Remote teaching in Hertfordshire

Thursday 7th May 2020

Just before the school and college closures, twenty teachers responded to an email asking about arrangements. Last week, I asked again about plans for the new term. Before Easter, HegartyMathsOpens a new window was in the majority for KS3 and KS4, followed by MyMathsOpens a new window and MathsWatchOpens a new window. Year 12 students had a mix of written tasks, past papers, powerpoints, videos, online tasks and IntegralOpens a new window resources. Three state schools, along with a fair number of independent schools, tried live online teaching.

Many were relieved that Hegarty Maths survived after issues on the first day. Most schools postponed Year 12 exams, although a few are trying testing at home. For the Summer Term, schools are sending work via Show My HomeworkOpens a new window and Google classroomOpens a new window, among others. Many schools plan timetabled online lessons but not all schools have chosen this route, since the facilities may not be easy for some. By the time of publication, things may have changed and this will be a historic document reflecting a fleeting moment of time. Here are some snippets from fifteen replies last week:

  • We are using Google Classroom and asking students to submit work. I ran a session on Google MeetOpens a new window, without video, for eighteen students. Everyone kept their microphone off, and asked permission to speak and typed answers to questions in the chat box.
  • We have visualisers for Year 10 and Year 12 teachers and they are doing Google Meet online lessons. We are planning tests for Year 12 with a short time window, e.g. a half an hour slot, with three questions released at the end of a live revision lesson. Students mute themselves but leave the camera on so that we ‘invigilate’, and then they upload photos of their solutions.
  • We have been using Microsoft TeamsOpens a new window. There has been a mixture of live sessions where students and teachers talk via audio, and pre-filmed videos uploaded to Microsoft Streams.
  • The success of my live lessons was inversely related to the age of my classes. Year 7 on Meet was a recipe for a massive headache!
  • We are using Microsoft Teams for our lessons and following the normal timetable. We are setting assignments and then the students can upload their work to the assignment as a PDF. We are often using online meetings in Microsoft Teams to talk to the class, and even to explain a Dr Frost PowerPoint or to run a live game. Teachers with small children, who can’t always be available at the lesson time, are videoing themselves before the lesson and then putting that on Microsoft Teams at the lesson time.
  • I'm trying to ‘mix up’ activities: note taking from textbooks, using Integral GeoGebra Explores, a choice of Integral exercises or textbook questions, nRich problems, RISPS, etc. The godsend are the Integral tests.

By Val Pritchard

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