Bridgnorth Endowed has successfully rolled out its ambitious programme of live online lessons to all year groups across the school, following its initial launch to Year 10 students in May.
When it comes to remote learning strategies, interactive live lessons are a game-changer and have led the way in terms of communication, collaboration and quality of learning.
Assistant head, Mr Street, explained: “Although our students have been working really hard, with over 50,000 pieces of work being submitted since the school closed, we wanted to offer them more.”
“Whilst we know there’s no substitute for the classroom, face-to-face teaching using video conferencing technology is the closest thing to the experience that we are able to offer in the current circumstances.”
At the start of lockdown, students were inevitably set cover type work but remote teaching has evolved at pace and the exciting new package includes live lessons at set times through Microsoft Teams.
Staff adapt to online teaching
Staff have taken a positive approach to this new way of teaching and explored a broad range of functions and techniques to get the best results for their pupils.
Within Teams, teachers are able to converse with their class, show PowerPoint presentations, write on the Microsoft whiteboard, share files and websites, and encourage their students to participate through chat and even a virtual ‘hands up’.
Art teacher, Mrs Rhodes, commented: “It’s been a steep learning curve to adapt from teaching in the classroom to engaging with students via a webcam, but it’s great to be able to interact with them again in real time.”
Different teachers are taking different approaches with the technology, after time spent pinpointing the best ways to introduce and explain particular concepts.
Teacher, Mr Parmar, said: “Although, my first lesson started with me squinting down the camera and asking loudly if students could see me, the new format is working extremely well for maths.”
“I’m using an interactive whiteboard to work through maths calculations and troubleshoot any difficulties as they come up, rather than pupils having to wait for feedback or help.”
Microsoft Teams also lends itself perfectly to other online classes such as food, where cooking techniques can be easily captured by an overhead camera set up above the demonstration table.
Strong student engagement
Students have been quick to embrace the new-style lessons and, on average, attendance has been around 80% – a figure that is testament to the school’s determination to invest in this approach.
When asked about the live lessons, Hannah Tranter from Year 10 echoed what most students have reported: “The face-to-face teaching on Teams is just like being in a lesson. It’s a lot more interactive and feels really normal.”
With schools set to reopen in September, Bridgnorth Endowed is putting plans in place to fully support students in catching up through outstanding classroom teaching.
However, with an uncertain period ahead, live online lessons are expected to continue to play a significant role in the education sector for some time to come.