Watching Higher Ed from afar and seeing some discussion of online teaching, in the face of the coronavirus, from school teachers, Alan’s post is really valuable.

But really, if I was helping folks, my suggestion an strategy would be… do as little as possible online. Use online for communicating, caring, attending to people’s needs, but not really for being the “course”. Flip that stuff outside.

I am reading that along with: HEWN, No. 344 – HEWN (Hack Education Weekly Newsletter):

‘This may be our moment,’ ed-tech folks exclaim, giddily sharing lists of their favorite digital learning tools (with little concern, it seems for questions of accessibility, privacy, or security) and tips for quickly moving ‘to the cloud.’

In schools I have no doubt that there are some (more than some?) classes that are already tooled up and are fortunate that their pupils all have good access, practised with the software and  savvy parents and teachers. If not diving into high bandwidth apps or ones that need the ability to navigate a complex UI might not work that well.

Athole has been teaching primary online for 6 weeks:

I suspect his pupils might have better home kit, access and tech support? Athole I’d love to know.

My thoughts at the moment are, unless there are school, LA or national diktats :

  1. A place to post stuff that is easy for me and familiar for the pupils (for us most probably a blog)
    On that the stuff might be:

    • Links to practise that the pupils are already familiar with, sumdog, some of my own pages, the odd quiz.
    • Ideas for open ending learning either on or offline.
    • Thing that can be done on paper or with easily available materials.
  2. A couple of lightweight ways for contact, email, which hopefully most parents will be able to support and possibly Teams, although not all my pupils can use Teams at home. I’ve only used it a couple of times in class to discuss comms software, I can usually communicate with most of my class by talking;-)

I am sure if I am in the situation of teaching from home my instincts would be make something, but I think that might serve my own itchs rather than my pupils.

I might be tempted to try a multiplayer Minecraft Edu edition as we have dipped our toes in it for maths work, but it might be quick tricky across different home networks. My pupils enthusiasm for the game might make it worth it.

I am glad I am not in the position of supporting pupils heading for exams.

At School we just used @TinkeringStudio’s Cardboard Automata project to do some ‘cardboard engineering’ I was pretty pleased with the way it came out. I was fairly prescriptive with the first mechanical parts and gave almost no advice for the creative bit.

Working with a multi-composite class made this pretty interesting. If I’d just had p6-7 I would have probably given them the instruction sheets and let them get on with it helping where needed. As it was I managed to split work into sections and gave verbal and demos for each without, I hope, frustration the older children too much.

We managed to incorporate a fair bit of maths (measure, division, shape) along with skills for work, problem solving and creativity which I think justified the time spent. I hope to try out some of the other TinkeringStudio projects.

There is a quick video of some of the finished results on the class blog.

Replied to Micro:bit Educational Foundation on Twitter (Twitter)

“We’re delighted to launch our new #microbit coding platform, created with @Nominet, including new resources & #microbitClassroom – a unique coding space for 2 minute lesson setup! https://t.co/B7It8jPyjs #edtech #edchat #STEM #coding”

micro:bit classroom
This looks as if it might be a really neat idea, local storage, no sign-in for teacher or pupils. Download everything and resume session later.
I am wondering if it will, now or soon, work with the iOS micro:bit app?

There has been discussion of the difficulty of discovering UI features on modern Apple Devices vs Classic mac on apple-centric sites, to which I was nodding my head. Today I notice a pupil’s screen, split view and split undocked keyboard. Features I don’t use and didn’t teach.

Listened Slow Teaching with Jamie Thom from Becoming Educated

Jamie Thom is a full time English Teacher, host of the TES English Teaching Podcast and author of ‘Slow Teaching: finding calm, clarity and impact in the classroom’. Jamie is also set to rele…

I enjoyed listening to this episode on the way home tonight. I’m interested in other ‘slow places’ (food,  The Daily Stillness for example) so this was a good listen.

I am not sure why I’ve not listened to this Scottish Educational Podcast before. Now subbed. Hope to listen to the episodes with David Cameron (the provocative education one) soon.

Office for iOS

The new Office app simplifies how you work on a phone by combining Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into one app and adds mobile-first features so you can get more done all from one app. This app maintains all the functionality of the existing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps but requires far less phone storage than using three separate apps. New features leveraging the camera help you create content in uniquely mobile ways. Additionally, the app includes a new Actions tab so you can accomplish many common mobile tasks without needing to switch between apps.

Works with Glow’s O365 education accounts.

I don’t use office apps on my phone very often except for office lens.
This looks like an interesting development.
The quote above was grabbed with the Image to text function. This seems less powerful than Lens (no immersive reader) but allows you to copy text without a trip to OneDrive/Word which is handy. For my use, as opposed to pupil’s, it should be more useful.