Originally published on LinkedIn.

One of the best things about my job is that I speak to a lot of teachers and school leaders, listen to their day-to-day problems and challenges, and create solutions to help them. 

During the COVID pandemic the level of innovation in schools has been even higher than normal and I’ve seen all the schools I work with turning to technology to deliver innovative remote solutions, working with parents, teachers and their wider communities. Here are four of the ‘stand-out’ ideas using video that will almost certainly outlast the pandemic (as well as the end of ‘snow days’!).

1. Consistency in transitions

‘You can make or break a lesson in the first few minutes’, says author Matt Bromley in this article in Sec-Ed. The pandemic has made this even more evident, especially in secondary schools where teachers are usually moving to meet classes now rather than vice versa. In response, schools are sharing 360-degree video footage from our cameras around teaching staff – sharing both what teachers should do to gain attention, and how to respond to different student behaviour while this is happening.

 2. True lesson observation

With more pupils sitting in desks facing the front and waiting for teacher instructions, the presence of other adults in the room is even more apparent – meaning that observed lessons become less ‘true to life’ than pre-pandemic. This ‘Hawthorne Effect’ (the impact of observers on any interaction can be reduced by using remote footage. Creating a culture of trust where teachers will share their lessons in order to learn from others is an even more powerful way of driving improvement in the classroom. And with ONVU Learning's, 360-degree footage can be captured – allowing teachers to see how students are reacting in lessons and reflecting on what they could do differently.

3. Evidence-informed teacher professional development

‘Traditional’ professional development in many schools consisted of teachers sitting in the school hall with a visiting expert delivering ‘one-size-fits-all’ ideas. With this not available in the pandemic, schools have moved to smaller groups, sharing real life examples of best (and not-so-good) practice from lessons and looking to make improvements over time. This fits well with research into what makes good CPD.

4. Remote video parent communication

Finally, it seems clear that many schools are seeing the benefit of flexible video appointments for parent communication as well. Surveys by TeacherTapp and ParentPing found that only 29% of teachers and 24% of parents wanted to go back to fully face-to-face parent evenings!

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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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