due to have some in-service training on GLOW in May. Having been pipped to the post and had remote working thrust upon them confidence has steadily grown and, by working collegiately, there has been lots of new learning. On our return to school buildings we’ll take with us new skills such as video editing, multi-track sound recording, knowledge and experience of various digital learning platforms and a vast library of emojis and gifs… all new skills which will benefit our young learners.
‘Over the Rainbow’, a Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) initiative to encourage as many of Scotland’s young musicians to perform on Thursday evenings during the clap for carers, gave us the perfect opportunity to engage our pupils online. Instructors digitally edited, annotated and shared sheet music; recorded, edited and uploaded tutorial videos; and encouraged pupils to make their own sound and video recordings to share with their team. On the 30 April lots of Moray’s young musicians took to their doorsteps, not only bringing music to their quiet communities but boosting their confidence, building their resilience, and giving them opportunities to share their learning with others.
With the future in mind we look forward to developing our digital skills and enhancing our service even further by (hopefully) offering pupils video lessons; adding digital learning platforms to our learning and teaching toolkit allowing us to support our pupils between lessons by sharing tutorials etc; and empowering instructors to take ownership of digital learning and teaching in their ASGs.
Instructor Over the Rainbow video.
This post was written for the MIE Scotland blog by Chris Gerrard.
The transition to remote, and now blended learning, has been incredibly challenging for students and educators alike but it has especially difficult for those with additional support needs. Many have co-occurring difficulties and rely heavily on a variety of support mechanisms in the classroom. So the key question is how do you maintain this level of support when the classroom the student and educator are in is no longer the same four walls? How do you create the inclusive classroom when the physical classroom is no longer there?
Thankfully, Microsoft’s Learning Tools are available to all educators and staff with M365 levelling the playing field and ensuring that every student can share their voice and become successful learners. The best aspect of all is that the tools are completely integrated into Microsoft tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneNote and Flipgrid. No extensions or additional cumbersome steps to install an add-in are required to access the tools. The tools are there by default and that is key for creating any inclusive classroom: accessibility by default.
When I am creating my classroom, inclusion is always the first aspect I consider. It is so important to ensure that we intentionally include otherwise we are always destined to unintentionally exclude. I am now going take you into the strategies I employ to develop the inclusive classroom and I have broken it down into four key areas: reading, writing, maths and communication.
Chris is an Additional Support Needs teacher at Lanark Grammar School. I am also an MIE Expert, Master Trainer and MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator).
As we move into this next stage of teaching during lock down and coming out of lock down it’s really important that we make the correct decision. In the Scottish Government’s reopening Schools guide as well as Local Government guidelines we have seen the term blended learning being talked about. What does this mean? We know that blended learning means that it uses a number of different pedagogical approaches including distance learning and prudential learning but what else does it incorporate?
Blended learning is a generic term given to a number of different approaches involved in synchronous and asynchronous teaching using online tools as well as being present in a classroom. This can have a number of different names and approaches:
Rotational / blended learning is a: “…model (that) allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed timetable, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most commonly in primary schools because teachers are already familiar with rotating in centres and stations.
The ‘Flex blended learning’ is included in types of Blended Learning and its model is one in which… “a course or curriculum area in which online learning is the backbone of pupil learning, even if it directs pupils to offline activities at times. Pupils move on an individually customized, ﬂuid timetable among learning modalities. One teacher is on-site, and students learn mostly in their school classroom, except for any homework assignments. The teacher or other adults provide face-to-face support on a flexible and adaptive as-needed basis through activities such as small-group instruction, group projects, and individual tutoring.”
A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school.
It is important to understand the stages of Flipped learning and that activities that are accrued out at home are clearly and concisely linked to activities in the classroom.
We we think of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy might would immediately think of the the standard triangle with the remembering at the bottom and creativity at the top,
Flipped Learning turns Bloom’s Taxonomy on it’s head:
We need to think of our learners carrying out those low order thinking skills outside of the classroom in their work at home so that when we are in the classroom we can work on their high order thinking skills.
When we talk about “home work” we are talking about those activities that our learners can do it independently with if necessary and possible support from parents and carers. What format might these contain:
We could add to those activities at home , simple worksheets, Kahoots, quizlets etc.
In our flipped classroom it is important to think of the activities that we are going to do:
These are just some of the areas that need to be considered when carrying out flipped learning.
So does it work? What are the benefits? Pupils can be learning at their own pace and with peers. Missed class or were ill. The class has online video material, so you can see what has taken place. Having done work prior to coming to class, learners prepared to contribute. It is a format which enriches Group work & projects. As teachers we can target those learners who need help knowing that other learners can work in a more independent manner. A teacher instead of standing centre and at the front we are guiding our learners from the side “coaching” them. This format benefits differentiation and work in small groups.
As we all know our learners do not come in a “standard format” where one size fits all. As teachers and educators we all know that often certain approaches work well with certain learners. The situation we find ourselves in now as a profession requires us to think of the 4 “Cs”:
Video – What is Flipped Learning
Sharon McDavid and Aileen Ramsay are stage partners teachers at Comely Park Primary School and have been teaching primary 1 this year.
