Intuition - May 2020

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The journal for professional teachers and trainers in the further education and training sector

set.et-foundation.co.uk

SPECIAL ISSUE May 2020

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VIRTUAL REALITY

How to make online courses work for teachers and students 01 COVER_Intuition Special Issue_Intuition 1

Continue your own professional development 11

How teachers from different backgrounds are adapting 14

Maintain a positive mindset in difficult circumstances

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ATS

‘participating in the ATS process has had a positive impact on my practice’ APPLICATION WINDOW NOW OPEN FOR OCTOBER 2020 START

YOUR ROUTE TO BECOMING A CHARTERED TEACHER

Professional development for experienced and advanced teachers Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) is the badge of advanced professionalism and mastery in further education and training.

NEW 20 FOR 20

New for 2020, the eligibility criteria* has been widened to enable those advanced practitioners who do not hold QTLS or QTS, but LEZI FIIR XIEGLMRK JSV EX PIEWX ƤZI ]IEVW XS ETTP] JSV %87

Apply for the ATS programme: set.etfoundation.co.uk/ats 7II 7)8 [IFWMXI JSV JYPP HIXEMPW SJ %87 IPMKMFMPMX] GVMXIVME [LMGL MRGPYHIW LSPHMRK E QMRMQYQ SJ E PIZIP XIEGLMRK UYEPMƤGEXMSR

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SPECIAL ISSUE MAY 2020

WELCOME

MARTIN REID COVER ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK GEORGE

The show must go on

CONTENTS 4

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ONLINE COURSES Develop online learning that preserves the immediacy, relevance and richness of a group education experience

7 ETF: HERE TO HELP The Education and Training Foundation is offering a range of online CPD, webinars and support during the ‘new normal’ and beyond

11 DAY IN THE LIFE The lockdown is reframing all our lives, but professionals in the sector are rising to the challenge of remote working in innovative ways

14 MENTAL WELLBEING ADVICE Embrace home-working and help others – Jennifer Hart of Education Support on maintaining a positive mindset in unprecedented times

elcome to this special edition of inTuition, which we’ve developed to help support teachers, trainers and leaders across post-14 education with the challenges currently facing the sector. Firstly, I’d like to thank our members for what you’ve been doing to help during this period. You are our ‘key workers’, helping to ensure learning continues where possible, even in difficult circumstances. We’ve been humbled by examples of your support within the sector and your local communities; some of which appear in our Day in the Life feature, on page 11. As I write this, the UK is still in lockdown. By now, many of you will have embraced the concept of working in new ways, often from home, in a way that would have seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. Developments in education technology (EdTech) and the improvements we’ve seen in broadband over the last decade mean it’s now possible to keep teachers and learners connected over the internet, while the use of video conferencing technology has helped maintain vital

YOU ARE OUR ‘KEY WORKERS’, HELPING TO ENSURE LEARNING CONTINUES WHERE POSSIBLE

EDITOR: Nick Martindale

DIRECTOR: Martin Reid

LEAD DESIGNER: David Twardawa

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING: Mark Brooks

InTuition is published on behalf of the The Society for Education and Training

SUBEDITOR: James Hundleby PICTURE RESEARCHER: Claire Echavarry

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visual contact. But making online learning work in practice will be a new skill for many, and Sandra Rennie outlines a few tips to help do this on page 4. It’s important, too, that your own professional development and learning isn’t forgotten about. We’ve been bringing you an expanded range of online learning and content, including exclusive webinars offering practical support from the Education and Training Foundation. You can find out more on page 7. It’s also important to pay attention to wellbeing and mental health, both your own and that of your learners, family and friends. Our piece from Education Support on page 14 provides pointers on how you can take measures to manage stress and increase resilience in difficult times for all. It’s times like these when the UK shows just how resilient it is, and the FE sector can be proud of the way it has responded to the coronavirus challenge. While we all yearn for things to return to our previous normal, the health and wellbeing of people and society comes first. Stay safe.

