For the past two years Nexus Education has had the privilege of being part of a community which has shown itself to be there for teachers through thick and thin; mental health issues, trials, tribulations and successes. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with over 300 brilliant companies who offer innovative and engaging ways to help lower the burden of education for teachers, parents and students. Through these connections we have gained valuable insight into resources which can help with home schooling.
With the first day of school closures to non-key worker’s children beginning this week we thought it would be helpful to give some insight into how the Nexus Team have adapted to the new working environment and share a few of the solutions we have experienced for you to investigate for remote learning categorized in to a few common areas we have seen help requested for.
In the weeks leading up to the current quarantine enforced by the UK Government, the Nexus team have been coping with life outside the office by setting up a virtual office using Google Meets. In the morning, we log in to the office at 9am, make a brew and settle in to our own individual workloads whilst having the rest of the team there ready to bounce ideas back and forth, or have a social pick me up when we have a natural lull in concentration. Why not do the same for some of your classes and set up a virtual classroom to teach, set the work, and interact as needed with video and audio! As I said, we use Google Meets, but you could also do this with Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to name a few of the solutions out there. Just because we are physically self-isolating, doesn’t mean we have to digitally!
Curriculum Planning & Delivery
Firefly is a well known virtual learning platform which recently announced the excellent move to make access to their platform free to aid teachers for the remainder of this term. It allows teachers to collaborate with other teachers, manage classes remotely, track and share their students’ progress in addition to helping parents to ensure the continuity of their children’s education with minimal disruption through managing their child’s day.
English & Literacy
Pobble is a great writing resource for primary school’s which helps teachers to plan their lessons using curated resources and engage children with writing. Their Pobble365 site gives a thought provoking image for each day of the year to capture pupils’ imaginations and then provide activities you can do with your class around that image. What’s even better is, Pobble is currently offering free resources, so check them out!
One reading resource all state-funded schools (and most independents) have at their disposal but may not actually be aware of is the CLA’s Education Platform. It helps teachers by providing access to digital versions of textbooks that their school owns, letting them make copies of content and share them with students without having the physical book to hand. The licence is paid for centrally by the DfE in England and the national education bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so maybe now is the time to make the most of this excellent resource?
A family member recently asked us for any ideas to help with their children’s handwriting. As it happens, we had the pleasure of seeing Kaligo, a handwriting app, in action not long ago. They offer a free trial for teachers and parents, so if this is something you could do with to help you children, give them a look.
A great resource which makes maths fun through ‘gamification’ is Manga High. They are offering their distance learning platform for free, which gives teachers unrestricted access to their maths content along with full dashboard reporting for students to use from home any device they have access to.
Emile Education is another engaging game-based learning platform which has opened itself up for free to schools during the current disruption. Emile offers a wealth of Numeracy resources as well as spelling and grammar. You can find out how to get access to it here.
Discovery Education offers a number of resources for the national curriculum through Espresso, but their Stem Connect platform is focused on resources for use with key stages 1-3 with resources for STEM club activities, which could be used at home. Discovery Education Coding provides engaging step-by-step lessons, video tutorials and independent creative tasks to bring coding to life for pupils of all abilities and can also be accessed from home by teachers and pupils. All current subscribers have remote access, but if your school isn’t yet signed up you can contact them to discuss how they can support you.
The National Enterprise challenge recently announced they would allow children to enter age appropriate enterprise challenges from home using their online delivery platform. If you’re looking for a great way to engage key stage 3 students in STEM activities, why not take a look at their Air Products Challenge – As an award-winning brand for their work on Eco-sustainability and environmentally friendly services across the World, Air Products have challenged students to create an innovative new use for their gas cylinders once they reach their end of life. Students can create any new product that they wish, targeted to a customer of their choice with an emphasis on products that will have a wider environmental impact.
Exercise is shown to improve mental well-being and provide a boost to your immune system, so now is as important a time as ever to ensure children stay active and factor exercise in as a part of their daily routine.
Discovery Education in partnership with Nike has a number of free resources to give you ideas to keep them active at home available at Active Kids Do Better.
In the Nexus households we’ve also been taking part with Joe Wicks’ PE with Joe from our virtual office, so we can all join in together to keep the team morale up!
This isn’t one we’ve had the pleasure of seeing ourselves, however, a parent commented on how useful the resources at access art have been to keep their children entertained whilst at home.
Another useful source of art resources which could be adapted to a virtual environment comes from the infamous Tate Modern Gallery. Have a look through these activities and let us know how you get on with them at home.
It’s important to mention that you should consider resources alongside your school’s policies on acceptable usage, social media, home working, safe working practice and safeguarding.
On that note, the Nexus community have got you covered there too – GDPR in Schools has put together this informative video guidance for working from home:
If you, or your school, are struggling to find the right resource for your students during this difficult and disruptive time, please feel free to reach out – Nexus Education, and our 11,000+ teaching community, may just be able to help out!
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