The ease, accessibility and potential of digital learning is inspiring an ever-growing community of educators.
According to Pearson’s research, more than a quarter of teachers (26%) believe that the shift to online learning during the pandemic led to increased creativity in lesson delivery or content.
Here, three Pearson National Teaching Award Winners share what this looked like for them, and how EdTech has made an impact on their long-term visions for teaching.
Magic and awe
At Rowledge C of E Primary School, lockdown prompted some wholly imaginative approaches to lessons, in which staff broadcast dances, teachers became secret agents assisting with “undercover learning,” and YouTube videos gained thousands of views.
Deputy headteacher Joe Yates explains: “A huge driver was allowing pupils to interact and engage with us and each other whilst at home.
“Getting creative with our videos and learning themes ensured that families bought in to what we were doing, and continued to bring smiles to our community.
“Technology can take our learners to places they would never be able to reach,” he adds, “in immersive ways that we could not replicate using traditional methods.
“It is an exciting time to be a teacher and I look forward to seeing our teaching evolve with the digital landscape.”
Collaboration and confidence
Meanwhile, educators across the 31 Star Academies schools successfully trialled techniques and shared best practice, with one primary academy – The Olive School, Bolton – commended by the Department for Education as an example of excellence in blended teaching practices.
“A significant number of pupils at the school have English as an additional language – a challenge which was ordinarily met by immersing pupils in vocabulary and syntactic language patterns in school,” Sabina Saeed, the principal, explains.
“During lockdown, we worked to deliver three language-rich remote ‘live’ lessons a day, which prioritised vocabulary development and enabled pupils to interact with staff and peers.
“A ‘story of the week’ gave pupils multiple opportunities to hear, repeat and memorise language patterns.
“As a result, pupils continued to follow the routines that were well established in school and, through regular practice and repetition of language, their vocabulary continued to develop in line with expectations.”
Spurred on by their online learning success throughout the pandemic, EdTech is now firmly embedded in the teaching practices at The Olive School, Bolton – and across Star Academies – and the school is committed to exploring new ways that technology can enhance its pupils’ learning.
At the Deaf Academy, staff seized opportunities to explore everything EdTech could offer, creating adaptive digital approaches where none had been before.
As teacher Matt Jenkins recalled: “To be an academy with no previous experience in online learning, experimenting and really pushing new ways of teaching in deaf education, it was really something special.”
Staff helped learners thrive by spotlighting interpreters on Zoom calls, developing British Sign Language resources that other teachers could use, supervising break-out sessions for social time, developing No-Screen Wednesdays to minimise online fatigue; even spreading their outreach further with a new public online platform, Ask Deaf Teachers.
“Our Online Academy ensured every single child and young person had full access to their education and therapies,” Matt said.
“It was exhilarating, it was as if with entering the pandemic, we were able to redefine our methods of teaching with a whole new toolkit.#
“Students have a high level of self-belief and, even a year on from the Online Academy, students have retained their EdTech skills and use them daily.”
Looking to the future
It’s an exciting time for us all in education as we share these gains in creativity and innovation, shaping solutions for the classroom and beyond.
Together, we can further enable access for all, facilitate teacher and student creativity, and harness insights to enrich every learning journey.
Les Hopper is director of digital and assessment at Pearson. Read more about digital learning and innovation, edtech solutions and free support from Pearson here.