Due to the challenges around school visits and covid security at the moment, the CLC’s teaching team has been delivering more and more of our pupils’ sessions virtually. But what actually happens in a virtual London CLC workshop? Teaching and learning consultant Rowan Roberts explains how it all works.
Our virtual workshops are designed to include a mixture of real-time instruction and demonstration, with interactive, collaborative tasks. For example, we might use Google Meet or Zoom to explain the first activity, so the children can see and hear us, but also using screen sharing to model the activity. We’ve found that it’s really important to keep these parts of virtual workshops very clear and concise, and to make sure that children have access to instructions in another format (such as video or PDF) so they can check back if they forget something. This also acts as an asynchronous resource that can be accessed by children who are at home.
Pupils typically view live sections via their teacher’s laptop and class whiteboard and, if any clarification is needed, the class teacher plays a crucial role in feeding that back to us. Once the children know what to do, we point them towards a web service through which they can complete the activity. We love using Padlet for pupil activities (check out our guide to using Padlet with your class) as this allows us to watch them making their contributions in real time – sometimes as a paired task or sometimes individually. We can check for understanding, pull out any interesting questions or examples, and feed back on pupils’ work.
Again though, it’s key for us to be constantly communicating with the teacher. Before running the session we set up a short meeting with the teacher to run through the technical aspects of the session as well as familiarising them with the content, and during the workshop we ask the teacher to take an active role in communicating whether the children might need a recap on something or if they think it’s time to move on to the next task.
For us, one of the most rewarding aspects of working in this way has been working collaboratively with teachers and empowering them to take a really proactive role in the sessions, something that we hope will better equip them to run similar digital activities with pupils in the future. It also allows us to model the use of online tools that can support blended learning, some of which may be useful for teachers in their own practice.