Online resources and tools for teachers and parents

Online resources and tools for teachers and parents

Online resources and tools for teachers and parents

There is an education emergency worldwide for more than four months now, including Pakistan, which closed all educational institutions in February earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a result, the air of uncertainty among the teachers, coupled with the challenges to carry on with their teaching methods and tools, has become a grave point of concern. While this might seem an unnerving task, there have been researches globally on how teachers can use the hands-on technology and resources to assist digital learning and ensure that the quality of education that students receive is maintained. 

It is pertinent to note that you cannot choose one method for everyone when it comes to learning. There are diverse groups that have unique concerns and priorities. The resources and tools used for each group are also context-dependent. For example, novel methods are used for differently-abled students who might not understand the technology or have access to the internet. However, there are several online resources to guide the teachers in continuing their students' education. 

At Campus Guru, we have rounded up some essential online resources and tools that the teachers can use while going back to the classrooms but in a different era of web and digital teaching.

Priority list

The most important advice for the teachers is to take a step back and think about what matters most, which will allow you to prioritize the listing of an active network of communication with both students and parents

Here we are sharing an initial resource, by Mark Anderson, ICT Evangelist, who has created this useful infographic to help teachers navigate and ponder over the first and final steps that can be taken into consideration while the school shutter continues. This infographic will guide you to make critical decisions during this time.

We highly encourage teachers to use this infographic information while planning your steps to prepare for online remote teaching. Step back and have and think about your first step. 

Moreover, we suggest you also consider The ISC Digital Strategy Group and Edtech UK's Developing Digital Leadership Bulletin, which includes guidance and more pragmatic steps for schools during the closures.

Delivery and technology 

Your school is closed and expects you to come up with an ace strategy to move to the digital classroom. There are several ways to tackle this challenging situation.

Firstly, you should know the tools. Many schools are using Microsoft Systems, such as Office 365 or Google Apps such as Google Classroom. To resume their academic sessions, both the platforms are free for educational settings and can be easily and quickly downloaded or set up. We suggest that if your schools had been using these systems already, then do not need to rush to new technology to avoid confusion. Keeping things simple when faced with numerous challenges; utilizing the hands-on tools to the best is an idea that would work.

Most academic researchers suggest that schools adopt online learning tools via technology for students in Stage 2. In Stage 1, however, the schools should focus on communicating an appropriate channel and resources with parents to make it easier for them to navigate while moving to Stage 2, online learning.

Assessing student's performance 

One of the biggest challenges for teachers is to check on student's performance and progress from afar.

But here is a piece of good news! There is a pool of online resources, free and available from various research organizations. These include the British Council and BBC Bitesize,  offering collaborative activities for student groups, to help them keep active while also testing their academic knowledge by using different interactive tools.

Apart from that, there are some excellent online platforms for Math and other literacy games such as Sumdog for the students aged 4-11. 

Teachers can use Sumdog to give students homework tasks and quickly check students' progress via the platform. For Independent learning, there are some fantastic places for younger students and their parents, such as Primary Homework Help.

For students in higher grades, Seneca Learning is a website that provides free materials for students taking their GCSEs or A-Levels. 

Microsoft Forms and Google Forms are also one of the best tools used by the teachers of higher grades to assess them by creating quizzes and daily tests.

EdFuturists regularly posts informative videos for teachers on its Twitter page, which allows them to understand how to generate interactive sessions for students by only using Google Apps. 

Safety of younger students and online material

While classroom learning seems to be an impossible task for many, more junior grades will access learning material online. Therefore, one of the biggest priorities for both teachers and parents should keep children safe. A deputy headteacher from Dubai has created an infographic with some essential safeguarding questions that schools should ask while moving to remote learning methods. 

Another resource is the online safety tips for children, which is an informative guide for both parents and teachers in terms of students' safety. This encourages and guides teachers to create consent forms shared with parents, especially in the case of younger school students. 

Offline options 

While there is a large number of students in Pakistan who do not have access to an internet connection, teachers should also think about offline options such as offering support to those in need, generate loans, and award technological gadgets that students cant afford. For this, the Private and government school federations should make a support group. 

Moreover, psychological counselors' advice that lengthy online classes are neither invigorating nor healthy.

World Health Organization says that those aged 3-4 should only spend a maximum of an hour at a time in front of a screen. Pobble is another exciting and useful platform that has created 25 ideas for non-screen activities for the younger audience that can be done at home off-screen.

Resources and tools for parents 

The situation is equally challenging for parents as it is for teachers. Many useful tools can help parents deal with the unprecedented situation amid coronavirus pandemic. One of the tools for parents is Twinkl; an online educational publishing house has produced a School Closure Home Learning Pack for parents of junior grades to help them maintain children's learning during school closures.

Twinkl also provides a Parents Hub that offers parents several curricular areas to continue the learning process of their children. 

We hope that the above tools and resources will be beneficial for teachers and parents. Best of Luck!



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