This week, many schools across the UK and the world will be affected by closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Whilst the majority of UK schools currently remain open, the official consensus is that school closures remain inevitable – being simply a question of when and not if. Schools in the Republic of Ireland have plans to close from Thursday March 19th, whilst some Northern Ireland schools have already closed voluntarily. It is generally agreed by experts that closing schools across the UK will help to limit the spread of covid-19 and keep more students and their families safe.
Although school closures may be a welcome announcement for students, learning must nevertheless be sustained, leaving many teachers and educational leaders to figure out how to continue teaching at home. Some of you may be left asking questions like:
- “What does instruction look like?”
- “How do I ensure my students are still receiving high-quality education?”
- “Will I be able to track the learning that is taking place?”
We’ve put together this list of handy resources to help teachers, parents and students navigate the home learning process together. Whether it’s apps that provide stimulating challenges, or a tool to plan lessons and manage teacher workload, we hope these resources will help you adapt seamlessly to the home learning process, should your school temporarily close.
Top Resources for Home Learning
Many companies are currently offering schools and teachers free access to their otherwise paid platforms, for the duration of school closures.
We believe that while the current situation brings uncertainty and inconvenience, it’s also shaping a new education landscape – one where remote learning blends seamlessly with the classroom, learning is more tailored, and schools become more familiar with the use of edtech.
Communication/Virtual Teaching Platforms
The Beginner’s Guide to Google Classroom
A rapidly growing number of teachers are finding their way to Google Classroom, due to its paperless opportunities for handing out assignments, managing the classroom and communicating with students. It’s an ingenious virtual classroom that focuses less on tech and more on teaching. You don’t have to be a tech professional to handle this classroom.
In The Beginner’s Guide to Google Classroom author Lucie Renard explains what Google Classroom is, what you can do with it and how to set it up. She’ll also give you some great apps you can use in combination with Google Classroom.
Edmodo is a distance learning toolkit where educators can send messages, share class materials, and make learning accessible anywhere.
Families can receive class updates, support the learning that is taking place at home, see classroom activity, and monitor their child’s grades all from within the platform.
To get started, simply visit the the website and sign up for a teacher account.
Blackboard is a learning solution platform offering tools and resources that help schools deliver quality teaching online. In this transitionary period of many schools shifting to a primarily online-only learning system, Blackboard is making a concerted effort to make the shift as smooth as possible and offering free access to all of its products.
Through its open LMS and software like Blackboard Classroom and Blackboard Learn, as well as help with getting everything set up and running, teachers will have all they need to recreate the classroom environment online.
MyTutor allows teachers and parents to keep their children’s studies on track with interactive live tuition online. Whilst parents can find private online tutors for almost any subject, schools can use the website to find additional tutoring for students that fits their timetable – or become a tutor themselves.
MyTutor also offers access to free study resources that help students with homework, revision and those niggling questions they might have.
Flipgrid is a social learning communications platform. Educators create meeting places for their class, called grids, where they can then discuss the topics they have uploaded.
Students can share their ideas, stories, and work by recording short videos based on the assigned topics and share them within the app.
The platform is always free, so teachers need only register for an educator’s account.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows for both video and audio conferencing. For students who don’t have access to computers at home, they can simply call into meetings using their phone.
Zoom’s free license allows you to have an unlimited number of video meetings that up to 100 students can join. There’s also a chat feature that allows students to ask questions during teaching.
To get started, simply head to Zoom’s website and register for a free account.
Edpuzzle allows you to take any video and make it interactive. Teachers can whether students are watching the videos they assign and how many times they’ve watched it. They can add their own voice narration and questions to any video (from YouTube or an internal learning platform), providing a tailored learning experience for a variety of subjects.
EdPuzzle also enables teachers to record their own video and upload it. Only one teacher from your school needs to fill out the form.
Click the button below to be taken to the Edpuzzle website, where you can create an account then fill in the form.
Nearpod is an online platform that allows you to create interactive lessons in minutes. Teachers can choose to import existing lessons, add in virtual field trips, create quizzes and polls, and even use matching pairs activities.
