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Strategic planning for online learning
Strategic planning for online learning

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3 Challenges and opportunities for learning and teaching

The United Nations passed a resolution for the ‘promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet’, declaring online freedom to be a human right that must be protected (Article 19, 2021). The Education Endowment Foundation [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (2021) highlights how using technology can be used to improve the quality of explanations and modelling, the impact of pupil practice and play a role in improving assessment and feedback. As the world wide web becomes more integral in schools helping pupils learn and communicate, there are also challenges associated with working online, for example, ensuring access is inclusive and accessible. The report from the Chartered College of Teaching on Education in times of crisis (Muller and Goldenberg, 2021) provides a detailed review of some of the challenges that pupils faced during the COVID-19 global pandemic restrictions and school closures. The report highlights useful examples of features to consider when delivering online learning for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND). These include:

  • Transcripts for lessons
  • Video captioning
  • Written instructions and materials (this also supports pupils with ADHD who may not be able to sustain attention)
  • Clear website navigation
  • Accessible colours, fonts and font sizes
  • Makaton signs in lessons
  • British Sign Language interpreted English and Maths lessons for pupils in years one to three

The UK Safer Internet Centre (2021) stated there are four key potential harms for children using the internet: commercialism, contact from bullies or groomers, inappropriate content and personal conduct where children may share too much online. Depending on the way that you introduce online learning, you may consider utilising classroom tools for example, lock screens and website content filtering, as well as, clearly outlining expectations and explicitly defining internet use in behaviour policies.

A photograph of two people at a desk working through a textbook. There is someone standing on the other side of the table talking to them.
Figure 3: Challenges and opportunities for learning and teaching

To learn about the latest trends in teaching, learning and assessment, read The Open University’s Innovating Pedagogy report.

Browse the links below to explore aspects of online learning. These are helpful one-page guides for you to gain an overview of what School Leaders have reported as methods that work in online learning.

It is also important to review the use of technology outside of teaching and learning, for example, for staff CPD, for online briefings and meetings including with governors and for parents’ evenings. The Department for Education’s framework for reviewing your remote education provision is a useful aid to assess your current digital environment and future development.

If you identify any actions you’d like to follow up on after completing your reading, note them down in your Action grid (only use this link if you haven’t already downloaded the file).