During the course of 2020, The UK along with every other country has faced prolonged periods of enforced closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Today, across the world each country is at a different stage in their ongoing battle to balance the needs of their economies with the health and wellbeing of their populations and education continues to play a massive part in the latter.
Schools, colleges and universities all, at one stage or another had to shift quickly to distance learning models as both learners and the staff that taught them worked through their curriculums remotely. It was a sudden and dramatic shift from life in the classroom, requiring innovative teaching methods, a range of new and updated safeguarding policies and a real ‘can do’ attitude from teaching staff and curriculum leaders to overcome the logistical challenges that came with such a seismic shift.
Without video, hardly any of it would have been possible…
Adapting to a new way of teaching
E-Learning is still very much a part of the routine across schools and further education campuses as classes find themselves split in half to allow for social distancing with one week in the classroom then one week learning from home.
Thanks to video, the impact this has caused has been minimal on the curriculum with lessons delivered via video and help and support delivered via remote platforms such as Moodle and Google classroom.
Careful thought has been needed in how best to deliver learning materials and lectures via video. Classrooms are interactive with face-to-face contact; both are far more challenging when teaching via video.
What video can do however is build that same sense of community and give teachers a platform to introduce themselves. They can also script carefully, the challenging concepts or learning outcomes which might easily be misunderstood, for learners to engage with as often as they need to.
Feedback, discussion and questions to stretch and challenge learners can then be delivered in the form of screencasts or written comments via their online learning platform.
Video in distance learning has become a dynamic, innovative way to teach and it is a way that has proven popular with learners.
Planning and delivering the best learning experience
Video has played an equally vital role in bring teaching staff and learning teams together via applications such as Zoom, Microsoft teams and Google meets.
Meetings, curriculum planning and regular contact with other departments are all vital aspects of delivering the best learning experience in schools, colleges and universities. These are all tasks that take up just as much of a teacher’s professional life as delivering lessons.
Almost without exception, video conferencing has become the new normal as the need for working off- site continues for many.
Using video for pastoral support
Student support is just as vital as the learning experience and the pastoral services that secondary and further education services provide are more important than ever.
Video has made these services more convenient to access for many young people at a time when problems such as anxiety, stress and other mental health or wellbeing problems are high.
Counsellors, safeguarding teams and in-class support staff can be available more easily when they are needed and young people have shown to be far more likely to access such services via smartphones or tablets than they might otherwise be if they were physically on campus.
Whilst it has been challenging at times to ensure students have the equipment they need to access remote learning, such as laptops, tablets or the bandwidth at home to access videos at times when others might be using their home internet. Distance learning and the widespread use of video in education have proven to be one of the welcome success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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