Empowering Teachers: Blog 3
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on pupils has been seen first-hand by teachers. From difficulties learning at home to missing out on in-person interactions with peers, how students are educated has changed dramatically.
The ongoing disruption prompted schools to prioritize digitalization efforts. Building on the success of using technology to improve the educational experience, the focus has now turned to how tech can be used to help make up for the learning loss experienced by pupils. In the longer term, however, technology can underpin a complete rethink of the way students learn.
Many of today’s students are completely comfortable using technology. As a generation that is growing up with smartphones and gaming consoles, using tech at school isn’t particularly daunting. During the pandemic, some children found that they actually worked better and achieved higher results in an online learning environment.
In a classroom setting, certain students may feel too shy or intimidated to put their hand up or answer a question, for example, but a virtual learning environment can remove some of these barriers.
Of course, children need to be in the classroom. And creating wholly personalised pathways can be a challenge within schools. But a more student-centred approach that is enabled by a virtual learning environment (VLE) can make tailored learning more of a reality.
Thanks to functionality such as continuous reporting, students who are beginning to fall behind their peers can be quickly identified, and teachers can reach out on a one-to-one basis to support them.
Communicating with students about homework deadlines, revision tips or exam dates is much easier, thanks to a centralised location of messages–shared between teachers, students and parents. Rich multimedia content can also be used as an integral part of the learning experience. This is key for boosting knowledge, retention and enjoyment for digital natives.
Students, too, can track their own progress within the VLE, giving them the ability to see areas where they need to improve. Giving pupils more opportunities to learn at their own pace is proven to improve outcomes.
When West Bridgford School decided to implement a new VLE to make access to learning easier for students, they chose D2L’s Brightspace platform. Like many schools, West Bridgford School employs a wide range of teaching staff who are experts in their subject areas.
Implementing a platform that can include all students and teachers in an engaging way was the central mission for the school, especially as the previous online learning environment was only seeing ten per cent of students log in a few times a week.
The switch to Brightspace quickly paid dividends, with teachers pointing to the grading app as a major innovation that has helped them to provide feedback to students. Unlike other platforms, where feedback can only be provided via a text-based tool, Brightspace empowers teachers to communicate in the way they feel is the best fit.
For example, students’ work can be marked onscreen with both written and verbal feedback, engaging students in ways that were simply not possible before. When students respond to this feedback, teachers can immediately see their comments, saving time trying to solicit individual responses.
Teachers and students have busy lives and for any VLE to be successful, it needs to be as frictionless and easy to use as possible. Having the ability to gain access to everything teachers and students need under one comprehensive platform is a powerful way to increase engagement.
For students, especially those who require more encouragement to reach their full academic potential, online portfolios are practical tools that can help to personalise the learning experience. The Brightspace Portfolio area, for instance, showcases a range of non-assessment-based achievements that a pupil has gained throughout their time at school. Everything from video projects to presentations can be stored online for students to look back on to keep them engaged and motivated, and to use as they progress onto higher education or into employment.
A digital learning platform like Brightspace can help support teachers who are working hard to improve the school experience for every student. To learn more about how Brightspace can help to personalise the learner journey, please get in touch, or take a look at the resources available at https://www.d2l.com/en-eu/schools/