Eight things school computing leaders learned during lockdown

Every week since lockdown we’ve been hosting a weekly virtual meet up for computing subject leaders to share their experiences and challenges and learn from each other. With the last meeting of this academic year this week, we thought it would be interesting to hear everyone’s reflections and insights about what they’ve learned during this unusual period. Here’s their top eight:

1. We all need technology…

The period of remote learning has lifted the status of computing and the use of digital technology in schools – where once computing used to be pushed to the side as a subject it is now at the forefront and digital technology is being used in every curriculum area.

2. …And digital skills

The silver lining is that everyone has been forced to upskill, gaps have been identified and met and the whole school is better prepared for online learning.

3. It’s good to share

The weekly virtual meetings with other computing subject leaders have been really helpful to hear what other schools are doing and get ideas and opinions, adding weight to conversations with SLTs in school.

4. Keep it simple

Developing a flexible approach to communicating with parents, keeping it simple and to the point and using 2-step check-ins with families (to ensure that information has got through and teachers are keeping in touch with all pupils eg email and then phone call) has worked well.

5. Keep an eye

Monitoring parental engagement and taking steps to ensure more vulnerable families are kept informed has been important.

6. Tailor it

Evaluating the digital and technical tools being used in the school and tailoring them to suit the needs of the pupils, such as Google classroom being used for KS2 but not KS1, or being used in a different way for KS1, has worked really well. Along with trying to do things in different ways – for example using Purple Mash for children to collaborate.

7. Mix it up

Teachers have been using a variety of video platforms with different benefits, eg:

Vimeo – avoids some of the safeguarding concerns of other platforms, making it more appropriate for younger year groups.

YouTube – very accessible and easy to share with families but the settings and means of sharing need careful consideration (see our guide).

Green screen – engaging!

Loom – nice combination of teacher visibility on screen and easily shared pupils’ work

8. But keep it safe

Safeguarding and online safety policies have been reviewed and developed to cater for pupils working remotely.  Virtual sessions for parents on online safety have worked well.

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