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A Reflection on Lockdown Technology

In our latest isolation blog, we consider our technological response to the lockdown and what positive changes to expect in future.

Throughout the coronavirus lockdown, SGGS has been finding new and innovative ways to educate and communicate. In many cases, our staff have had to revisit the way they teach. Fortunately, our previous decision to invest in technology has aided this process and allowed us to roll-out a virtual school less than a week after lockdown measures were announced.

Last year, we upgraded our broadband for faster remote working and by the time the lockdown was made official, our systems had already been integrated with Microsoft Teams and all classes set up. Our Network Manager, Chris White, wrote and distributed a crash-course guide for all staff, students and parents on how to access and make best use of these systems remotely. Associate staff have also been given remote access so that pastoral and data teams continue to function, working together on documents despite no longer sitting in the same physical office.

We are all constantly reacting to an evolving set of circumstances which require continuous flexibility and adaptability. For example, we realised that many parents in our community wanted to have more direct involvement in their child’s learning from home. So, we devised a ‘Parent Digest’ feature, produced on Teams, to provide a weekly report showing when students have completed their current work and what they have been set for the coming weeks. 

We have continued to communicate through letters, apps, social media updates and this online blog and have also created new environments and solutions that could prove useful long after the lockdown is over. These initiatives have included the creation of a ‘virtual staff room’ for teachers and interactive lessons that give students the ability to collaborate and upload videos as part of their coursework.

Further instruction guides have also been created and shared to help teachers record lessons and create assignments they can mark virtually – a tool that will likely have long-term benefits for the future. This is just one example of a process we have had the opportunity to trial, that has proved successful and will continue to optimise our approach.

Despite embracing these innovative new ways of learning, many of our students will be missing traditional interaction with their classmates and teachers. The reality of conducting lessons and general school life remotely is of course very different to face-to-face learning. 

When looking for positives we can take from this situation, we can be proud that our school is prepared for unique circumstances and better positioned than ever to adopt modern technology in the way we teach and learn. By continuing to engage with student leadership teams, finding ways to fundraise for our chosen charities, and encouraging each other to share our experience of the lockdown, we are all continuing to embrace change and look forward to the future with confidence.