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3 — Practical support for your teachers during Covid-19

The Upgraded Skills Exchange - a hub for collaboration

Communities share a common purpose. Community members support each other. We support you — our community — by providing you with the content and features that you ask for to support your community as a whole and the smaller community networks within. 

The support that the education sector can give to our learners has never seemed quite so important nor so difficult to give.

New Notice Board feature - designed to help you communicate with, and build, your professional learning community

Community Notice boards are used to let everyone in the community know what’s going on.

A focus on the Skills Exchange —  Updgraded to make it easier still for your faculty and community of teachers to support each other.

The video above focuses primarily on how, by creating groups, individual faculty/teachers and those with a responsibility for supporting faculty — such as Faculty Managers or Teaching and Learning Coaches — can get the most from the new improved for 2021 Skills Exchange. 

Here are three reasons our community of colleges asked for this feature to be added

1. so everyone is aware of upgrades to the features and new HOW2 content added to the app 

2. to point people to online Professional Development materials — such as these — so that everyone is literally on the same page

3. to remind or ask users to do something by a set date — e.g to update their skills exchange statuses or set up a supported experiment with their peers to address one learning need or barrier to progress 

These are extraordinary times, requiring extraordinary measures to be put in place. Educators around the world have been faced with the dilemma of delivering lessons online without any real training to do so. In a period of extended lockdown, it has been very hard to engage students remotely and our teachers have had to find new ways to deliver their subjects online. Senior management personnel around the World have found it challenging to offer support to their teaching staff while working remotely.

Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the new challenges it has posed for our subscribers was to accelerate the creation of new collection of HOW2s - “Using HOW2s online”

The new online collection gives our subscribers access to a range of online teaching techniques and means that they can be ready for whatever comes their way. They are able to use the Online techniques alongside the existing HOW2 techniques to quickly switch between face-to-face and online teaching so that they have a truly blended approach to teaching.

A teacher's 'home' on the app showing the last two Online HOW2s he was working on

The HOW2 team’s journey through COVID

When the pandemic first hit, we quickly discovered that, as in most organisations, many educators in our user organisations did not have any experience of teaching online and needed support. In November 2019, we had already started producing a new collection of online HOW2s — depicting ways that educators could use evidence-informed teaching techniques online. So our response was to accelerate this production process and invest in creating HOW2s for our​“Using HOW2s online collection” to support their Covid-19 response. With our lead designer now primarily engaged with home parenting, we gave him a budget to outsource support. And we also bought additional staffing to help us stay in touch with our customers.

Screen grab from the online HOW2s collection in the library

Staying in touch

It soon became apparent that teachers were pulling out all the stops to teach online. It became equally evident that many educators, through no fault of their own, simply did not know how to adapt their practice and were teaching​“as if” they were still in the classroom. And independent work, away from the teacher, on the whole, saw learners working on their own. In response, we prioritised the creation of techniques that see learners working together, independently of the teacher.

We communicated with our customers every week by email and continued to support our HOW2 leads by phone and webinar. We are proud to say we did not furlough anyone. Instead, we asked ourselves​“How can we do our bit?”. We wanted our customers to know that we were there to talk to if they needed an ear or some advice. 

Supporting reflection and planning

We moved to creating techniques that required learners to collaborate and work independently of the teacher

As things kind of settled down we started to point our customers to techniques that would see teachers doing less of the work —many (most?) were trying to teach as if they were in the classroom and were subsequently working too hard! 

We also learned that there were some key learnings to be had regarding a whole organisation response to support teachers. So we created a blog post and poster detailing how to set up a positive environment for online teaching for our customers to use to reflect on practice thus far and hopefully help them plan for the future. You are very welcome to use it whether or not you decide to subscribe. 

We realised there was a lot organisations could do to help lessen the teacher workload (you can download this poster below)

We then did further work around the idea of supporting novice online teachers in making the transfer to teaching online.​Teaching online — how to do it like you are not new to it” was the result. It looks at eleven specific actions a novice can take to look less like a novice! Again you can access the blog and download the poster if you think it will be helpful to you. 

Grab from "Teaching online — how to look like you are not new to it"


Poster: Entry Routines for online Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Online Entry Routines poster

5 ways to ensure that online sessions start well and learners last the distance.

With QR codes linking to an accompanying blog post and the HOW2s for Online Teaching collection. 



Teaching Online — How to look like you are not new to it

Transitioning teaching expertise from live face-to-face settings to online is not immediate. But there are (more than) a few little things that can make it look like you’ve been doing it for ages. Download the poster and take a look at the blog post for more details.