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What will schools look like after lockdown? What will the ‘new normal’ be in a climate where ‘social distancing’ will still be important and where changes in infection rate may lead to sudden local or national school closures?
Over the past few months, teachers have done an amazing job of adapting to remote teaching and learning. Now many countries are discussing re-opening schools in small stages, but it seems clear that many students globally may not be in school full time until September.
Here are some ideas from our discussions with teachers, schools and the experts within our business:
One of the lessons from remote working is that it is possible to meet the needs of different groups of learners using the same material in different ways – for example schools have been able to offer the children of key workers in school the same learning opportunities as those working remotely.
So, in the future, if a pupil is absent for medical or other reasons, there will be more opportunities to keep learning and greater expectations on students – even if there will need to be some element of catching up later.
Schools that are prepared for repeated lockdowns will also have no problem with snow days or the equivalent – and indeed might use them as an opportunity to check that online learning systems are working.
One of the casualties of ‘social distancing’ rules will surely be the end of the traditional CPD with every member of staff crowded into one room. Instead, CPD that takes place in school will need to take place in smaller groups.
This could turn out to be an opportunity for schools after lockdown – teachers might now spend more time working on departmental or year group concerns. Many schools are already providing updates on statutory issues through online courses and they can also easily log in a central location that this training has been done.
And might it be a lot easier for trainee teachers to record and share their lessons with mentors in external training providers, rather than having more visitors than needed on the school site? Read how one NQT in one of our partner schools found the process by reading our case study.
As early as April 19th, teachers were thinking about how to make sure their teaching would be available in remote learning conditions.
It seems clear that many teachers will seek to follow Mike Cameron’s lead and either look to record key parts of their teaching (for example science or D&T practical lessons) or look for external content that does this for them (such as the Oak National Academy or BBC Bitesize.
A future positive side-effect to this change is that teachers will also have extensive video material that they can use to reflect on and improve their lessons.
It has been amazing to see how teachers have innovated and learned through the lockdown period. Schools have become more creative over time with more shared video and audio, group projects and instant feedback through quizzes and self-marking tests. Research from Exeter University reflects this. It found that 55 per cent of teachers said the lockdown would have a positive impact on their teaching when schools reopened!
The suggestions above are generally positive, but one of the more negative learnings from the crisis has been the realisation that some families and students have different ways of accessing digital resources at home – from those who have devices for all children to those who have little or no Internet access.
The UK Government has moved to try to close this gap by providing free devices and routers to those in most need – But will this support continue for schools after lockdown and enable all students to receive the benefits of digital learning and support?
What do you think of these predictions? We’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic – share your opinion with the teaching community on Twitter.
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.