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Teaching Online: Catering for children in a modern era
The internet has unravelled a whole host of opportunities for a wide range of sectors, enabling them to expand their offerings and take services to the next level. While the same can be said for education - including online resources to effectively engage students and give teachers the tools to better-manage teaching - there remains an opportunity when it comes to the upskilling and professional development of staff. Helping teachers better equip and prepare themselves for an ever-changing society, including millennials with differing demands, has the potential to completely transform the teaching and learning environment, in a way that provides staff, students and parents with flexibility, convenience and scalability.
At a recent conference, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, told school leaders that learning about being a teacher is something that continues all the way through their professional development and career. Therefore, in a bid to boost retention and recruitment, he stated that new, improved training and professional development for teachers across the country will take place to ensure that they receive ‘the same kind of quality training you would find in other professions.’
While this is a promising step forward, the types of courses and training available need to recognise and reflect the changing landscape and provide teachers with real value to not only allow them to progress personally and professionally, but also positively impact the outcomes of their students. This comes back to my earlier point about the internet. Children today are unlikely to go an hour without checking their phone, surfing the internet and social media, let alone a day. So how do we provide them with the means to learn, in a way that engages them on their terms and suits their lifestyles, during the school day? There are plenty of online resources and platforms out there already, offering effective ways for teachers to engage with children within the traditional classroom setting. However, what about those children who might not flourish in a mainstream environment due to a variety of health or wellbeing issues, those who have been excluded, and those who require greater flexibility around their studies to accommodate future careers in acting and sport?
In order to meet the increasing demand for alternative approaches to learning, teachers can invest in professional development centred around Teaching Online. This type of qualification enables teachers to boost their online knowledge and understand the necessary skills to teach in a variety of online settings, in order to help develop the relevant knowledge and skills to teach effectively in distance and blended online modes.
It’s incredibly important for teachers to acquire a better understanding of how pupils operate in an online environment and how this can then be applied to teaching. This way of learning has already demonstrated particular value for students who have been bullied, anxious, lost confidence or who aren’t receptive to mainstream classrooms. These young people require a safe and secure environment, free from disruption, in order to build up their confidence and work at times that suit their needs and collaboration preferences.
As part of this type of professional development, teachers are exposed to pedagogies for online learning, as well as the differences between online learning environments and the physical classroom. They are shown how knowledge is applied in these circumstances and the skills necessary to support learners who are not in the mainstream education system. Equipped with enhanced skills, teachers are then able to plan and facilitate effective online teaching, using various tools, forums and open content to interact with students as well as conducting formative and summative assessment.
While qualifications for teaching online are relatively new, a recent graduate from the ATHE Level 4 Award in Teaching Online, spoke about her experience, saying, “The TTTOL qualification provided a fantastic opportunity to refresh my knowledge in current academic research surrounding teaching online and technologies that can be integrated into an online lesson. I also found it very useful watching other teachers and colleagues teach and learn from their online teaching practice. The qualification is hard work but rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to update their skills in media creation for online education and delivering lessons that utilise a wide range of online technologies to engage students.”
These qualifications demonstrating internalised skills are important in terms of addressing both online education and blended learning environments, which offer a combination of online and face-to-face delivery; something which is becoming more popular with the changing needs and priorities of today’s students – and teachers. It’s important to be able to cater to alternative ways of teaching and learning, especially in an age where teaching and learning online is such a fast-growing area. It is essential that qualified practitioners are in a place to cater to students that are less able to participate in the traditional classroom and courses such as this are crucial in helping provide these vital capabilities.
For more information, visit: www.weyeducation.com
Article by Jacqueline Daniell, CEO of Wey Education