NATIONAL HEAD OF HIGHER LEVEL EDUCATION: Paul Kessell-Holland

MARTIN REID, DIRECTOR, SET

157-197 Buckingham Palace Road London, SW1W 9SP +44 (0)20 3567 5999 membership.enquiries@ etfoundation.co.uk set.et-foundation.co.uk

While every care has been taken in the compilation of this magazine, errors or omissions are not the responsibility of the publishers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial staff. All rights reserved. Unless specifically stated, goods or services mentioned are not formally endorsed by the Society for Education and Training, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. ISSN: 2050-8980

SPECIAL ISSUE MAY 2020 INTUITION 3

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FEATURE

ONLINE COURSES

Virtual reality Many teachers will be exploring how to conduct online learning for the first time. But while there are specific elements that require thought and understanding, many of the principles of teaching still apply. Sandra Rennie outlines a few tips based on her own experience hatting on Skype with my grandson about an essay he had just written and was about to submit on the school internet site, I told him I needed to go off and write an article on online learning. Lazily, I asked him for input suggestions. “I don’t know anything about online learning; I’ve never done it!” he said. This made me laugh and yet it gives a lovely illustration of how ‘online learning’ means many things to many people. When you are chatting online in the comfort of your own home, the conversational interchange may seem far too relaxed to constitute ‘learning’. When you are

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submitting homework via Moodle, Edmodo or Satchel One or whatever virtual learning environment (VLE) your college or centre is currently using, it may just look like you are fulfilling their administration requirements not ‘doing online learning’. What are the ways you can develop online learning that include those at home unable to attend your class in person, but at the same time preserve the immediacy, relevance and the richness of a group education experience? Here are five tips I have picked up from my own experience of online courses undertaken both as a student and as a teacher.

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ONLINE COURSES

FEATURE

CARRY ON TEACHING

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The first, most important, tip is do not throw all the pedagogy theory out the window just because you are not sitting in the same room as your students. Do you find yourself uploading text documents and Powerpoint slides to the college VLE, then giving long, online lectures and expecting your students to listen and learn? If so, ask yourself what would you be doing in a physical classroom? As a teacher, surely you would make sure you had carried out introductions for all ‘attendees’ and welcomed newcomers into your class? As learning tools, you would use mini-quizzes, opinion polls, pauses in the lesson for student feedback, student-paired chats or peer assessment – so plan to use these activities also in your online class.

DON’T OVERCOMPLICATE

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The second tip is don’t reinvent the wheel. The VLE you are already using might be perfectly adequate for all your needs. It is tempting to want to learn new ICT skills such as making whiteboard animations using products like Video Scribe, but these all-singing, all-dancing applications can become a distraction. You are a teacher, not an artist, an animator or an actor – however useful these skills may be, they should be seen as an added extra in your class.

CATER FOR ALL

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The third tip is be as inclusive as you can with your courses and make your resources accessible to those with hearing and visual difficulties and to ICT beginners. Ensure you have subtitles on your videos (sometimes called captions). The quickest way to do this is on YouTube by using a YouTube app to produce captions for you. The app listens to your video and adds the subtitles automatically – but machines don’t have perfect listening skills, so you do need to check it and amend it

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FEATURE

ONLINE COURSES

afterwards. If you use a .pdf file make sure it can be read by text reader. Don’t just take photos of text documents and upload these. Instead drop your image into Google Drive and open it as a Google Doc and it will convert your image into text.

MAKE IT SOCIAL

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The fourth tip is to value and promote learning as a social experience. Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, GotoWebinar and other such social platforms can be used for oneto-one meetings or group video sessions. For face-to-face interactions online, each platform has its own unique selling point. Skype is commonly used by many people to chat to friends and relatives abroad, so many adults are likely to already have the app on their computer desktop or mobile phone. This is good if you want to increase access among those still unfamiliar with ICT. I use Zoom for meetings because it is simple to use, has a free version and seems less likely than other platforms to come crashing down if there are problems with bandwidth. GotoWebinar has an interesting feature that measures the attentiveness of students during a webinar and gives the teacher feedback on those who are not paying attention. Google Hangouts fits in well with using

BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT IS DIFFERENT IN THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT OF AN ONLINE COURSE – THERE IS MUCH LESS ROOM FOR IMPROVISATION other Google apps like Google Docs, and enables us to share editable documents easily with our students. Behaviour management is different in the social environment of an online course – plan and rehearse the learning event beforehand, and ask colleagues or a couple of responsible students to take on support roles. Otherwise you may find it hard to monitor the interactions and keep all the students totally engaged. In a webinar with more than a dozen participants you may need to allocate people to the roles of organiser, a coorganiser and a panellist. The organiser facilitates the whole experience and may also give a brief lecture. The co-organiser will help with technical issues and spot ‘raised hands’ flashing on the screen or flag up questions in the chat room that you may well have missed. The panellist will provide variety and expert input to help keep your student attendees motivated and interested.

