Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to rethink how we work, teach and live. At Copernicus, distancing ourselves in our office space was tricky, but we got creative and while the weather was nice, we took our Flat Panel Easel outside to hold meetings. The large screen made it easier for everyone to see even while distanced from each other.
Educators had to get creative in how they delivered lessons to their students too—and quickly. Within a few weeks, some school districts had plans rolled out while educators, students and parents began to adapt.
As the pandemic continues, the use of technology has become more important than ever to keep students safely engaged whether they are in the classroom or at home. For regions that were already familiar with remote teaching, like Australia, the transition was naturally easier. What can we learn from these other approaches? By working together and with the help of technology, learning can continue, even at a distance—the front of the classroom can be anywhere!
A look back at Australia’s history with interactive technology and remote learning:
It all started in 2007, when the Department of Education in New South Wales implemented the Connected Classrooms Program (CCP). Through this program, they standardized video conferencing tools, SMART Boards and collaboration software to ensure curriculum could be delivered effectively across all of its 2200 schools.
“By 2010, 81% of NSW public schools had an interactive classroom.” -Sue Beveridge, Connected Classrooms Program
The world's largest classroom
Since the early 1980’s, the Katherine School of the Air has provided distance learning to children of the Australian Outback. They use many platforms including mail, television, 3-way radio and computer (where a dependable internet connection is available). Interestingly, they provide shortwave radios to every family to help keep connected over this vast area. To date, the school covers 800,000 square kilometers (about twice the size of Texas).
Students learning remotely in Wuyagiba, Northern Territory, Australia two-way Pre-Uni Course at the Wuyagiba Study Hub.
Technology and Remote Learning in Other Parts of the World
Many other countries around the world, including Bangladesh, South Korea and Singapore had remote learning as a part of their education systems on a variety of scales for many years. Bangladesh has been able to continue to modify their learning because of the early measures for distance learning put in place in 2008 by the English in Action Programme (EIA).
EIA helps the country’s teachers, primary and high school students learn English. The program creators leveraged technology, negotiated with internet providers for lower rates and collaborated across levels of government to make it work. This program is still running and includes the use of mobile phones to create and share audio and video lessons along with radio, television and print resources for students. The experience with the EIA initiative had educational television programming rolled out to students in Bangladesh within a week of COVID-19 school closures.
In the United States, collaboration between businesses helped develop digital learning. The Sesame Workshop (created by Sesame Street), is still as committed to inclusion as they were fifty years ago when they began by providing bilingual, multicultural content. Recently, they created platform for play and learning for early childhood aged kids and they partnered with IBM and the Gwinnet County Public Schools in Georgia, to pilot a tablet-based learning app.
In response to the pandemic, they partnered with CNN to create a special broadcast for parents and children on the coronavirus, addressing topics such as anxiety, education and more.
7 Key takeaways for successful remote learning from other regions:
- Early preparation: the areas that introduced technology to their curriculum prior to pandemic have adapted quicker to new methods of remote teaching and learning.
- Support from district leaders and parents is crucial for learning success.
- All students and educators need access to devices and reliable internet to participate.
- Negotiating lower prices for internet access is worth the effort.
- Collaboration across government and public-private partnerships to develop a backup plan makes it more flexible.
- Educator training and instruction standardization streamlines the process and is more cost effective.
- Using a multi-platform approach (mobile, websites, television, printed materials) ensures a wider reach.
For more detailed recommendations, read this study from the Education Development Trust.
3 Ways flat panel carts help schools adapt to physical distancing:
- Many schools are considering smaller class sizes and different configurations for physical distancing. Mounting a flat panel to a mobile cart makes it really easy to move and share as classrooms and layouts are changed.
- With the use of a large screen and audio equipment, lessons can be provided to students who are physically distanced.
- Students can share their work on the classroom flat panel via screen mirroring or with a document camera without having to leave their seat or touching the display.
There is also a bonus for busy IT staff: Compared to projectors, flat panels are very easy to use and do not require calibration, so teachers can use them with minimal setup or tech experience. Some flat panel manufacturers come with remote access so going from room to room for repairs and troubleshooting is not necessary.
With the right tools, the front of the classroom can be anywhere! Here’s how:
Some schools are removing flat panels from walls and placing them on carts, like our iRover2 to accommodate changing layouts as classrooms shift from completely virtual to hybrid (asynchronous or synchronous) learning models.
Projects such as book reports that show a student’s writing skills can be shared using a document camera and projected onto an interactive whiteboard.
Learn more about our Dewey the Document Camera Stand.
Get great ideas and inspiration from k-5 educator Tricia Fuglestad on Twitter, Instagram or her blog!
Small webcams can be attached to the top of the flat panel with double-sided tape to record and broadcast lessons to students learning remotely.
Tech in the classroom is more than just staring at a screen!
When it comes to creating engaging and interactive lessons for students, we often think of technology. However, getting creative with items around the classroom or outdoors, combined with technology, can help keep students excited and engaged in learning. Do you have an interesting interactive learning idea to share? Tag us on Instagram @copernicuseducationalproducts, Twitter @copernicused or Facebook. We would love to share your ideas with our community!
In the meantime, here are a couple of ideas we found:
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