“Our standard KS5 Network meetings … are no longer viable. So, like most other organisations, we had to take to Zoom (or the AMSP equivalent, BBB) to bridge the gap. And we found that … everything is still possible! In particular, as long as cameras and audio are switched on, the part of the meetings most valued by teachers, namely discussion with colleagues, remains just as effective.”
This was a prediction from the last newsletter article on this subject. Since then, we have held 5 KS5 Network meetings in the North West and so we can comment with the benefit of experience on the progress of these online meetings. I think it is true to say that teachers value the opportunity to let off a little steam about their current situations: lock, student and teacher isolation, hybrid face-to-face and online teaching, student progress issues, gaps in understanding, and so on. More importantly, teachers have been able to share their responses to these challenges in a productive way, so that new approaches can be adopted:
“Schools have adopted different platforms, with Google Meet and Microsoft Teams being the most used. Some teachers recommend Google for resource-sharing; some favour Teams for online assessment and interaction…”
The following is a very small snapshot of some of the vast range of resources that teachers have discovered to support online teaching and to begin to address issues with students’ progress:
- Underground Maths was highlighted as a useful source of resources and is very usefully structured, highlighting the links between topics.
- Active Inspire software was highlighted: it contains useful features that teachers may not be aware of, although many have access.
- Microsoft 365 – widely installed on schools’ systems and also contains many resources that teachers may not be aware of, eg: a useful collaboration tool.
- Dr Frost powerpoints
- TL Maths
- Jam Board
A record was kept of each meeting, with the subsequent notes being shared via a padlet. A summary across the different Networks was also circulated. Space was also found for some brief PD mini-sessions, such as a recent one on modelling (below) where, in order to stimulate discussion in the classroom, a standard A level question on modelling was reduced to a text-free form:
Regular half-termly meetings in all three areas (Liverpool, Sefton and St Helen’s/Wigan) will continue after the Christmas break. If you would like to join a Network, please sign up