Simon Hay, Founder and CEO of Firefly Learning, highlights what help is available to teachers and parents who are delivering lessons remotely
In response to the government’s coronavirus directive to close all schools nationwide to all but the most vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, Simon Hay, Founder and CEO of Firefly Learning announced that his company will be offering schools free access to its virtual learning platform and services until the end of next term. Simon discusses how this offering will help schools respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Our objective at Firefly Learning was to provide a solution for school senior leaders and teachers keen to extend teaching and learning into the home – which is why we have offered free access to the Firefly virtual learning platform to schools in need across the world. 107 countries have now implemented school closures, impacting the education of 862 million students, so teachers and parents worldwide are actively seeking innovative ways to educate children and young people.
Firefly Learning is an online learning tool that allows students, teachers and parents to work together. Teachers can set homework, track student progress, share resources and engage parents. It has been designed to power a modern learning experience in the new digital age, making it ideal for remote home learning.
At Firefly Learning, all hands are on deck to keep students learning by supporting schools as they move online. To address rising demand from schools, we have scaled up our infrastructure and enlarged our customer service teams to provide round the clock support for schools.
So what must school staff consider when selecting the right tools to deliver online teaching and learning?
For senior leadership teams
When implementing an online solution, it’s essential that headteachers and school business managers ensure that the system supports interaction across the entire school community, from sharing lesson plans, broadcasting school announcements and requesting information from parents and pastoral care.
It’s important too that senior leaders can stay informed of progress and attainment data across their school.
To keep up a meaningful two-way dialogue with students while teaching remotely, educators need to ensure they can manage classes remotely, set homework and provide feedback.
It’s also helpful if any new learning management systems can integrate with everyday productivity tools such as Google Classroom and Office 365. A central hub where all applications can be accessed will reduce unnecessary workload and administrative tasks for teachers.
When working from home, it’s crucial that students are able to use online learning to direct their own learning while still receiving guidance from teachers and uploaded resources. Regular notifications – for example on homework – will help keep students informed without teachers having to remind them!
Flexibility across a range of devices is an important consideration too for young people. Some families will have limited access to laptop or desktop computers, so it’s important to ensure that online solutions are compatible with other electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets so that young people can complete their homework even if they do not have access to a computer.
Online feedback is also essential to give students guidance on how to improve their understanding of the curriculum.
Solutions which allow virtual collaboration with classmates keep them learning with their peers even during this period of social distancing.
Our heads of the household are busier than ever as they juggle working from home, their children’s home-based education and unprecedented social and financial pressures. Therefore, it is important that education technology makes directing their children’s education easier.
Access to timetables will help parents keep school days structured while they manage their own jobs. Regular feedback from teachers will keep them informed of their child’s progress, reducing the chances of any young person falling behind during the current disruption.
In this difficult time it’s vital for educational suppliers to provide online solutions which minimise the disruption to children’s academic, social and emotional progress. Available for all schools, our flexible learning solution works seamlessly alongside existing education technology to facilitate remote learning quickly and easily. School leaders and teachers and are rising to the challenge with admirable creativity and tenacity and we are here to support the school community every step of the way.
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