Nearpod can also add these features to your presentations in Google Slides. Teachers can synchronise and control the lessons across all student devices, as well as evaluate student responses (individually or as a class), generate post-session reports, and even create exciting game-based learning opportunities for their students!
To use Nearpod, simply fill out the form on the website by clicking the ‘Request Support’ button in the middle of the page.
Online Learning Materials
Robin Hood MAT Learning Projects
Robin Hood Multi-Academy Trust has a range of free learning projects available on its website for parents. The projects cover early years students through KS1 up to Y5 and 6.
First, make sure you read the Learning Project Overview to understand how the projects work. You can then proceed to download the PDFs from a variety of subjects, as and when your child needs them.
The creators of Show My Homework also present Satchel One, an online learning platform for staff, students and parents.
Satchel allows educators to build their own bespoke learning platform by selecting the apps that meet their school’s individual needs, from their award-winning collection. Apps include timetables, content, behaviour, disciplinary procedures and more, with tailored approaches for secondary and primary schools, independent schools and MATs.
Seneca Learning offers an online curriculum for over 2 million students at KS2, KS3, GCSE and A Level. It uses smart learning algorithms proven to help students remember topics more efficiently. It also incorporates fun GIFs and memes from across the web to make learning fun and entertaining – not stressful.
It’s totally free, and teachers, parents and students can access via their own tailored accounts, meaning they only see what they need to see. Teachers can use their accounts to create classes, set homework and more.
English Language Arts Resources
Book Creator App
Book Creator is a simple way for students to have a go at making their own e-books. This platform can be used to create for any subject across any school level. The resources hub gives you a range of lesson ideas, or create your own assignment that lets your students get creative to demonstrate their knowledge!
During school closures, Book Creator is offering its premium feature, the ability to collaborate on books in real-time, for free. To access simply create an account, start the collaboration trial and fill out a short form to get access to this feature.
Elementari allows students to write their own story, working at their own pace. The platform provides illustrations to inspire stories, develop analytical thinking, and inspire creativity and a passion for personal writing and coding.
Elementari is used around the world for writing in students’ native language and for second language learning. Teachers can review and give feedback on students’ stories remotely.
To get free access to the entire platform, simply click the button below.
Epic! is the leading digital library for kids 12 and under, completely free for educators. With Epic! teachers and students have access to 35,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes, & more. The books also have a feature that will read the story aloud to younger students.
Visit the website and sign up below.
Maths Learning Resources
Maths Shed is a Maths learning app that aims to make learning Maths fun and enjoyable for students worldwide. Students can participate in colourfully designed challenges, compete with friends, and develop maths fluency through times-tables, number bonds, powers of ten and more.
Meanwhile teachers can make use of the handy teaching slides, including those that support a mastery maths approach without worksheets. They can also use the scheduling system to set students deadlines and relevant maths challenges.
To get started on Maths Shed, click the button below and scroll down to find your students’ age group.
Master the Curriculum
Master the Curriculum offers a range of maths learning resources and worksheets for years 1-6. Designed by teachers, for teachers, the resources are fully editable, sorted by ability level and contain full reasoning tasks for every age group.
The button below takes you to the membership page where teachers can either set up a free membership, or choose a paid membership option. For school-wide memberships, contact the curriculum directly via email quoting how many users and login accounts you will need.
White Rose Maths
White Rose Maths aims to transform the teaching of maths by creating a whole new culture of deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths. Its learning materials are informed by robust, world-class research and global maths experts, as well as teachers throughout the UK and internationally.
White Rose Maths is currently busy planning free packages for school having to close due to covid-19, available from 23rd March. These will include video tutorials and access to premium content.
We will be adding to this list over the coming days and weeks with more helpful resources for students and teachers.
Do you have any useful home learning resources you’d like to share with us? Let us know on Twitter – @TrueEducation_P.
Free School Closure Checklist
TEP has put together this handy checklist, for all educational leaders currently encountering school closures.
The list is a useful reminder of things to think about before you embark on your home teaching journey – including informing stakeholders, liaising with parents, and providing materials and resources for students.
You can download the free checklist below.