Navigating the distance learning landscape : Fizzics Education

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Navigating the distance learning landscape

Navigating the distance learning landscape

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Given the task at hand that schools around the world face as we deal with the impact of school lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve received many calls for advice on what is out there for teachers to consider as part of pulling together a coherent set of apps that will help. The problem is, there are so many! Luckily, there are centres of best practice in distance learning that you can access.

I’ve worked in distance learning at a global level since 2011 and as such have come across a bunch of apps, tips & tricks to pull together lessons. There are many apps that your school can consider, however suit specific needs and some play nice together and others don’t well from a student or teacher point of view. The best starting I can recommend is to reach out professional learning networks that have dealt with this landscape for years. There are thousands of united teachers, principals, technology coordinators and district administrators all available to you if you know where to look.

Communities of best practice

  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). They have a bunch of PLNs with thousands of teachers and tech coordinators all working together in many ways. I’m on the leadership team of the ISTE Interactive Video Conferencing PLN. Several thousand teachers who are distance learning experts at your fingertips here.
  • Centre for Interactive Learning & Collaboration (CILC). Over 200 museums, zoos, aquariums etc presenting to thousands of schools globally. Research-based & a non-profit. As a board advisor I’m well aware of their depth of resources and knowledge base that you can access. CILC is a great gateway for setting up school to school collaborations across timezones.
  • Virtual Excursions Australia (VEA). This houses all platforms and content providers without bias within Australia. I’m a co-founder and we are making sure that providers only offer solid lessons based on real proven pedagogy. This is an old website being reborn now.
  • NSW Distance & Rural Technologies. Yes, a DETNSW unit within my State however they also work with independent schools throughout Australia and beyond (within their rules of engagement anyway). DARTNSW is worth reaching out to but as you can imagine, they are being slammed by requests and might take time to get back to you!

Diving deep

Finally, please support teachers from a mental health point of view.  If school lockdown continues for months on end, I have concerns about the flow-on effects of exhaustion. Look after yourselves everyone, we’re in this together.

Happy teaching

Ben Newsome

Ben Newsome smiling

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