St Paul’s Catholic School based in Milton Keynes has been using itslearning for the last 4 years. In this article, Maths teacher and VLE administrator, Amy Ong discusses how their use of itslearning has been adopted to accommodate remote learning during school closures.
We started using itslearning four years ago to create courses where we could store resources for pupils to use off-site. We used the messenger tool as a way of communication, to connect with pupils outside of school hours. We also implemented a ‘steering group’ of users from across the school that meets regularly to discuss how we each use itslearning and to test new ideas. In September, to replace our paper-based system, we implemented a homework strategy where all homework was to be set in itslearning using the calendar tool. This meant that teachers were used to some degree of online learning prior to schools closing.
Planning for School Closure
During the initial phase of the Coronavirus pandemic we began to plan for school closures, adapting our current strategy to fit with remote learning. Our pupils and teachers were engaged and proficient with itslearning already, as they were used to setting homework in the calendar and staff and pupils were already working according to the school timetable on itslearning. With this is mind, when our school closed on the Friday 20th March, we were able to implement remote learning by the following Monday. Since the closure of schools we now set all work, including homework on the calendar. This helps staff and pupils stay as organised as possible as, by using the week view, we can set according to the time of the day the lesson takes place. Many staff who haven’t used the assignments feature before have now developed their skills to be able to use this for its benefits of being able to track and monitor pupil engagement.
A Centralised Platform
itslearning has enabled us to have a centralised place, where we can store descriptions of online lessons, even when using external websites. The use of assignments and tasks has helped us to monitor engagement with a task and itslearning at a pupil level. In some cases, it has enabled us to provide feedback to pupils even when not in school. The calendar tool is an essential tool for us, being able to set events at set times, linking assignments through a permission blocked folder in the resources section.
My advice to other itslearning users is to utilise the calendar tool as it enables pupils to follow their regular school timings and provide some structure during a difficult time. It is vital to keep parents up to date and informed. We can do this easily just by giving parents access to the calendars.
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