Remote learning: How technology and communication can be used to aid education during this uncertain time

How can parents best educate and entertain their children during this time? Home schooling may be a daunting prospect for parents and carers, but thankfully there is a growing list of support being made available and we've outlined a few of the tips and free educational resources we've found.

25 March 2020

While schools and universities across the globe shut their doors, two questions remain – how can parents best educate and entertain their children during this time? And how can schools and teachers support them?

This is a daunting prospect for many. It’s an unprecedented situation and for the majority, this is new territory. Moreover, this is coming at a time when parents are already doing their best to provide a level of normality to their children’s lives in an ambiguous time. Though the majority of schools have provided students with workbooks and access to online resources, many parents and carers will want to support their childrens’ studies during this time. 

Thankfully, there is a growing list of support and advice being made available and, below we have outlined just a few of the ways both parents and schools can make the best of the situation ahead.

Free educational resources

In a bid to help support teachers, parents and carers over the coming months, many companies are offering free access to their online resources and services. What’s more, many of these resources are currently used by qualified teachers, so often the content is in accordance with the national curriculum and materials echo the topics that would have been covered under normal circumstances:

Twinkl – Online source of teacher-created planning and assessment materials. They are offering free access to all teaching and learning materials.

Cypher – An organisation which teaches coding to children in schools and during holidays have launched live online camps to keep children engaged and learning from home.

Perlego – Online library has opened up it’s 300,000 educational books free of charge to students until the end of the academic year.

Tips for parents new to homeschooling

Home schooling is not easy and it’s likely it’ll take time for everyone to adapt to a new everyday life. To try and ease the situation, especially for parents new to the role of home teacher, please see the below 5 tips from Tom Rose and Jack Pannett, both qualified teachers and sports coaches:

  1. Plan and prioritise core subjects
  2. Opening your new school: Explain why
  3. Fresh start: Establish routines
  4. Teaching core subjects: Celebrate milestones
  5. You can’t pour from an empty cup

Communication between parents and carers, teachers and schools

At present, communication is of paramount importance for businesses and the same is also true for the education sector. Many schools and universities have already set up various channels of communication to enable effective contact between themselves, students and where appropriate, parents and carers. But now more than ever, members of the education sector need effective ways to communicate opening hours, new guidelines, advice to parents and to organise their staff.

If not already in place, this may be a great time to introduce SMS communications. Not only do text messages benefit from an open rate of 95%, but as the average user response time is 90 seconds, it is a great way to enable swift, two-way communication. Which can be particularly useful when you need more of a dialogue to explain a complex brief, such as maths homework. Additionally, as you’re able to send these messages via our platform, teachers are still able to keep their personal phone numbers private.  

Furthermore, most parent engagement software is already compatible with our SMS API, so you can easily set up messages within your existing systems, to be sent to recipients via SMS. These messages could act as a nudge to students, to send across or confirm their understanding on a particular topic, signposting for parents and carers to online resources to help with learning at home and even checking-in around mental health for some of the older students. Through utilising SMS, concise and frequent messages can ensure communication lines are kept open during this time, without overwhelming recipients. 

As mentioned, this is an unprecedented situation for all of us. But for any schools looking to improve or enhance communications over the coming months, we may be able to help. Simply contact our team on 0845 122 1302 or at [email protected] for more information. 

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