Preparing for Remote Learning: A Readiness Worksheet

9ine are supporting schools around the world in the eventuality that they are required to provide school services remotely as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. To assist you in planning the transition to remote learning we've created a useful, downloadable Remote Learning Readiness Worksheet.

9ine's MD, Mark Orchison recently visited international schools in Thailand and Hong Kong to learn from the first hand experiences of teachers, students and parents who have prepared for and dealt with becoming virtual schools during the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

While many school campuses around the world have already been closed for weeks, global school communities are preparing to face the eventuality that they will be delivering the school day online. As part of this transition, it's more important than ever that your school network maintains a high level of cyber security and data protection compliance and that online child protection and safeguarding remains a priority. To assist you in planning the transition to remote learning we've created a useful Remote Learning Readiness Worksheet, covering key areas to assist you in continuing the day-to-day operations of school while maintaining the ability to teach and communicate. Below are examples of the potential challenges and considerations/actions which should be taken into account during the planning stage. This information is also available for you to download. Download the Remote Learning Readiness Worksheet →

I need to create a plan in order to deliver the school day online. Where should I start?

The first step in planning for a remote learning scenario  is to understand the potential challenges that your school might face in the event of a school closure. Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Can teachers still deliver lessons?
  • Can your school continue to communicate?
  • Can the business management of your school continue to operate? 
  • Does your school currently have access to the required systems?
  • Will systems require upgrading or will the purchase of new systems be required?
  • Has a disaster recovery plan been tested?

After identifying the challenges, the next step is to identify the considerations and possible actions that your school will need to undertake.

In the event that your school is required to remotely teach, how are your users (teachers, support staff, and pupils) going to access their resources remotely? 

Step 1. Define your user types as this will inform the considerations and possible actions. An example of a user type includes:
1) Staff who have a school-owned device
2) Staff who have access to a device
3) Staff who need to loan a device
4) Users who have access to the internet
5) Users who have no / limited internet provision

Step 2. Pupil access to resources should also be broken down by age groups, for example:
1) Senior School Pupils (Ages 14 - 18)
2) Middle School Pupils (Ages 11 - 14)
3) Lower School Pupils (Ages 5 - 11)

Step 3. Determine which resources are required in the event that an issue arises. Once the different types of resources have been established, questions could include:
1) Where are the resources stored?
2) Does the school have shared drives?
3) Are they accessible on the school-owned devices?
4) Are any resources stored on web-based platforms (VLE)?
5) Do staff have access to their software resources locally on a machine?
6) Does the school have loan equipment that could be shared with users?

Step 4. Even if a device can be provided, other considerations may include:
1) Internet requirements
2) Users may need additional peripherals to make software/resources operate as required.

Step 5. In preparation for remote learning, users should be asked to undertake the following tasks:
1) Carry out a speed check of their own home internet
2) Take their laptops home and check everything works
3) Seek IT support to mitigate issues arising in a real-world scenario

We're supporting schools around the world in the eventuality that school services will be provided remotely as a result of COVID-19. Register now for 9ine's free webinar, Security Tips for Remote and Mobile Working.

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Now that you can successfully access your resources from home, are staff and pupils required to teach/attend online lessons?

  • Do pupils dial in to a web based video-conferencing solution, or are they assigned homework via the Virtual-Learning-Environment?
  • Take the time to consider all of the processes that take place during the teaching day and how these can be replicated at home through remote teaching? Should they be replicated?
  • Are there any priorities for particular age groups, e.g. year groups that may be preparing for milestone examinations?

Step 1. Four key channels of communication should be considered in this area:
1) Staff to staff
2) Staff to pupil
3) Staff to parent
4) Pupil to pupil

Step 2. Allocate a level of priority to each key channel of communication in the above area. Once decided the operational and technical processes can then be defined.

Step 3. Consider other items including:
1) Task assignment
2) MIS / SIS
3) Any other areas

Step 4. Consider online teaching platforms (and their limitations in order to test a solution). These education products might include:
1) Microsoft Teams
2) GSuite
3) Zoom for Education
4) LiveStream

Step 5. Consider options such as corporate applications that could be transferable. Key questions that must be taken into account include:
1) Is the platform suitable for education?
2) Will it allow a full class size to join?
3) Can you control who joins ?
4) Can you monitor the platform and the communication?
5) Does live video streaming allow instant messaging ?
6) Can instant messaging be considered?
7) Can functions be restricted for participants e.g to restrict students from being able to share and invite external individuals to the video class?

Step 6. If a decision is made to avoid the use of web based lessons, what is the workflow for lesson delivery?
1) Can it all be achieved via email communication, paper based resources and access to a virtual-learning-environment?

How do the support functions of the school continue to assist the business management needs?

  • Can staff still be paid?
  • Can debtors or creditors be chased?
  • Are Admissions in the process of finalising places for the new academic year and are enrolment targets at risk?
  • Are IT on hand to be able to assist both staff and pupils with IT issues?
  • Is there a need for access to the school building?
  • What happens if a server fails?
  • Once the plan is in place for teaching staff, the school should begin by identifying areas of risk and priority in the event of an issue that impacts operations?
Step 1. Consider the following scenarios and their related processes:

1) Do IT have the ability to remotely support the users? E.g. Software is available that will allow the IT team to gain remote access to a device and resolve any issues the user is experiencing. It should require the user to approve access (IT should not access without authorisation). This would require a process to be defined around IT teams having staff contact details or vice versa.
2) Do the accounts/bursary teams have access to the finance system remotely?
3) Are the finance and payroll systems linked or are they separate?
4) What are the considerations or risk assessments that need to be carried out from a compliance and safeguarding perspective?
5) By adapting the systems and working practices, is the school's data and IT network still secure?
6) Do the proposed plans create additional risk?

We'll be publishing other useful resources over the upcoming weeks. If you require any assistance in preparing a risk assessment or finding solutions to the technology challenges that arise from undertaking day to day classroom activity remotely, please contact us to speak to one of our education technology experts. 

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