Tuesday 13 February 2018

Online Courses: Will Teacherless Classrooms Become A Reality?

The education company Pearson is launching a “virtual” Spanish A-Level later this year with plans to offer a range of other subjects such as French, maths and physics in the near future. Pearson has a well-established “virtual schools” business in the US and says they are interested in bringing virtual courses to the UK to help schools manage time and budgets while maintaining the breadth of their curriculum.

The courses, which are supervised by teaching assistants, do not require a teacher to be present in the classroom. The Spanish A-Level is designed to take five hours of learning per week, like a traditional A-Level. One hour will be spent in a small-group online session, delivered by a fully qualified and vetted Pearson teacher, with the other four hours spent working through guided interactive and engaging learning resources under the supervision of a teaching assistant. The teacher will be contactable via email or chat messages as well as providing a weekly one-to-one online session with each student.

This method of delivery has evolved from the Flipped Classroom, the teaching model in which the typical classroom and homework elements of a course are reversed. Students watch short videos/lectures at home before the class session, while class time is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions. The video element is a key ingredient in the flipped approach and is either created by the class teacher or selected from an online repository. Within the classroom, activity learning and concept engagement takes place with the help of the teacher.

In order to implement such a method in the classroom it is important to have an online platform that can bring all elements of the learning together in one place. Fusion VLE provides an ideal platform for flipped learning, making content easily accessible across devices and locations. Teachers are able to upload or link to videos and resources in customised class and learning spaces, as well as having the option to create blogs and forums to encourage student interaction and discussion online as well as in the classroom. Content remains available for students to revisit for revision or consolidation and is also a great way of minimising the effects of student absences. Features such as the Content Library, Blogs and Forums and Task Lists make Fusion the perfect platform for a Flipped Classroom. Click here to read a case study from GEMS Modern Academy’s Flipped Day. 

It is certain that online learning is becoming more prevalent in our schools and while integrating online elements into lessons has proven to be useful I don’t think that we will be seeing a big move to teacherless classrooms within schools any time soon. As the new education secretary Damian Hinds has said, "technology can make teachers’ jobs easier but it will not replace them".  

For more information on Fusion VLE visit www.mylearningltd.com

Monday 5 February 2018

E-Safety: Providing Children With Skills to Stay Safe Online

The NSPCC has called for immediate action on children’s online safety, criticising the government for failing to implement recommendations to make young people safer online.

10 years ago, the charity wrote a report making 38 proposals to tackle online safety for children of which it says 11 have been ignored, seven partially implemented and four are now out of date. Professor Tanya Byron, an NSPCC Trustee and clinical psychologist, said the government was “playing catch-up”. 
"The internet is absolutely ubiquitous in children's lives today. The online world moves too fast for government to drag its feet for another decade." 
Byron was the author of the original 2008 report and the NSPCC has now, a decade on, reviewed the progress made in implementing recommendations and has produced a report considering what still needs to be done to protect children and young people online. You can view the full report here

While the government is working to ensure there are robust protections in place including considering changing the law where necessary, it is vital that children are educated in online safety and given the opportunity to be online in a safe and protected environment.

Fusion VLE provides the perfect playground for students to learn about e-safety and social media. The ability to create a personalised profile, send and receive instant messages, post blogs and reply to forum topics gives them a taste of social media whilst remaining in a totally safe, fully moderated environment. Staff are able to view all student posts and are required to moderate any comments/posts made before they are viewable by other users.

Fusion users, Meadgate Primary School commented, The ability to practically follow up e-safety sessions using the VLE as a safe playground for learning about netiquette, personal and private information and digital footprint is a valuable tool in our school.”

For more information on Fusion VLE visit www.mylearningltd.com