The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published the guide to supporting school planning in August. This is a key document because it draws on research from across the education sector and is a key source of advice to the DfE. EEF guidance is a reference point for the use of the Covid Catch-up Premium funding.
The guidance is simple to follow and provides a common–sense approach to planning for potential lockdowns whether they are regional, whole school or internal bubbles. Five key aspects are considered for planning for remote learning. We look here at how DB Primary can be most effectively used to support the EEF’s guidance.
Teaching quality is more important than how lessons are delivered.
In the context of moving to lockdown (whole school or bubble) where remote learning is essential, schools will need to consider whether barriers to access will reduce the impact. A simple way to overcome this is to ensure DB Primary is used in class on a day to day basis so that the children are familiar with how to log in and how to use the various features offered. This is easy to do, and three suggestions are offered here:
- Use the Learning Library fact files, story books and teaching materials in class as part of lesson delivery. The materials may be built into any part of the lesson – introduction, main teaching or plenary to support other activities. All that is required is access and an interactive whiteboard (or other presentation facility). This is more effective where teachers are familiar with the materials.
- Use the blog and forum in class to discuss key points and ask the children to respond as a home learning activity. This is an excellent route to begin to get children engaged with DB Primary at home. They should quickly become familiar and have knowledge of their passwords and how to navigate the different features of DB Primary, reducing issues if lockdown happens.
- Use the Learning Library activities as part of your regular home learning provision alongside the Task tool. Children will then become familiar with the resource should lockdown happen.
Ensuring access to technology is key, particularly for disadvantaged children.
As well as access to the technology and the Internet, a key area of consideration is supporting children (and their parents) with advice and guidance. Effective use of DB Primary as outlined in 1 above can help achieve this. We took many support calls from parents, as did our schools, when the first national lockdown took place due to parents being unfamiliar with DB Primary and their children not having used it much previously.
This need for support can be massively reduced by ensuring the children are familiar with the platform by using it on a day to day basis and have built up their confidence with using the different features across the platform.
Peer interactions can provide motivation and improve learning outcomes.
Multiple reviews highlight the importance of peer interaction. DB Primary facilitates this in a safe, secure environment in so many ways. The forum and blogging tools are designed for primary children and supported by moderation that may be managed easily by the teacher. They may be used for class discussions, as well as a place to share work and provide feedback. Similarly, the safe email facility ensures that children may have more private discussions through which they may receive more personalised support. Establishing good practice of sharing quality outcomes through the class blog will be essential preparation for local lockdown.
Supporting pupils to work independently can improve learning outcomes.
DB Primary is the perfect tool for independent study. Children’s visits to the Learning Library are recorded through the self-learning audit. They may access resources as they choose within the parameters set by the teacher. Their personal blog also provides an ideal opportunity to develop and reflect on the learning across the school in age-appropriate ways.
Different approaches to remote learning suit different tasks and types of content.
DB Primary offers considerable flexibility from engagement through the Learning Library to collaboration through the communication tools (blog, forum, wiki, email), from open ended tasks provided by teachers to signposted external resources such as Oak National video lessons. The key however is embedding such practices into the day to day work of the school, so that the benefits are felt all year round and are second nature should lockdown of any type be required.
DB Primary has been an integral part of many primary schools’ response to the national lockdown.
It remains a key part as we move forward into 2020-21 academic year. Schools that recognised the value DB could bring during lockdown will undoubtedly build it into their on-going provision. Not only will it be a ‘life-saver’ it will become an essential component of a successful school learning strategy. This is the key for future potential lockdowns, to embed it into practice such that it makes a difference on a day to day basis whatever external circumstances prevail.