Lockdown tech in the classroom
How is the technology that we used during the UK-wide lockdown earlier this year being integrated into the classroom today? Our Head of Digital Development, Adam Atkinson, explores.
There is no doubt that remote learning during lockdown provided us with many challenges, not only for educators, but pupils and parents as well. However, feedback from our Bellevue community has helped us to understand that in the face of adversity, we were able to continue to teach our pupils and, just as importantly, help them to cope with the challenges that they faced.
We did well because we were already invested in how technology could be used to support our pupils and our teachers. We were already used to working from the ‘cloud’ with Google Docs, and Google Classroom was already being used by some to deliver lessons and set homework. Jamboard was being used to present information; this worked just as well as a virtual whiteboard. The use of Google Meet to host live lessons and provide a means of communication and collaboration was new. We made sure that our pupils were able to practise working in this way in schools before lockdown occurred, which meant no surprises when remote learning began!
Now that we are back in school, we are building on what we have learnt. One of the many positives of being part of Bellevue is that we are able to draw on the experiences of a large group of schools. Through regular communications and shared knowledge, we have been able to identify areas of learning that can be rolled out to other schools that we think will benefit our pupils.
One of the best extensions that we came across was Kami, an extension that allows users to work directly onto PDF documents. As well as this, teachers are able to attach recorded feedback to the docs for pupils to listen to. Using feedback like this has much more meaning for the pupil and is actually a quicker way of marking than writing on a document. Kami has also allowed us to cut down on the amount of printing required. As well as Kami, we have had many other successes across the group including the use of Peardeck, Loom, Book Creator, Go Guardian and Natterhub, to name a few.
I believe however, that what is more important than the apps and technology we have found over lockdown, is the digital literacy that we have developed and continue to develop in our community. Our pupils and our teachers are keen to experiment with different software, appraise the technology and then, if they like it, decide on how best to put this technology to use in their own learning or teaching. I am confident that we, as a community, are in a good position to continue to learn regardless of the environment or situation that we are in.
‘Together We Can’ is a Bellevue motto that fits in perfectly with how we as a community have worked and continue to work.