Questions for schools to consider
Schools have a range of important decisions to make when it comes to ensuring continuity of education.
Questions to consider:
Your school leadership will need to decide whether continuity of learning will be provided predominantly using digital content, online resources and platforms or analogue methods. This decision should be based on the:
- resources of the school community
- ICT capabilities of staff, students and parents
- age of students involved.
School communities across NSW differ greatly in terms of internet access, availability of technology and digital literacy. We acknowledge that not all families or communities will be able to equitably access these digital learning platforms during school closures. Schools should be flexible and sensitive to the needs of their community and provide alternative modes of delivery if digital learning platforms are not appropriate for families.
The NSW Department of Education is committed to helping schools stay connected with tools including digital devices and reliable internet connections.
As we enter the space of remote learning, Stage 6 teachers and students have been flagged as a high priority to sustain their teaching and learning activities on an on-going basis.
Schools, as part of their planning, are encouraged to conduct a self-assessment of their current position in being able to deliver learning on-line. To assist with this, a brief survey has been developed to allow schools to identify gaps and request additional equipment for home-based internet connectivity or learning devices.
We ask that you be mindful, however, that there is a finite supply of devices available to service the state.
In order to support teachers and students who have no access to a digital device at home, Principals may also loan school-owned learning devices, such as laptops and iPads, to those who need it via the Oliver Library System or may wish to utilise the school’s allocated student equity funds to purchase additional devices.
Alternatively, schools could also:
provide students with printed copies of activities which can be completed at home
use existing textbooks or homework books to minimise printing costs and environmental impact
arrange a time for teachers to speak with students and their families using a mobile phone or landline to discuss assigned tasks
conduct live web conferencing with students to conduct roll call, check-in with students, introduce topics or conduct pop up lessons.
When planning, consider the needs of different learners across the school. This includes the amount of support students will require from a parent or carer as well as the individual needs of learners.
- For younger students, the focus should be on practical activities that parents and carers can do with their child with learning opportunities highlighted.
- For secondary students and older (age 9+) primary students, you can plan for more independent work using resources or activities delivered either digitally or as a hard copy.
- Use your existing timetable or schedule if possible.
- For longer periods and younger students you should use a cut down version or a specific short program.
- Schedule or timetable needs to include regular breaks that encourage physical activity, eating and drinking water.
- Provide students with an electronic timetable or schedule for each day of the week or provide a printed version.
- Advise students to stick the timetable or schedule to the wall or a convenient location.
- Students may work more slowly at home so do not overwhelm them with too much work.
- Prioritise core learning such as numeracy and literacy lessons.
- G Suite for education or Microsoft Office 365 applications have a range of tools for online collaboration.
- Access the Digital Learning Selector to find out what other applications are available.
- Try to keep digital platforms consistent for students and teachers and use existing tools that are familiar and already in use.
- Prioritise any materials that need to be created.
- Work out what materials can be adapted quickly and easily.
- Define if materials are age appropriate.
- Explore how you can deliver or post analogue materials.
- Explore alternative digital resources on the Teaching and learning resources site.
- Access the Digital Learning Selector.
- Browse courses on Linkedin learning.
- Search for courses in MyPL.
- Access Yammer groups and ask for help from your colleagues.
- Join the Microsoft Community Team to find out some great professional learning opportunities.
- Discover Google resources and Google training.
- Refer to the advice for parents and carers
- Use online forms such as Google Forms or Microsoft Forms to collect information.
- Consider surveying your community to determine the range of ICT literacy and preparedness.
- Consult with families to find out about access to devices or the internet.
- Consider loaning devices to some families if needed.
- Organise how to record, deliver and maintain loaned devices.
- Organise clear and consistent communication channels to families for information and learning delivery.
- Families who need translations can contact the department’s translation services.
- Find out what staff have devices and what internet access they can use remotely.
- Organise loan devices to some staff, if possible.
- Work out how to provide staff access to the internet remotely.
- Access the Department Accessibility toolkit.
- Teachers will need to adapt learning activities based on student needs.
- Any content developed by teachers should comply with universal design for learning principles such as closed captions for video content.
- Use the ACARA EAL/D Learning Progression to identify the EAL/D phase of students to inform differentiation
- Identify language and literacy demands of unit/lesson content to plan for explicit language teaching alongside content delivery
- Identify cultural and conceptual knowledge underlying the curriculum and texts to ensure EAL/D students can engage with learning
- Provide written instructions supported by verbal instructions, examples, visuals, checklists, diagrams, flow charts and videos or audio to support understanding
- Present information on the same topic in multiple ways to support EAL/D students to link concepts with language and build field knowledge using images, films and graphic organisers
- Model target or new language for the student and provide opportunities for the student to practise new language and receive feedback
- Scaffold learning to develop an understanding of concepts and language by using cloze passages, sequencing tasks, sentence stems and recorded texts.
- Use home language as a tool to support learning including bilingual dictionaries, parental support and bilingual resources
- Provide alternatives for students who do not have access to technology or data
- Additional advice can be found at the EAL/D resource for schools website or Multicultural Education resources.