A few weeks ago, I wrote about initial findings in our Microsoft Teams analysis of Eaton and Tarvin Primary Schools. In order to improve our Microsoft integration strategy, it is crucial to regularly evaluate and adapt, especially in the current climate. From data gathered, we have split our findings into separate areas where Microsoft Teams can support schools in the future.
An important part of blended and home learning due to the social element that children have been missing during lockdown measures. We asked our staff, pupils and families which subjects they felt were suitable for a live lesson. From our findings, quite conclusively, it seems that Literacy based lessons are more suited to this style. Teachers have enjoyed sharing reading books with their class, working on shared documents and using the ‘hands up’ feature to share ideas. Children love the fact that they can see their classmates again and focus more when their teacher is ‘in front of them’.
Although very different to live lessons in their make up, the outcome should be similar – children learning. From the data and feedback gathered, Maths based activities lend themselves well to this style of teaching due to the children’s ability to take the lesson at their own pace, pausing and rewinding if needed. We have encouraged our teachers to include ‘checkpoints’ , where children are actively told to pause the video and complete a task, to support independence and ownership of their work.
Although we do believe a virtual learning environment, such as Microsoft Teams, can never fully replicate the empathy, compassion and care that is present in every primary school classroom, some of the ideas that have taken place at Eaton and Tarvin Primary Schools are truly remarkable. The way that teachers are making use of tools we have given them (in a short amount of time) is brilliant: live cooking lessons, daily greetings and story time, weekly challenges, quizzes and recorded assemblies to name a few. Perhaps the most pleasing is that children as young as six are posting ‘show and tell’ style videos to their classmates on a secure channel and responding to each other with encouragement and kindness.
Microsoft Teams gives children a ‘window’ into their normal classroom through interaction, support and learning – we will continue to develop our solutions to fill this need.