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MAKE IT RELEVANT

The final tip is to make your learning resources as professional and as relevant for students as you can. If you have lots of time and want to develop a course that will be available online for others to access in future, then consider using a formal learning management system (LMS). There are some LMS platforms available for free, for example Teachable (teachable.com), Thinkific (thinkific. com) or Udemy (udemy.com). As a teacher, I don’t aim to be the sole provider of information to my

students or a gatekeeper for information – this is against my preferred pedagogy (see tip one). After reviewing some of the LMS available, as a beginner I decided to use ‘Thinkific’, mainly because the customer service is good and this platform provides some clear course design training videos. For audio recordings use the best microphone you can find – not the one built into your computer. Even an up-todate mobile phone may produce a better sound recording than your computer, especially if you record in a broom cupboard with good sound dampening. But, even better, use a specialist digital audio recorder and use a programme like Audacity or Adobe Audition to edit the sound and remove any unwanted noise. When making video or audio recordings, make a storyboard of it first so you know each stage of your learning journey. The storyboard needs to be more visual than your lesson plan might have been. It should contain the images or words you want to remain in the mind of your learner after they’ve played these recordings. Write a script if you need to, but don’t just read it out otherwise your students will know and will switch off their listening brains. Use your script as an aide-mémoire so you don’t forget what you planned to say next. No one wants to hear the ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, but listeners do want to feel the content is authentic. If you are audio-recording a lecture you don’t need to edit out all the errors, just those mistakes that interfere with coherence or consistency. Some errors can be used as teaching aids: we want students to recognise that everyone makes mistakes and we also want them to learn erroridentifying and problem-solving skills. You may have different tips and more creative suggestions of your own to make. The joy of online learning is that SANDRA RENNIE we can use heads the SEQUALS training centre in constant evaluative Yorkshire, and feedback and social Shipley, is a member of SET’s networking to Practitioner Advisory Group. Her current learn from each online course Teaching other and improve Challenges is available on the process. sequals.thinkific.com

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HERE TO HELP

PROFESSIONAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Helping you respond to your changing needs

ABOUT THE ETF The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) is the professional workforce development body for the further education (FE) and training sector. We believe the key to improving education and training is to support teachers, trainers and leaders like you to excel – to be the best you can be. We do this by commissioning and delivering first-class continuous professional development (CPD) which is supported by the Department for Education (DfE). This is designed to help you better teach, train and support your learners and students. This CPD ranges from core maths and English support through to Prevent training,

GUIDE

supporting learners with SEND and the use of learning technology. It also includes a range of leadership and management development programmes, practitioner networks and access to the latest research resources. We also are responsible for the Society for Education and Training (SET), our membership body with 20,000 members and growing. With so much currently having to change from delivering teaching and training in person to a ‘new normal’ of delivering as much as possible through digital tools, the ETF and SET are offering a range of support to the sector to aid this change through this period. The following pages offer information on what support is available including a range of webinars, resources and other CPD support with more being offered weekly.

ONLINE CPD RESOURCES We offer a large range of online support, CPD, resources and networks for everyone in the FE sector – including teachers, trainers, managers, leaders and࣢governors

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HERE TO HELP

EDTECH TRAINING SUPPORT Our Enhance Digital Teaching Platform (enhance.etfoundation.co.uk) provides free, online, bite-size training mapped to the Digital Teaching Professional Framework (DTPF) to help practitioners develop their use of technology in teaching, learning and assessment.

KEY WEBSITES AND RESOURCES ETF CPD BOOKING SITE booking.etfoundation.co.uk

Search for bookable online CPD courses and webinars. New courses are added throughout the year.

enhance.etfoundation.co.uk/dtpf

The digital teaching practice modules help practitioners develop and innovate to engage learners and improve outcomes. The support is provided in two key ways: 1. HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR ESSENTIAL DIGITAL SKILLS enhance.etfoundation.co.uk/eds/interactive

For those wanting to develop their essential digital skills and prepare to teach courses for the new digital entitlement (see bit.ly/gov-digital-skills), we have a range of online modules mapped to the national standards.

Resources, support and courses for middle managers, leaders, senior staff, governors and clerks.

DELIVERY THROUGH A VIRTUAL CLASSROOM booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/732

PRACTITIONER EVIDENCE AND RESEARCH HUB (PREP) excellencegateway.org.uk/prep

ADAPTING CONTENT QUICKLY TO DELIVER ONLINE booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/733

MAKING THE MOST OF ONLINE LEARNING booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/728

THE EXCELLENCE GATEWAY excellencegateway.org.uk

LEADERSHIP HUB leadershiphub.etfoundation.co.uk

Across March and April, the ETF recorded a series of free, online webinars to support colleagues across the FE sector, you can watch all of these on demand.

SUPPORTING LEARNERS WITH ONLINE READING SKILLS booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/736

Online CPD, resources, research, blogs, articles, member offers and more.

Over 7,500 resources to browse, covering topics such as guidance, effective practice, research and CPD.

EDTECH CPD WEBINARS

MAKING WEBINARS MORE INCLUSIVE booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/737

SET set.et-foundation.co.uk

Online learning programmes, CPD modules and free teaching resources in areas including ESOL, governance, and equality and diversity.

Identifies and provides links to the EdTech and Essential Digital Skills training modules relevant to individual needs.

ENGAGING LEARNERS IN VLEs booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/735

Up-to-date courses and range of platforms offering first-class CPD resources.

FOUNDATION ONLINE LEARNING foundationonline.org.uk

2. A GUIDE TO EDTECH AND ESSENTIAL DIGITAL SKILLS TRAINING FOR REMOTE WORKING enhance.etfoundation.co.uk/content/pages/resourcesfor-remote-working

SUPPORTING LEARNERS IN VLEs booking.etfoundation.co.uk/course/details/734

CPD COURSES FOR FE TEACHERS etfoundation.co.uk/courses

Collection of resources generated by practitioner researchers involved in our programmes.

Each webinar has supporting modules on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform

PREVENT FOR FE preventforfeandtraining.org.uk

Online training to comply with Prevent duty and safeguarding. ETF LEARNERS etflearners.org.uk

Online Prevent training aimed at learners. The short courses cover issues including staying safe online. ETF NEWSLETTERS efoundation.co.uk/newsletters

Sign up to receive ETF news, upcoming CPD courses as well as selected topics of interest.

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HERE TO HELP

GUIDE

OUR APPRENTICESHIP WEBPAGES

offer online support for apprenticeship delivery, end-point assessment and employer engagement. etfoundation.co.uk/apprenticeships

We have launched our

#ETFSupportsFE campaign to promote the support that the ETF and the sector are providing the FE workforce in adapting to new ways of working. Follow the hashtag on Twitter for CPD and sector support updates

MATHS AND ENGLISH SUPPORT OUR REGIONAL SPECIALIST LEADS

(RSLs) have taken their meet-ups online and are hosting popular lunchtime events for their networks. If you would like to join your local network, contact your area’s RSL. etfoundation.co.uk/rsl THE FIRST EDITIONS OF THE CENTRES FOR EXCELLENCE IN MATHS HANDBOOKS have been published online

and sensory and hearing impairments.

excellencegateway.org.uk/ content/etf2859 THE SEND EXCELLENCE GATEWAY

offers resources supporting learners with SEND. This includes information on our Centres for Excellence in SEND, which provide expert support for leaders, managers and practitioners who wish to put learners with SEND at the centre of their organisation. send.excellencegateway.org.uk

FURTHER ETF SUPPORT STUDY PROGRAMME SUPPORT (etfoundation. co.uk/studyprogramme)

offers support for the work placement, social action and embedding maths and English aspects of 16 to 19 study programmes. The recent National Advanced Practitioner Conference was held online, and follow-up resources can be found on our blog.

etfoundation.co.uk/blog/ apconnect-live-2020 TEACH TOO offers development programme support and an invitation to join a leadership hub, where colleagues share how they are addressing current challenges. etfoundation.co.uk/teachtoo T LEVEL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES

DYSLEXIA RESOURCES that give advice and guidance regarding best practices for supporting dyslexic learners are being updated and streamed on our Foundation Online Learning site.

Online teaching and training modules for the first phase to support T Level professional development can be found on the ETF’s website. Additional support will become available.

etfoundation.co.uk/cfem

foundationonline.org.uk/course/index. php?categoryid=15

etfoundation.co.uk/tlpdresources

SUPPORT FOR LEARNERS WITH SEND

APPRENTICESHIP SUPPORT

to support maths teaching up to Level 2 in post-16 settings. The four evidence-based resources cover the programme’s themes of activity: mastery, contextualisation, motivating and engaging learners, and data and technology.

OUR MINDFUL TOOLKIT CARDS

developed and trialled by a group of prison-based learning support specialists working with learners with SEND. Each task card is mapped to a SEND pathway: communication and interaction; learning and cognition; social, emotional and mental health;

THE EMBEDDING MATHS AND ENGLISH IN APPRENTICESHIPS

INTUITION journals from 2019 have been made available free on the SET website. Members can access all previous inTuition issues and supplements. set.et-foundation.co.uk/intuitionprevious-editions SET BLOGS AND ARTICLES

packages are being extended and updated throughout 2020. The improved webinars reflect the needs of homeworking and online learning.

Resources, ideas and tips for SET members, including extra tips for teaching online, can be found on the SET website.

booking.etfoundation.co.uk/ go/embedding

set.et-foundation.co.uk/ blogs-and-articles

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GUIDE

HERE TO HELP

SUPPORTING THE ‘NEW NORMAL’ FOR TEACHING AND TRAINING STAFF Vikki Liogier, the ETF’s national head of EdTech and digital skills earning providers across the further education and training sector have had to adopt a new working normal. Staff have moved teaching online at remarkable speed, but the technology itself does not always ensure a quality learning experience. Nor can staff be expected to know automatically how to adopt the technology to best effect without experience and training. The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has been focusing for some time on how to support staff to develop their confidence and skills in using EdTech. In 2018, the ETF launched a national EdTech competency framework, the Digital Teaching Professional Framework, to provide a set of professional standards for technology-enhanced learning and a common understanding of digital skills development. To help staff make progress, the ETF then launched the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform early in 2019, a usercentred online training service offering bite-size EdTech training modules. Uptake was swift and feedback showed that staff appreciated the practical, justin-time focus of the training approach. This was recognised further this year when the platform received one of the prized EdTech 50 Awards for People, Products and Projects judged by the sector to be influential. There are now 100 modules that cover different aspects of the Digital Teaching Professional Framework, offering a mix of information, prompts for reflection and practical tips. Earlier this year, a second fully subsidised offer was added to the platform, covering Essential Digital Skills mapped to the national standards launched in April 2019.

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To help staff navigate easily to relevant training, the ETF has published A Guide to EdTech and Essential Digital Skills Training for Remote Working (see link on page 8). The guide identifies and provides links to training modules on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform which can contribute to developing the knowledge, skills and understanding required for teaching and learning online. Authored by Bob Powell and Geoff Rebbeck, it is based around a simple model of teaching practice and online skills (see figure below). The ETF has also developed a new series of free online webinars – available as recordings on the ETF’s booking system. These have focused on how to ensure that the remote learning experience is as accessible and inclusive as possible for all types of learner. Each webinar directs viewers to online training modules, so that participants can follow up areas of interest.

A model of teaching practice and online skills as featured in Bob Powell and Geoff Rebbeck’s guide to digital skills and remote working

The appetite for this kind of support is evident. The webinars have been extremely well supported and there has been a surge in registrations and module usage on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform. Since the middle of March, there have been nearly double the number of sign-ups on the platform and nearly four times the number of EdTech modules completed. How will this experience change the sector? What will happen when the lockdown is relaxed or ended? Will there be a sigh of relief and an automatic reversion to previous ways of working? Or will the use of technology and some of the digital teaching skills that staff have developed carry through into business as usual? Part of the answer lies in the impact on learners. For some learners, anecdotal evidence suggests that new delivery approaches and use of different digital media may be removing barriers to their learning. For other learners, lack of tech and connectivity is making it harder to access learning, exacerbating the social divide. The current situation is shining a light on the importance of opening up access to learning through technology for all students, whatever their specific needs or socioeconomic circumstances. In time, as we revert back to old ways, there will be an opportunity to reflect on these issues and to evaluate what has been learnt – both in respect of teaching practice and also equitable opportunity for all learners. The ETF’s current offer aims to help practitioners use the best technology to overcome barriers to learning, introduce applications that add value to a range of pedagogical activities, create new types of content and manage change in the workplace.

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REMOTE WORKING

Nick Chadwick

Oran Blackwood

FEATURE

Sharon Seel

A D AY I N T H E L I F E

ADAPTING TO CHANGE

The shutdown of colleges and other centres of learning have forced the teaching profession to fundamentally alter how it operates. Here, we find out how professionals from different parts of the sector are rising to the challenge

Peter Wood

Wendy Coley

Nick Chadwick

6

Stop Video

Invite

Participants

Polling

Share Screen

Chat

Record

Rooms

More

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FEATURE

REMOTE WORKING

NICK CHADWICK, lecturer in foundation learning and personal tutor (SEND), Weston College My role as a personal tutor and cultural interpreter remains the same within #MyVirtualCollege. I have responsibility for learners’ education and wellbeing, so it remains essential that their engagement with our virtual curriculum is monitored and supported. We use Microsoft Teams and Office 365 to provide pastoral support, specialist support (if required), advice and guidance, structure and stability and a regular virtual timetable. This has been designed to deliver all the support and benefits learners would have access to normally. In my ‘virtual’ role as a functional skills (maths) lecturer (SEND), #MyVirtualClassroom isn’t dissimilar to a physical classroom. The beginning of a virtual college day reflects that of a normal day in terms of liaison with learners and colleagues. Flipgrid provides a useful taster for the week’s session/theme, facilitated via a video discussion to assess prior knowledge for future planning. Setting a Microsoft Form assessment at the appropriate level also complements this planning. Microsoft Teams is proving to be a fantastic tool, assisting me to construct knowledge around a subject area, run live ‘virtual classroom' sessions to embed knowledge through discussion, clarify misconceptions and reinforce more challenging concepts with SEND learners. I also use Microsoft Whiteboard, a peer-teaching resource for learners to share their solutions and mathematical techniques during these live sessions. Follow-up tasks allow learners to extend what they have learned and for them to see the relevance of content. I usually set this through the Microsoft Teams Assignments Tool to monitor learner engagement and progress, allowing feedback to be individualised and tracked.

‘THE BEGINNING OF A VIRTUAL COLLEGE DAY REFLECTS THAT OF A NORMAL DAY’

SHARON SEEL, digital marketing trainer and mentor, East Midlands, Babington To use a phrase stolen from the new wave of influencers helping us cope with Covid-19, I have reframed my life. The first Monday, I removed the postage stamp stuck to the camera lens on my laptop and faced the stream of unscheduled video calls that I am subjected to with brushed hair, a touch of lippy and proper clothes. With Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Teams and even Houseparty, I am fully connected to my learners, and WebEx and Teams facilitate my online workshops, which I must say I have really enjoyed planning for, adapting and delivering. I have two simple rules, camera on and mute on when not talking. It works and it is fun, and the feedback supports this. I combine this with Padlet to offer collaborative whiteboards, Straw Poll to gauge preferences and opinions, and Kahoot and Forms for quizzes, questionnaires and tests. My caseload has trebled in size and my days are a mixture of support calls, progress reviews, workshops, meetings with team members and daily coffee and chat video calls with the Babington senior management team. There is a significant admin challenge associated with all this and the amount of new or changing information sitting in my inbox is causing me a degree of anxiety because I know I need to consider each item in terms of relevance and importance.

‘MY PRODUCTIVITY, WHETHER DRIVEN BY ADRENALINE OR NECESSITY, IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH’

WENDY COLEY, teaching skills advisor at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and member of the SET management board My day usually starts between 9 and 9:30am and can finish any time from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Our senior leadership team decided that all teaching timetables will be followed as normal, so the first few weeks were a steep, exciting and exhausting learning curve. Occasionally there will be a clash with meetings when working from home: for example, my husband had a call just as I was about to run a live training session. Thankfully my colleague stepped in until I could unmute my mic. We started using Microsoft Teams as soon as we realised there might

be closures and set up train-thetrainer sessions. We have had a multifaceted approach to staff training by popping into online teaching sessions to provide immediate support, running webinar-style training sessions and answering calls via Teams chat. We are adding resources to our Working Remotely team (currently 341 members) by adding video guides (edited in Camtasia), OneNote pages and files. I’ve also updated resources in the college Student Portal (Moodle). This ‘disruption’ has boosted the use of technology in teaching and learning but there are long-term strategies that need to be decided: for example, will college PCs be replaced with portable devices to promote flexible learning, and will teachers and learners be able to work more flexibly, from home, in future?

‘MY HUSBAND HAD A CALL JUST AS I WAS ABOUT TO RUN A LIVE TRAINING SESSION’

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REMOTE WORKING

NICK CHADWICK, education and assessing manager at Train Aid I am responsible for the provision and delivery of a range of teaching, assessing and IQA qualifications. Working remotely from home involves regular team meetings, phone calls with learners to check on progress and working on new and interactive course content. Adapting from a busy and vibrant office to a home has been a challenge, but staying focused on targets and updating resources has really helped. We have adapted our face-to-face teaching and assessing courses such as the Level 3 Award in Education and Training and Level 3 CAVA to online and webinar courses. With help from Zoom video conferencing, this has allowed us to adapt our teaching and connect with our learners across the country. The feedback from learners has been excellent and they have particularly enjoyed sharing good practice and connecting to other practitioners from other teaching and training sectors. Learners have found that completing an online lesson or webinar has provided them with a clear focus while working from home. Intercom has also been a useful technology that has allowed us to speak to customers easily to discuss their training needs. The change from working within our head office in Surrey to home has brought our team closer. We have regular conference calls to discuss the agenda for the day, such as learner progress, new course content and delegating responsibilities. Staying connected with a team is important during this period and exchanging ideas is a refreshing way to ensure that we are moving forward to improving our provision of teacher training courses.

‘THE CHANGE FROM WORKING WITHIN OUR HEAD OFFICE IN SURREY TO HOME HAS BROUGHT OUR TEAM CLOSER’

ORAN BLACKWOOD, head of sixth form and SENCO at ELATT, member of SET’s Practitioner Advisory Group I caught the virus very early on, so I was an early adapter to working from home. Microsoft Outlook is our main form of communication, but we use Microsoft Teams for meetings. It’s a robust platform and great for teamwork. A typical day now consists of sitting in front of two screens with my headphones on. I am used to visiting classrooms and talking to staff and learners. Working from home the odd day a month does not prepare you for doing it indefinitely. We had been preparing to deliver learning online since September. We are using Edmodo for delivery.

FEATURE

The interface is more like a social media platform, which the students preferred. We also use WebEx. We have not stopped delivering lessons. All our learners are following their normal timetables. Since most of our learners are vulnerable, we decided to keep the provision going. Even our teaching assistants are online supporting learners. We have set up three platforms for learners to get in touch if they need wellbeing support. Safeguarding and child protection don’t stop because of the lockdown. My son has just turned six and it’s been great spending more time with him and my wife, but souldestroying when I’m working. I miss going to the gym, but I am learning to play the piano so this gives me time to practise.

‘I MISS GOING TO THE GYM, BUT I AM LEARNING TO PLAY THE PIANO’

PETER WOOD, head of Wigfield Farm Wigfield Farm is home to Barnsley College’s land-based provision. Wigfield is a small farm producing beef, pork and lamb. It also houses domesticated mammals, reptiles and birds. The working day for the team is similar to normal, but their commute has been replaced by an online drop-in session with the Learning Technologies Unit. These sessions support staff with any issues they have, or could encounter. The aim at the start of the college closure was to keep timetables the same for students. However, this has evolved, and we now have more flexible access. The timetabled sessions now give opportunities for the students to speak to teachers online. Engagement rates match normal classroom attendance – a huge credit to the teaching team. The tutorial team continue to provide support for at risk and vulnerable students. The closure has raised anxiety levels for students and my team but, through various communication methods, these anxieties have been eased. Care for the animals has been largely unaffected. Animal keepers are working normal shift patterns. The nature of their roles means social distancing guidance can be achieved more easily than in other professions. The farm team have recorded themselves completing animal husbandry tasks and the birth of our lambs and calves on the farm. Students can watch, review and comment on these, continuing the development of their practical skills in these unprecedented times.

‘THE FARM TEAM HAVE RECORDED THE BIRTH OF OUR LAMBS AND CALVES’

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ADVICE

MENTAL WELLBEING

The current situation is challenging for teachers and trainers on both professional and personal levels. Following a few tips can help you maintain a positive mindset, with support if needed, says Jennifer Hart e are living in unprecedented times. In these extraordinary circumstances, you will be dealing with new pressures, working to ensure your students can continue with their learning now and in the coming weeks. You will also be creating and experiencing new ways of working, and dealing with the pressure of not knowing how long the situation may go on for. You may have concerns for your own health, the health of older relatives and others close to you. You may be living alone and missing human connection, you may be a parent, expected to ‘home-school’ your children as you work, while they may themselves be struggling with school and college closures, cancellations of exams and future plans. For now, it is important to focus on the things you can control, identifying ways to cope with stress, protect wellbeing and work effectively. We all have our own strategies but some common themes prevail.

Coping strategies

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STAY IN TOUCH Despite the physical barriers, communication is more important than ever with your colleagues, peers and teams. For the first time in a generation, we really are all in this together. Looking out for others and for ourselves is important. Find ways to maintain and even enhance your communication networks

through positive use of social media and technology. This can make a big difference to coping with stress in our lives, and many of us are embracing technologies such as Zoom, FaceTime or Skype for the first time. Make the most of the next best thing to meeting in person and connect remotely.

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MENTAL WELLBEING

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HELP OTHERS

Seeking and giving support are vital to maintaining our wellbeing. Earlier this year we published the results of our survey of SET members, Understanding the wellbeing of the post14 education workforce, and the findings remain just as relevant now. Members told us they highly valued ‘collegial and effective management’ in relation to wellbeing, together with effective communication and a supportive working environment. Whether you have managerial responsibility or not, now is the time to praise, reassure and identify realistic goals for your team and yourself like never before. In our personal lives, while there may now be physical barriers, there are still many things we can do to help others such as neighbours or friends. Whether it’s a doorstep delivery, a brief text or phone call to check in, it can mean a lot.

5

EMBRACE HOME-WORKING Be realistic about what you can achieve, particularly when you have other responsibilities outside work. Find a routine for yourself and stick to it. This should include breaks where you may schedule in a daily walk, other exercise or a form of meditation. Whatever it is and however short, try to stick to it. Check in with others, recognise achievements and appreciate what you can. Just getting through the day can be a reason for celebration, as can the sheer courage and heart displayed by many of those working across education at present. Staying mindful of these things will help reduce everybody’s stress levels. Leaders win trust when they allow themselves to empathise and respond humanely. Be mindful of this if you are in a leadership role. It’s important to lower our expectations. At this time, we need to do what we can, keep perspective and not place unreasonable demands on either ourselves or on others.

ADVICE

SEEK HELP

4

FOCUS ON POSITIVES

We’ve been forced to slow down our lives. Look for the benefits in this. Take notice of nature. Birdsong is known for its benefits to mental and physical health. It’s the simple things that help us stay well, in mind and body. Try to keep active, build some exercise and fresh air into your day whenever you can, eat well and don’t overdo bad habits. Limit social media and your news consumption if you think it’s affecting how you feel.

More practically, you may have money worries, depending on your work or your partner’s. Your contract may not be secure and areas of further and higher education look uncertain. Please remember you are not alone. Share your concerns and worries. If you’re struggling and want to talk to somebody outside of your situation, our free, confidential helpline is continuing to operate as usual with our fully trained counsellors on hand to listen. Call 08000 562 561, or for more information about applying for a grant, visit educationsupport.org. uk/helping-you/apply-grant

JENNIFER HART

is further and higher education manager at Education Support

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CONFERENCE

2020 Birmingham 4 Nov

LEARNING FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW Are you looking forward to the 2020 SET conference, to be hosted by Sarah Simons of #UKFEChat? Join us on 4 November. Should social distancing affect the conference we will ensure you are not penalised.

#SETCONF20

TTY GEOFF PE ED CONFIRM R SPEAKE

Book today: set.etfoundation.co.uk/conference INT.MAY20.016.indd 1

SET MEMBER EARLY BIRD TICKETS

£79

Non-member tickets £149

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