This Sway highlights some of the different ways that they have engaged the youngest learners over the remote learning period
It includes information around
Blended learning that maximises the time in the classroom with the teacher and provides an engaging online experience is the challenge many schools are being faced with. At Larkhall Academy, we are currently exploring the best way to meet this challenge, finding the balance between introducing new ways of working while honing in on the interventions and pedagogical techniques that have the greatest impact when we have learners in class. Our blended learning approach is likely to consist of three strands; in class learning, synchronous learning online and asynchronous learning at home. I’ll outline how each of these might look and how we might overcome the barriers we face.
When learners are in class, we want to ensure that the high quality learning experiences focus on the aspects that require the most teacher input. This is done in one of two ways; introducing new content with clear explanations and models ensuring that learners will be able to continue their work once they’ve left the classroom or taking the flipped learning approach where new content has already been accessed and the focus is now on application of that knowledge. Different subject specialisms and topics within those specialisms will have different drivers, teachers will need to carefully consider what will be covered and then identify the key aspects that will be focussed on during the in person learning. Effective explanations, modelling and questioning will be essential during this time with high levels of teacher-learner interaction.
We are also planning on supporting our learners with live lessons being delivered online via video conference. Google Meet will allow us to securely connect with learners and deliver live teaching with a high degree of flexibility. It is possible that a teacher could deliver their lesson from a classroom or from home with learners connecting from a location that works for them. This might be a quiet study area in school or their home. As we begin piloting our approach, we are drawing experiences and ideas from those who have already begun. For example, we have strongly recommended that all Meets will be recorded and mandated that recordings of live lessons that feature children and young people cannot be shared. Alongside safeguarding considerations, we are giving extensive thought on ensuring equity with our live lessons because no-one should be disadvantaged because they could not access a live lesson. We undertook early identification of our most vulnerable learners and made digital devices and Internet connections available to those who needed it. This provision will be extended when we return to school and those who are struggling to engage will be further supported. Live lessons may be split into two parts, an initial part that includes only the teacher delivery and then a second part with teacher and learner interaction. This would allow part one to be made available to view again later as part of the asynchronous learning offering. Alternatively, this live lesson might be entirely made of learner-teacher interaction to reinforce or support the learning that has already occured in the classroom. One area where we see video conferencing as offering real opportunity is in the delivery of 1:1 mentoring and support to learners. We can all appreciate how a quick conversation can resolve misunderstandings, provide clarity or guidance in both curricular and pastoral settings. Undoubtedly our approach will change as we understand how time is balanced between home and school learning but the focus will remain on ensuring that the opportunities to connect with learners are as broad as possible.
Between March and June our exclusive focus has been on delivering asynchronous learning at home. In these unprecedented times, we agreed making learning available that could be accessed at any time was the best way to support the learners and their families in our community. This has consisted of many teachers using Screencastify to record lessons that have then been made available using Google Classroom. Creating that personal connection is essential to maintaining consistency and familiarity of experience for children and young people. The nature of the videos created varied widely across all subject areas but shared a common purpose to support learning at home. As a leadership team we agreed a schedule for posting work and setting due dates. The scheduling functionality in Classroom allowed teachers to assign work at times that suited them allowing for flexibility when supporting home working. This routine was published on our social media channels and supported with subject specific messaging. We also benefited greatly from being the Google Classroom guardian email summaries pilot school for the Glow tenancy in Autumn 2019. This allows teachers to register email addresses for parents and carers, allowing them to get either daily, or weekly updates on the work that has been set. These emails have acted as conversation starters for families and helped increase engagement with the assigned learning at home.
Feedback to learners is a focus of Learning and Teaching Framework and this continued when working and learning at home. Feedback took the form of comments and emails as we initially got to grips with exclusively working online. Our focus is now turning to maximising the use of features like Rubrics in Google Classroom and the Comment Bank in Google Docs to help teachers be as efficient as possible. When introducing new tools to teachers providing training and time to develop the skills and understanding is essential. We have delivered an extensive staff learning programme during this time through the use of Google Meet and YouTube live streaming. We have made as many of these videos as possible publically available to help support others too. An exciting development was the training, delivered by a short YouTube video series and a live stream, in using Virtual Jotters. A Virtual Jotter is a space where all related learning can be stored together and added to over time by learners. The familiarity with the concept of a jotter really helps children and young people collate their work. As asynchronous learning becomes only a part of the learning offering, having resources that can be accessed across all three spaces becomes increasingly important as will how we structure the learning at home alongside the live lessons and learning in class will be.
The scale of the challenge to align these three strands is an almighty one but finding innovation in our system and allowing it to scale will help us build a consistent learning experience for all. Sharing stories of success across the faculty areas will help us identify effective practice and continue to improve our offering. Underpinned by a continuous focus on the quality of learning and teaching linked with ensuring the technology supports this, should hopefully facilitate success in our blended learning approach. Watch this space!
Larkhall Academy tweets @LarkhallAc. Ian Vosser tweets @MrVosser.
The Literacy Academy is a central change idea of the Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative Literacy Plan informed by the National Improvement Framework, the EEF toolkit and Hattie’s meta-analyses of “what works” in closing the socio-economic gap in literacy. Like many others, we have had to move our programmes on line since the start of the lockdown and, consequently, we’ve been running on-line training sessions and webinars for teachers in our four local authorities (Stirling, Clacks, Falkirk and West Lothian) as well as creating and collating resources. We’ve been delighted by the response.
Explore the full resource here
Dr. Janet Adam is the Literacy Academy Lead in the Forth Valley & West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative